10:05 a.m – after a thoroughly uneventful flight (the best kinds) and an easy drive into the city, we check into the Hotel Grande Bretagne in Athens. While we wait for the room to get ready, we have breakfast (Greek scrambled eggs and the strongest coffee ever), and splurge on quick massages in the hotel spa. Worth every penny. We get ready, stow our bags with the bellhop, and set off.
1:15 p.m – after navigating our way through winding roads and narrow alleys, we make it to Avli. This tiny taverna (recommended by Journy) served up crispy potatoes, cool creamy dips, a refreshing salad, and some of the best meatballs we’ve ever eaten. We washed it all down with crisp white wine served in a copper pitcher.
3:30 p.m – we wander around the Roman Agora, where the citizens milled around and gathered during the Roman Empire. We had walked around Monastrikaki Square (and popped into TAF for another Greek coffee and to enjoy the art), and marveled at the ruins of Hadrian’s Arch and Library. We paid the small fee to enter the Agora and weaved through the columns in search of shade (it was HOT). We managed to cool off in the Tower Of The Winds, which is basically the OG Weather Channel. This tower has multiple sundials, a water clock, and a weather vane that allowed the ancients to help predict the weather. Journy nailed it with the afternoon agenda.
6:15 p.m – after heading back to the room to check-in (and nap, and shower), we headed to dinner. Mono served up fresh fish, perfectly dressed salads, and flaky baklava that we enjoyed outside. The ample wine list served varietals from all over Greece. Knowing nothing about Greek wine, we requested a fruit-forward white for Sri, and a dry, tart one for myself. Delicious.
7:50 p.m – we finished our sunset shoot with Lena at the ancient theater. After exchanging my heels for flats, we strolled through the Plaka on our way back to the hotel. Jetlag had begun to sink in, and we were wiped.
9:15 p.m – what is it about getting a second wind on vacation? We toast to the beginning of our trip at the rooftop bar of our hotel with a view of the illuminated Acropolis. After an Aperol spritz (for me) and a Moscow Mule (for him), we call it a night.
8:45 a.m – sleeping in meant that our original breakfast plan was no longer in the schedule. We stumble upon Clemente VIII (just a block from the hotel) and sit down to sweet Greek coffee and sandwiches made with mini-baguettes. The only downside was the slow service, despite being the only customers.
10:15 a.m – we’re walking around the Temple of Zeus with Evita, the private tour guide that Journy booked for us. We began our tour inside the Syntagma metro station and toured the mini-museum set up inside, and continued outside to watch the changing of the guards and a stroll through the National Garden. A historian and archeologist, Evita answers the most obscure of our questions about ancient Athens, life in the city today, and her love/hate relationship with Percy Jackson.
12:05 p.m – I’m in heaven. I alternate between snapping countless pictures and simply marveling at the remains of Athena’s three temples. While the Acropolis gets most of the glory, I’m more captivated by the Athena Nike temple and the Temple to Athena and Poseidon. The long walk in the hot sun was worth it, as was packing a baseball hat. If only we had time for the Acropolis Museum…
1:45 p.m – Journy wasn’t kidding when it sent us to To Kafeneio for Athens’ best meatballs, which we enjoyed with wine (vacation!) and in their beautiful patio. It was a fast lunch, followed by a faster commute to our hotel via the metro. After walking everywhere for the past 24 hours, the clean train (with blissfully strong air conditioning) was a welcome change. We hopped off where we began the day, at Syntagma Square, and crossed the street to our hotel to collect our bags and head to the cruise terminal.
We truly had a perfect day in Athens. Next time, we’ll have a perfect FEW days to visit everything we missed – Acropolis Museum, the Agora of Athens, the Temple of Hephaestus, hiking up to the Philopappos Monument and the Monument to Democracy.
And eat more meatballs, naturally.
Special thanks to Journy for planning a perfect day in Athens for us. Get 20% your next trip with code HITHAONTHEGO.