I walked down the marble streets of Plaka, the historic district of Athens and turned corner upon corner. The windy streets were often confusing but I managed to distract myself from the fact that I was lost. The goal is to not get scared when you’re lost. I get scared sometimes and it’s not fun. So, I lose myself in the child size Pinocchio sitting on the nearby bench. I gain perspective looking at Evil Eyes and buying souvenirs for my siblings. I get my bearings and realize one thing, if you’re walking uphill you’re headed to the Acropolis, if you’re walking down hill you’re walking towards my hostel. I snap out of my fear of the unknown and decide, right then are there, what my next step will be.
I turn and look up hill. Past the trees, past the cute streets of Plaka, past the beautifully colored houses on the hill and see the Acropolis. I begin to walk uphill. I pass by amazing smelling restaurants and many t-shirt shops. Countless restaurant greeters ask me to sit in their restaurant and I politely refuse. I’m getting to the top of that hill. That is the mission at hand.
I land on what appears to be a street. I turn left and walk back down hill. I begin to see ruins but no entrance. I turn right and continue my path uphill. There is a thin gate blocking me from entering the Acropolis. All entrances are closed but if I look way up, I can see people at the very top. I know its open.
As I continue walking uphill I see people coming down. I would have asked if they found the entrance but I didn’t feel like interacting with anyone at this time. It was hot, humid and I was getting grouchy.
I reach a dead-end. There are houses surrounding this dead-end. Then I see a couple taking pictures on a cute, bleached staircase. They ask me if i know where the entrance is and I said I assumed it was this way. They tell me they just came from this direction and couldn’t find it.
I stopped to think for a second and decide to climb these cute bleached staircases. They curve around a few houses. The space between the houses is literally two feet. I might be walking into someones backyard, but I proceed anyway.
Step after step. Landing after landing. I reach several landings with stellar views of Athens. I take several pictures and continue my trek. Each bleached staircase is covered in urban art. I adore the urban clash I see in big cities.
I finally reach the final landing and the only place to go is down. I officially don’t know what the hell I’m doing. I walk down the stairs and think “Fuck it. I made it too far to go back. I might as well explore the city.”
I keep walking and I can still see the Acropolis to my left. I’m still separated by a fence. If I could hop the fence I would be inside of this magnificent monument.
I continue walking and realize I’m moving uphill again. This is a good sign. I walk for another 35 minutes or so and see crowds of people congregating on a rock nearby. Perhaps this is a good sign. A gleam of hope. Maybe I’ve reached the entrance. As I pass the people taking selfies and climbing the giant rock to my right, I see it. About 50 meters in front of me. I see opening gates and a map to the Acropolis.
I walk in, glad I didn’t turn around. I walk up to the ticket booth and pay my 20 Euro entrance fee. I continue walking up hill and find the entrance to the ruins.
The Pantheon Theater is immediately to my right. Its impressive, to say the least. A theater inside an ancient monument. The back structure is collapsing on itself but its dramatic. I don’t like plays but I would see a play here. As long as the play has a little blood and guts I would be fine with it.
I proceed uphill and its picturesque setting after picturesque vistas as far as the eyes can see. If I wanted to I could make a list of places I wanted to visit from here. I could see all of Athens.
The floors are so slick I almost slip a few times. The rocks have been stepped on so much the rocky grip has worn out. I carefully keep climbing the man-made stairs and weave around a few pillars until the grand entrance to the Acropolis appears directly in front of me.
You’re not allowed to touch the ancient marble but I wanted to so bad. It’s amazing how good it looks. Weathered from centuries of storms and heat, it’s still impressive.
As I walk through the entrance I walk past pillar after pillar and I can imagine the Greek gods siting nearby. I can imagine men in togas. I can even imagine the ancient monsters and how they lived in this ancient but extremely civilized society.
As you enter the Acropolis you see historic panels explaining each monument. I refused to read them. Although, the Greeks are still around, all I saw was war. Fighting for resources, for land, for food, for strength. Theres a reason humans are the dominant species of this planet. It’s because we are the most aggressive animal out there. It’s because we can deceive and destroy easily. History is sad. Its filled with turmoil and betrayal. Its filled with death. We are our own worst enemies.
I continued walking and finally reached the top of the hill, also the edge of the cliff. The Greek flag, flapping in the wind. Standing tall. I soaked in the views and the amazing structures and contemplate my next move.
Let me break it down for you:
20 Euros entrance fee
The entrance is a little hard to find, but there are several around the perimeter
Takes about 2 full hours to read and see it all
Good day activity
Would I recommend it? If you don’t see any other monuments make sure to see this one. After seeing this one, I felt like the other monuments were a rip off. They all seem to blend in as well since they’re all Greek structures with similar architecture.