Athens City Sightseeing Bus

After breakfast this morning Corrie and I took a taxi from Lygia to the bus station (the ΚΤΕΛ terminal) in Lefkada’s main town. Shortly after 09:30 we departed on the coach for a weekend away in the Greek capital Athens.

The journey for the most part is on currently single-carriageway roads which are being upgraded to full motorway standard – joining the partly completed A5 Ionia Highway (Ιονιά Όδος) motorway just South of Amfilochia/Αμφιλοχία and then heading down towards the Rio-Antirrio Bridge.

The bridge marked the stopping point for lunch; about 20-30 minutes in a roadside café serving cooked meals. This is also a good stop for going to the toilet as there are none on the coach. After reboarding the coach we joined the (again only partly completed) A8 Olympia Odos/Ολυμπία Οδός about 15km West of Patra. From just before Corinth onwards it was full motorway standard all the way to Athens.

We arrived in Athens not long after 15:00 and took one of Athens’ many city busses down towards Omonoia/Ομόνοια, leaving the bus at Metaxourgeio/Μεταξουργείο just a short walk from our hotel.

We are staying in the Neos Olympos Hotel/Ξενοδοχείο Νέος Όλυμπος which is the same hotel I stayed in 2 years ago. In fact it is exactly the same room with an interesting view over the city.

After getting settled in the hotel we headed to the Metro station at Metaxourgio and headed towards Syntagma. A trendy Souvlaki/Gyro restaurant was where we had a late lunch (we didn’t have a full meal when the coach stopped).

Then we went to the bus stand to find out about the City Sightseeing Hop On-Hop Off bus. We paid €20 each for our tickets, which are valid until the end of the last tour tomorrow – meaning we can travel above ground all day Sunday.

For the first day we just sat on the bus and followed its full route, photographing all the sights as we passed them. Tomorrow we will go and vist some of them!

When the coach returned to Syntagma we took a little stroll along Ermou Street, the main shopping street in Athens; a left turn took us in the direction of Plaka and then up towards the pedestrianised area surrounding the Acropolis. We compleded the circle heading back along the main road to Syntagma.

Next up a walk around the National Gardens. We found the little lake and a couple of ponds with turtles in one and koi carp in another. After a while we haded back to Syntagma Station and returned to the hotel to get ready to go for dinner.

We ate in one of the restaurants just off Karaiskaki Sq/Πλατεία Καραϊσκάκη – I enjoyed my kokkinisto moschari (beef in tomato sauce) with rice!

Tomorrow after breakfast we want to see the Changing of the Guards outside the Parliament in Syntagma. Then, we’ll go to the Panathenaic Stadium. After picking up our beach stuff from the hotel room we’ll head to Porto Rafti/Πόρτο Ραφτή for an afternoon at the beach, we might also squeeze in a climb up Lykavittos/Λυκαβηττός to enjoy the views over the city.

It is approaching midnight here so I shall head off to bed now.