We begin our European adventure in Athens; capital city of Greece, named after Athena, the warrior goddess of reason and intellect who brought the people of Athens the first olive tree seed from which civilisation flourished. Spending 22 hours on planes dreaming of the European sun and delicious Greek food, we wasted no time. We arrived at our Hilton Hotel and headed straight for the pool; chicken souvlaki and grilled octopus, thank you very much! A quick workout in the fully equipped gym and sauna after our lunch, refreshments in the Executive Lounge and sunset drinks on the rooftop. This holiday has officially begun!!
Having only one full day in Athens we opted for a morning bus tour (what's 'jet-lag'?). The smiling and always helpful Hilton staff booked it all for us; picked up from the hotel reception, which was good because you had to roll us out of the amazing breakfast buffet! Little did we know, the first stop of our tour was actually a drive past our very own hotel, which the guide described as the 'crown in the Jewel of Athens' since its construction. With spacious rooms, 5 star facilities and the entire hotel boasting breathtaking views of the Acropolis, it is obvious why it is still the pride of Athens hoteliers.
Apollo had graced us with a beautiful September sun for our day trip to the Acropolis to view not only the Parthenon, but also the entirety of Athens! A trip past the venue of the very first Olympic Games, the ancient Panathenaikan stadium, all part of a tour packed full of Greek mythology and history; a deep rooted pride for their culture, (and disdain for the English museums who still refuse to return the Greek artefacts they had removed during Ottoman occupancy!). Even without these though, the new Acropolis Museum is a standout part of any tour in Athens, built above Greek archeological ruins with modern luxuries in stark contrast to the rich antiquity within.
A long day of touring left us with tired minds and bodies; so back to the Hilton Pool for a quick bite and refresh before our dinner at the infamous rooftop 'Galaxy Bar and Restaurant' perched just a few levels above our hotel room! The 8pm sunset booking was simply magical; much like the 'mastiha' cocktails and delicious food. Three courses of tough decisions; do we try the Japanese fusion or stick to modern Greek? We opted for a bit of everything and were not disappointed. Enjoy our photos below, but they don't do it justice so be sure to come visit! Tomorrow morning, off to Mykonos (eek! I can't sleep!).
...SEVEN MAGICAL DAYS LATER...
Our Greek island experience was over much too soon! But just enough to get a taste for all of the places I would certainly return to (see my Mykonos and Santorini blogs here)! Flying back to Athens from Santorini on a 30 seater propeller plane was certainly an experience, but one I think I would rather forget! Flying in anything without jets terrifies me; but thankfully we can relax, unwind and savour our last night in Greece from the comfort of the Radisson Blu Park Hotel in Athens. Keen to try something other than the beautiful Hilton for one night, we were pleasantly surprised to find another luxury hotel for a fraction of the price with very similar facilities including a fitness room and an 8th storey roof-top pool with a bar and fine-dining restaurant! If the Hilton Athens had a baby brother it would be the Radisson Blu Park Hotel.
Another beautiful gastronomic experience tempted us above at the multiple awarded St' Astra restaurant however looking to recharge the batteries for our trip to Italy we opted for an early night; some tasty room service, fresh fruit and a retreat to our uber comfortable bed! Come morning, with a 'yes we can' motto the Radisson topped up their big selection on the breakfast buffet with a-la-carte options but there was no way I was leaving Greece without one more bowl of delicious Greek yoghurt and accompaniments from their yoghurt bar! Next thing to hit my stomach will be a fresh pizza from Gianni's motherland. Thank you Greece for all of the memories!
Special thanks to: