Tonight is marathon eve, and the end of my second full day here in Athens. Here are some of the highlights so far!
1 – The views of the ruins are incredible. My hotel is less than a mile from the Acropolis, and I can even see it lit up from my hotel balcony! The ancient sites are often at the very tops of hills so it’s easy to see them from most anywhere in the city. It’s always a great contrast between the modern day city and the ancient history it holds.
2 – Greenspace in the city. I needed a little city break today and found my way to the National Gardens and the Zappiou Garden. I get overwhelmed with constant people/noise/traffic, and these two places were close to the hotel. Meandering trails, leaves falling, the sweet smell of the earth, and even a little zoo where I got to see children feeding uncooked spaghetti noodles to goats. That was a first!
3 – Scuptures everywhere. I was really impressed with how often I’d see beautiful works of art in nature. Downtown Athens has art around nearly every corner!
4 – Seeing a small Greek wedding. I was waking by a beautiful old church this afternoon and the front door was open. In it I was able to see a gorgeous bride and her soon to be husband, along with a very small group of people during their wedding. The signs outside made it clear that photography wasn’t allowed so I didn’t snag a pic of them, but it was SO beautiful. This is the church they were getting married in.
5 – The sound of accordions. The older generations of my family were talented at playing the accordion (and one of my great uncles still plays!). I love walking down the street and hearing someone playing the accordion. It may be an old man, or a small child – it’s always a surprise! Yesterday there was a little boy playing the accordion along the street that leads to the Acropolis and he was belting out the songs. It reminded me of some karaoke nights with my friends who would sing with abandon after a good 8 cocktails, and this kid was just bringing it. I now wished I would have slipped him a few euros.
And now I am getting ready to crawl in bed and hope that I can get by in the Athens Marathon tomorrow with pretty much zero training since my 50 miler. No regrets though. I loved every lazy weekend morning where I could sleep in, get coffee with my stellar boyfriend, and stroll around the third ward with him and my dog instead of logging a long run.
Goal #1: Finish the Athens Marathon
Goal #2: Have a blast in the process
Goal #3: Celebrate tomorrow night with my Marathon Tours group, Greek wine, Greek music and *maybe* dancing