This morning got breakfast at our hotel again, got a van and went to the Rome airport. Once we checked in and past security Aegean Air was nice enough to let us all in the lounge, even though Dad again was only supposed to have one guest.
Aegean Air is much better than the US airlines. Our flight was only one hour and thirty minutes and we got fruit-flavored candies before take-off and a small meal during the flight. Next we landed in Athens, Greece and had a ten hour layover. And did you know Athens is named after the Godess of Wisdom Athena. Since our layover was so long we decided to take a tour. Especially because I am a huge Greek Mythology fan after reading the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series.
We left the airport with only our carry-ons and met our driver named Fotis. Fotis is a very nice man who likes to share his love for his family (wife and three daughters) and his country. First we dropped us off at a large hill and we walked up. He had dropped us at the Acropolis and we walked up and saw the Parthenon, and several other temples.They are rebuilding the Parthenon right now to ensure it lasts another 2500 years. The view from up there was amazing...we could see the whole city of Athens and many of the other places we would visit.
After about an hour we met Fotis and he took Alec and I into the market and purchased drinks. They have a lot of fruit drinks in Greece. In fact instead of decorative trees along their sidewalks they have citrus trees, like oranges. Next we saw the Acropolis Museum. We started upstairs and watched a video that told us about all the details of the Acroplis, including the layout, sculptures, and how it has changed over time including as a Catholic church, Muslim mosque, and it's destruction by war and looters.
We finished and perfect timing we were able to go see the hourly changing of the guard in front of their Parliament. The guards wore long tassles on their hats and boots. They were wearing the traditional uniforms that looked a little like dresses with tights. We were allowed to take pictures with the guards, BUT DO NOT TOUCH OR SALUTE.
Next Fotis took us to a traditional Greek restaurant named Fagopoteion. Alec and I still were able to order pasta...mine plain and Alec with meatballs. Mom and Dad had the more traditional meals with Greek salad, beer, wine, gyros, and more. It was yummy, including the ice cream for dessert and baklava. We must be starting to blend in because the people that worked at the restaurant thought we were from the EU and not America.
Next we made quick stops at the Temple of Zeus (King of the Gods) and the stadium for the first modern Olympic Games. The torch still starts at this stadium for every Olympics and then travels to the host city by runner, plane, car, boat...and when it was in Russia even by spaceship. They still run a marathon here every year that starts in Marathon, Greece. Sunset was coming, so Fotis drove us to the highest point in the city called Lykavittos Hill for the view and pictures. As we started to get our pictures taken we heard a rustle in the bushes. It was a wild turtle. Alec was very happy...he loves turtles.
One quick drive through the Plaka area with restaurants and shops for the tourists and we headed off to the airport. Fotis told us to always call him for recommendations in Greece because a lot of restaurants only open for the busy season and then close down and there food is not that fresh. We were all very emotional saying good bye...in only 8 hours Fotis had become a very good friend who we hope to come back and visit some day. He helped us cross the streets, opened the doors, bought us drinks and gifts. I hope I see him again.
Mom's Comment: We again downloaded the FREE Rick Steve's Audion Guides for the kids' to listen too versus paying for the audio guides offered at the sites...this time Athens