Yes, you’re right. 2 days is way too short a trip to Athens, Greece (let alone anywhere.) That being apparent, we still had a great time.
Here we share the limited experiences we had in the short time before and after going on our week-long boat trip through Greece.
First off, the drastic change of cuisine was a reluctant breath of fresh air. We love handmade pasta and pizza, but these Greek salads were welcome after 2 weeks in Florence with kids. Don’t get me wrong, the Italian food was incredible, some of the best meals of our lives, but having a break with bright, light meals was gorgeous.
Things to Do in Athens with Kids
Flying in from Italy, we didn’t know if we’d have time to check out the Acropolis, and to be honest, I wasn’t overly excited about it. I expected a hot, dry, overcrowded group of ruins that would take the majority of our day to see. Though it was hot, dry, and crowded in certain areas, it was by far one of the most spectacular sights we’ve seen in Europe thus far!
It wasn’t just the fact that these massive structures are still partially intact after millennia (over 3,300 years old!) but also because of its being situated high above the city of Athens. Athens is MASSIVE! We expected to hear that it was a city of 10-20 million, but instead, it’s only around 3-4. It just looks so huge from this vantage point! And it’s beautiful. White buildings as far as the eye can see in every direction. That and the clouds and sunlight made viewing these buildings ethereal. It doesn’t hurt that it was moments before a thunderstorm.
Just as the rain and lightning came in, we arrived for our reservation at Dionysos Zonar’s for an amazing meal with a view of the Acropolis. A perfect 1/2 day after traveling!
Museum of Illusions Athens
This place was too much fun! An excellent way to kill a few hours with the kids before our flight to Zakynthos, we decided to treat our senses to some pure madness. You really need to watch the video above to get a good idea of all the fun in this museum. Optical illusions abound, which make for perfect photo opportunities.
Both Nate and I are fairly excited entrepreneurs, so when we saw how they have multiple locations around the world, we realized quickly what an excellent business they’ve got. They have 3 teenage employees: 1 taking payment for entrance and selling in the gift shop and 2 cleaning class/mirrors as well as helping visitors understand the illusions and to get the best photos (with their branding in the background.) It’s one of those businesses where you develop branding, build out the facility, copyright what you can, and repeat. Once it’s built, I can’t imagine there’s much overhead. Your customers do most of the marketing on social media for you, and you spend the rest of the time looking for cheap real estate near an airport that you can buy and build out. Smart.
We’d heard about the Underdog, and that it was worth visiting for a coffee. We visited on our last day in Athens for lunch too. The food was good, the service excellent, and the coffee fantastic. Apparently, we had arrived there the morning after a massive coffee tournament hosted in Athens, and I guess the Underdog won with one of the best baristas in the world! Crazy! They were all a buzz (and not just from the caffeine.)
A funny side note: the kids began playing Uno, and the manager walked over to stop us. We thought he was joking, but their license didn’t allow for games. For real. And I thought the laws in the US were anal. I guess every country has their own ridiculous laws and regulations.
We have to thank the good people of Scale Suites for letting us store our bags at their underground facility. Not only were the rooms spacious with great views, but the helpful staff allowed us to store our bags for an entire week at no extra charge. That never happens. These guys went the extra mile, so I have love for them.
So, again these Athens days were all planned to make easing onto our catamaran a bit easier. It worked. Lugging our luggage directly from the airport to the boat and back would have been hard. BUT, when you go on a boat like this, there’s very little room which comes with requirements. No hard luggage! All of our luggage is hard, except for the backpacks. So, we bought some cheap fold-up duffle bags before leaving for this giant trip in order to do a transfer before and after the boat. That would be hell to do in an airport. We managed to move 1/2 of our stuff, and just what we required for the boat leg, into the duffles. Then we stored the hard luggage and all the rest of the stuff at Scale Suites. Worked like a charm!
OK, Next Leg: Catamaran in Greece!