wednesday was another travel day. we packed up and took a last few photos in santorini before lugging our backpacks to the bus stop. we arrived in fira and waited another 45 minutes to take another bus to the airport (just enough time to grab a coffee at vithos cafe and take a couple more pictures). the airport was so tiny, only one plane (ours) would be coming in that day. it was quick and painless to check in and wait for our flight. we ate our last 2 homemade sandwiches while we waited.
once we landed in athens, we had a lengthy process to find our rental apartment. we had to find the right entrance to the metro, then had to switch lines and follow a maze of city streets to our place. we eventually found our way, and we were so happy with the apartment. renting out privately owned places while on vacation is lots more fun for us than staying in a hotel. you usually get more space, and you feel like you’re a part of the neighborhood around you.
we had the evening to explore athens, so we decided we needed to see the acropolis first. we got a little lost on our way to dinner, but taking the time to find the restaurant tzitzikas and mermingas was well worth it. this place was incredible. we sat outside and enjoyed the ambiance. we got 4 different little meze dishes and loved the modern twist on the traditional greek fare. we lingered until dark, and then went on our way to find the acropolis. we stopped by hadrian’s arch and the remains of zeus’s temple on the way (it’s cool to see all the sites illuminated against the night) and finally saw the acropolis, glowing above the center of the city. we walked along the perimeter, and noticed a little dessert shop with cheap take-away options. craving a little something sweet, we splurged on 2 treats, and then sat on the curb beneath the iconic site, taking in the european night. there were couples and small groups of friends wandering the pedestrian walkway, and the music from night-buskers floated around us – a melancholy saxophone and a middle-eastern string instrument mingling in the breeze. it reminded me of my first time in europe, back in 2005 in london when we stayed out a much too late, admiring big ben and listening to a keyboard player on a bridge. it felt magical. it felt so different, and so alive.