We’ve begun our Greek odyssey after a long, multi-day journey. We left Prescott on Saturday and drove to Los Angeles where we spent the night. The next day we flew from LAX to London and then on to Athens. We finally arrived into this ancient city on Monday evening.
Ultimately we are here for the Authentic Athens Marathon which will be held this coming Sunday. Until then, we are exploring the city.
Today we wandered the ancient part of the city, called the Plaka. Eventually we met up with Ana, our guide for the Athens Gourmet Food Tour.
Ana led us through the less-touristed parts of Athens, to local coffee shops, food purveyors, and the fresh markets.
We tried spinach pie, Greek coffee, olive oil, feta, special donuts covered in honey, Greek yogurt, wine, and more! Along the way we learned about Greek culture, the Orthodox religion, and Athens history.
Our tour with Ana was a great introduction to the city.
After a brief rest we headed back out for another walk to see the 1898 Olympic stadium, where this weekend’s marathon will finish.
In all we walked over 21,000 steps and covered over ten miles on foot today. And we haven’t yet been to the Acropolis.
During our run-up to the Authentic Athens Marathon, we’ve been exploring this ancient city and preparing for the race. Steve will do the marathon’s 26.2 miles and I’m registered for the 10K.
Both races finish in the Panathenaic Stadium, the site of the first modern Olympics in 1898 and the finish of the Olympic Marathon in 2004.
The all-marble stadium is a key landmark in Athens, so we are excited to finish our races there.
Yesterday we navigated the Athens bus system to get to the Filaro area of town to attend the Marathon Expo. We picked up our race numbers and checked out all of the running-related exhibits at the site.
You never know who you’ll meet at the Expo
This is a traditional step for any Marathon and it’s fun to see the various vendors and try out new products.
The first few days here we were on our own but now we are part of Marathon Tours, a travel group dedicated to supporting traveling runners. Our package includes a city tour, welcome cocktail reception and pre-race pasta dinner, as well as other race support.
As part of the group we visited the Acropolis. We’d been here with Mom and Dad almost 20 years ago and boy have things changed!
The site has seen extensive restoration which makes it easier to imagine what it looked like 2500 years ago when it was built.
The Parthenon 🏛 originally housed a 40 foot gold statue of Athena and was a temple honoring the goddess.
In the 2500 years since it has suffered the damages of war and transformations into a Roman palace, Turkish harem, and a World War II sentry. This place has seen history. Now it is being carefully restored.
Besides the Parthenon, various other temples have been restored upon the Acropolis. The Temple of Athena Nike and the Erechtheion, flanked by the beautiful Caryatid Porch, are my favorite parts.
Caryatids of the Erechtheion
Another highlight of our trip so far has been the Greek cooking class we took. Our small group of four learned to make seven traditional dishes including dolmades (stuffed grape leaves) and spanokopita (spinach pie).
We got the recipes, so be prepared for Greek food coming out of our Prescott kitchen.
After a final stroll through Athen’s Central Market and the Plaka, we are preparing for tomorrow’s run. More to come!
View from our room of the Parthenon
Sailboats in the harbor
Happy at the Parthenon
Athens and the Panathenaic Stadium in the distance