The Guards and the Markets – Athens, Greece

The changing of the guards in Athens, Greece.

The changing of the guards in Athens, Greece.

We spent several more days in Athens, exploring the city and wandering. Sunday morning we went into the city to the Parliament building to watch the changing of the guards. I thought it would give us a good basis for comparing to the British changing of the guards when we get there. These guards dress in a traditional military dress outfit – it has 300 pleats in it and the cadets all have to do their own ironing. (I do my best to avoid ironing at all costs so I can’t begin to imagine ironing their uniform.) The ceremony was all very formal, lots of precision stepping and turning, accompanied by a marching band and rifles. While I thought this performance would interest Noah turns out he was mostly interested in the hundreds of pigeons in the square who wanted to be fed and were easily coaxed to sit on your arm or hand. He loves feeding the birds and we almost always travel with bread with us for these occasions.  Next to the parliament building is the beautiful National Gardens which was next on our list for wandering. It’s a lovely green area in the city although Athens seems to have quite a bit of green space. And when you wander – in no time at all – you come across some other ancient ruin. We passed the ancient Agora, several different temples, statues and sanctuaries – many, many ruins. We tried to read and understand the history of the ruins we were seeing but it got quite complicated. Keeping the time table straight has become a project of Madison’s. She read and worked out a timeline for all of us in order to understand who conquered who and when they did it. She was funny, she had never heard of the Byzantine Empire and was quite indigent about it.


Up close to the Temple of Zeus with the Acropolis in the background.

After a quick Greek lunch and fantastic coffee we wandered down to the Monastiraki market. I had read it was a “not-to-be-missed” aspect of Athens. Both of the kids groaned when we told them we were going to a market as they have tired of the wandering aimlessly. We did a quick walk through and headed to the metro. The market is absolutely HUGE! It goes on for miles. We saw people selling everything…. books, christmas decorations, food, greek handicrafts, socks…. everything. And it was mobbed. We got a bit claustrophobic and we were outside walking.

A walk through the meat market in Athens. Every kind of fresh meat you could want (and maybe things you don't.)

A walk through the meat market in Athens. Every kind of fresh meat you could want (and maybe things you don’t.)

By now the kids really just wanted a down day but I was still ready to go out. Kay and I went to explore on our own. We decided to take a double-decker tourist bus. That gave us a different overview of the city and took us places we had not seen. Athens is a busy, vibrant city. I think once you get the hang of it, it’s pretty easy to navigate your way around. It certainly has a mix of ancient buildings tucked in alongside the modern. We rode the entire tour without getting off (it was one of those hop-on, hop-off tours) and listened to the entire commentary about Athens. We enjoyed it and then decided where we wanted to get off which was at the market area. Athens has a very large market area that has meat buildings, fish buildings, fresh fruit and vegetable sections and then a household goods section. I was mesmerized just walking through it and seeing what people are selling. If you’ve been following our adventure you probably noticed that I may have a thing for markets. I do. I think they tell alot about how a community lives. So yes, I thought Athens markets were really cool.

We know there is so much more to in Athens but we are anxious to start heading to Italy; we want to be in Rome for Christmas. So on Tuesday we begin our journey to Italy via the caravan repair shop. The managers at the campground helped us find a repair shop to inspect and work on our brakes. Yeah! We have an appointment for 10:00 am Tuesday morning. We’re hoping they can do what they need to do in a few hours and then we can drive on to Patras, Greece. But, we are trying not to get our expectations set and to just go with whatever we need to do tomorrow. Flexibility – an important part of travel!

Walking through the National Gardens in Athens, Greece.

Walking through the National Gardens in Athens, Greece.


Posted on December 18, 2013, in adventure, European travel, family travel, Greece, Homeschooling, RV travel, travel and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. I’m loving following your adventure. Best holiday wishes. Judi B.

    • Elizabeth Brooke-Willbanks

      Judi! Hello. I have thought of you often during our trip and wondered if you and Alan had been where we were. You should definitely visit Croatia if you haven’t. So good to hear from you. And wonderful holiday wishes to you and your family.

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