Barb, a Grand European Travel Specialist, went on a tour of Greece this last fall to rediscover Greece after 30 years.
I first visited Greece 30 years ago and had been anticipating this trip for quite some time. I was really looking forward to seeing how things had changed over the years as well as visiting those sites that held a special place in my memory.
One week before I was to arrive to Athens a large demonstration took place in Syntagma Square against the austerity measures. When I arrived into Athens I was relieved to find a city that was business as usual.
After traveling from Portland, Oregon, I cleaned up and headed out into the streets of Athens. My first destination was the New Acropolis Museum. From the Divani Caravel Hotel, I waslked past Syntagma Square, curious about any activity, it was calm without any hint of protesters.
I meandered my way to the museum taking in the sights and sounds along the way – I had missed this, they instantly brought back memories of my first trip to Greece! I spent quite a lot of time at the museum, reading the interpretive signs as I viewed the relics on display. They have done a wonderful and thorough job of creating this museum. I needed a break and was told that the museum’s restaurant is good, so I had a bite to eat on a terrace outside with views of the Acropolis and Lycabettus Hill. Stunning!
Afterwards, I wandered through the Plaka area before making my way back to the hotel. During my free time the next day my plan was to visit the Central Market, the Benaki Museum and perhaps the Archeological Museum if time allowed.
I thoroughly enjoyed exploring the monasteries perched high on the monolithic rocks in Meteora but found our stop in Vergina to be truly fascinating. We visited a museum where Phillip’s tomb was found in 1979! After centuries, it had never been robbed. It was filled with gold and all of his and his wife’s belongings that they ‘take with them’ to the next life.
Then we proceeded to Pella, where Alexander the great ruled. It is famous for the beautiful mosaics made out of rocks and pebbles gathered from the river. Our Tour Director, Sandra, noticed that there were some archeologists on site, unearthing more relics. We ventured to where they were digging and were allowed to watch them in the process and have one of the archeologists give an explanation about the new area! That was such an amazing experience.