Temple of Hephaestus, Athens, Greece

Greece/Denmark: Day Eight — Travel Day: Athens to Copenhagen

Temple of Hephaestus, Athens, Greece
Temple of Hephaestus, Athens, Greece

The flight out to Copenhagen leaves late this afternoon; so, we have the morning to enjoy Athens and decided to walk to the Acropolis museum.

Somehow the elevator in the hotel took us to -1 instead of the main floor for breakfast. When the door opened I saw a dozen Greek girls all dressed identically, with the same hair style, all standing in line to go into a conference room on that floor. It was the oddest looking thing!

As we left to walk to the Acropolis, I saw what was going on with all of them. They were trying to get a job with Emirates Airlines as flight attendants. Still very odd: all stamped out of the same mold.

We had lunch at a quaint and popular café in the Plaka. We had been warned about “the gypsy children” that play their instruments around the tourists and pick their pockets—I suppose an Oliver Twist sort of thing. The management had to shoo the children away several times.

We walked to the new acropolis museum which wasn’t that far from our hotel. I highly recommend it. The museum is built on pillars atop an ancient city excavation, and in many places the floors in the museum are glass. You can look below into the ruins. Soon, the lower level of ruins beneath the museum will be open for touring. Additionally, the cost of entry is very reasonable.

The museum only displays pieces from the Acropolis and the Pantheon. An archeologist is available at all times to answer any questions anyone has. I was interested in some of the reproductions that stood next to the originals. The reproductions were painted the colors the original had once been—very strikingly different from my view of “antiquity!” The third floor features a reconstruction of the pediments of the Acropolis with a movie about the history of the remains. Fantastic.

We went outside on the second floor deck to have a light snack and, unexpectedly, saw the ceremony for the passing of the Olympic torch to Russia. Additionally, a human rights group was there to protest the official Russian government stance against gay people.

Once we arrived in the Athens airport and were waiting in the lounge for our flight, we ran into a family from Atlanta and chatted with them. Small world.

Upon arrival, late at night (close to midnight) in Copenhagen, our driver told us one of the reasons we would see so many bicycles in Copenhagen: Denmark places a 180% tax on cars! In other words, a car that sells for $30,000 US dollars would cost the better part of $100,000 in Denmark! This effectively motivates the Danes to bike. I’ve never seen so many bicycles anywhere, ever. Stunning. We were also warned to look carefully when getting out of a vehicle or crossing the street. The cyclists are rather aggressive.

Oh, by the way, en route, we learned that Denmark is considered the happiest country in the world according to the latest survey. I’ll share more interesting perspective about this later.

When we arrived at the hotel, a saxophonist was playing on the street corner (at 12:30am). Even though our room was on the 18th floor, he sounded as though he were performing in the room next to us! Good grief!

I absolutely love the sense of style the Danish have. The chairs in the hotel were all designed by the famed late Danish designer Arne Jacobsen. I wanted to purchase two of these for the house when we were redecorating after the move in, but they sell for between $4,000 and $6,000 in the US! Apparently they are wildly popular with the return of retro, mid century classic. The lights and coloring of the room decoration were equally fabulous!

Across the street from the Radisson is Travoli, the oldest amusement park in all of Europe, built in the 1800’s. Though only open sporadically during this time of year, the park is beautifully decorated for Halloween, a relatively new holiday to the Danish.