Filled with sustenance once more, we continued on, up countless stairs and roads in Anafiotika, toward the Acropolis. Briefly, we stopped at Philopappos hill, for a stunning panoramic view of the city, before downing several bottles of ice cold water and marching on.
The sun beat down on our poor scalps and shoulders before sizzling the rest of our skin as we bore onward up Acropolis, frequently pausing to glug ice cold water. Athens’ famous Acropolis sits at the top of a hill in the centre of the city, so one has to muster up a fair amount of energy for 20 minutes or so to reach the ruins. Upon arrival, it’s well worth it: with a 360 view of the city, 150 meters up in the air and history at your fingertips, this is what you imagine when you think of Ancient Greece. This ancient citadel contains the remains of several of most ancient buildings in Greece, those of which holding great architectural and historic significance – the Parthenon being the most famous of all. The other remaining structures also include The Propylaia which is the ornate entranceway into the temple complex, the Erechtheion and Temple of Athena Nike. In fact an “acropolis” is any citadel or complex built on a high hill, the name coming from the Greek “akro” which means extreme or edge and “Polis” which means city: “High City”. This is basically your average city centre but in the most inconvenient of locations. Additionally, on opposing sides down below, you can see and visit the Odeon of Herod Atticus and the Theatre of Dionysus. To make the most of the climb we wandered around the top of the hill , looking out over the city and intricately at the ruins until we were ready for the next sight on the itinerary.
Once back on more level ground, we slowly walked around the Athenian neighbourhood of Plaka, again at the foot of the acropolis. We stopped for delicious fresh juice, souvenirs and even for a foot cleanse by some tiny fish…
Once we felt the hunger sit in, we hit a famous Souvlaki place in a more unknown part of town, further from the usual tourist sights. Recommended by locals, “Elvis” souvlaki bar serves up souvlaki, fries and slices of thick fresh bread, for extremely reasonable prices (we paid around three euros for a whole meal and a drink). You can choose from lamb, chicken or pork souvlaki choosing how many sticks you want, mixing and matching or getting a few of the same (I can’t recommend the pork one enough). Souvlaki, if you don’t know, is basically piece of meat on a stick, grilled with some herbs and seasoning – simple, but exceptionally delicious when good. The small street-corner restaurant looks initially obscure, especially for tourists, the staff looking far cooler than you’ll ever be (think biker/rock-chic). But if you’re hiding the city, this place is a must-visit; grab some sticks of meat and sit outside on the quiet neighbourhood street, for a cheap and delicious meal away from the tourist-hubbub.