When visiting Greece, it’s impossible to ignore the capital city of Athens and the massive Acropolis that sits atop it like an ancient guardian.
It’s basically like coming to New York City and constantly seeing the One World Trade Center and the Empire State Building. At some point, you need to suck it up, do the tourist thing and go see it.
So on our last day in Athens, that’s what me and my wife decided to do. Despite my tooth throbbing from eating too much gummy candy, I knew I had to tough it out and climb the great hills and steps to the Acropolis of Athens. But before we left, we made sure to have a little breakfast and inquired with our hotel concierge about local dentists.
The Home and Poetry team was extremely accommodating, and the gentleman in the office called around until he found a dentist that could see me that wasn’t too far away. He even booked a cab for me to get there and scheduled my appointment for later that afternoon. This was a difficult task being that it was a national holiday and most offices were closed.
But this gentleman seemed to get it done. Now our plan was to go see to Acropolis, eat lunch, and then come back for the cab.
On the way out we asked the concierge for his name, and he hilariously revealed that he shared the same one as the biggest Marvel baddie in the business.
Yes, his name was Thanos, but he wasn’t sporting an Infinity Gauntlet. Instead, he seemed to be a very humble guy ready to help as much as he could. And I greatly appreciated that.
After securing our dentist appointment, we navigated our way up a series of steps and hills back to the Areopagus area where I almost got arrested the day before and kept going until we reached the entrance of the Acropolis. We used our discount pass to swipe ourselves in and started walking up another large series of stairs to get to the ancient entrance.
Once you get inside the site you get to see an ancient Greek theater on the mountain top. We snapped a few pictures at the theater and headed into the giant structure which lead to the Parthenon. Many of the columns included new blocks, and the Parthenon itself was covered in scaffolding because it’s currently being renovated.
We got through the gates and took some pictures by the Parthenon where loads of tourists were gathering to fill the Instagram with their snapshots. Thankfully, we were able to get a few good ones in. Once we got to the exit we got a better view of the Temple of Athena. Unsurprisingly, the structure had a lot of statues of women.
After getting a good look at it, I’d say the Acropolis lived up to the hype, but make sure you get there early if you’re in Athens. This is easily the hottest tourist attraction in the city and it gets flooded with people around 9 a.m.
Once we conquered the Acropolis, we headed back towards Monastiraki Square to get our daily frappe at Coffee Lab and check out the famous Athens Central Market. Unlike our first visit, the Central Market was bustling with people and vendors this time. The place was filled with tons of stands selling fresh meat from just about any animal. I was in my glory.
The market also had a small restaurant inside where you could sample some of the goods. Unfortunately we decided to eat elsewhere.
We made a few laps around the meat market and headed into the fish area. We got propositioned by a lot of vendors, and I wish we could have bought something, but there was nowhere to cook it in our room. So we opted instead to go to the produce area and bought 4 bags of delicious olives.
The Central Market was definitely one of the highlights of the trip and I strongly recommend visiting if you’re in Athens if you want a taste of the true culture. After experiencing it, we went to Goody’s, described to us by our tour guide Panos as the McDonald’s of Greece, afterwards to have some hamburgers for lunch.
The burgers were decent, but to be honest, I prefer McDonalds. The fries were kind of like Wendy’s. Aside from that there wasn’t much to write home about here.
After lunch we went back to the hotel to catch our ride to the dentist. The cab, a Mercedes of course, pulled up and took us way out of the central part of the city into what appeared to be a nice calm suburb area.
The driver dropped us off on a quiet block and checked the house to see if it was the right address. He came back and told us to knock on a specific door of the house. After knocking, we were buzzed up by the young dentist who was working the office alone that day since it was a holiday.
The office was pristine, and filled with what appeared to be state of the art machinery. He had one person ahead of us so we waited patiently. Now, being from the States, you hear a lot about how bad or scary healthcare can be overseas, but this place blew any New York dentist I had been to out of the water. And his bedside manner was also really great.
After waiting for like 15 minutes, he sat me in the chair and cleaned the area around the infected gum. I apparently had a small abscess that had been growing and irritating my mouth. Cleaning it out seemed to get rid of it and I left the chair feeling much better.
The kind dentist told us how to take the Metro back to Syntagma Square so that we didn’t have to spend a whole bunch of money on another cab.
On the way back, we stopped at the Byzantine and Christian museum. This was a place that I really was interested in being that I’m a church history buff. It ended up being one of the best museums in Athens because it included a variety of artifacts such as books, manuscripts, garments, graves, and the icons which were displayed in a way that told the church’s story from its inception to modern times.
The museum really gave me a sense for how people worshipped God in the last two thousand years and the church’s evolution throughout that period. I strongly recommend this museum if you love history.
We left the museum and got back on the Metro to get some dinner. Of course we returned to Tzitzikis kai Mermigas for one last time before the end of the trip. I ordered the Pork Santorino while my wife got Mastihato, which was a chicken dish in cream sauce atop a nest of noodles. Both dishes were delicious, but the standout was probably the Fried Gruyere with honey and bacon that we had for the appetizer.
This was a really productive day, despite the fact that I had such an annoying tooth pain. Thankfully the dental issue was solved by the real-life Thanos.