I took a gamble today and as you'll see from some of the photographs later on, the gamble was worth it.
With two full days in Athens, I made a simple plan. The first day was to catch up on some things and write to you lot about being back in Athens. Generally, it was a day to just chill and that was fine by me having seen the main attractions previously this year. Still, I enjoyed some afternoon strolling in the main park close by and took time out to marvel, again, at the Acropolis - but this time from ground level.
Actually, despite Athens being quite a large city (and it's certainly a busy one), it's the close proximity of the main sights make Athens a great tourist destination. For this reason alone, those with even a slight interest in history or archaeology would truly benefit from a long weekend here. Come here from Thursday to Monday and this will be plenty of time to unwind but to also immerse yourself in both ancient (and modern) Greece. I should also mention the weather has been hovering between 20 and 24 degrees for practically all of November I've been told.
BTW, I still to this day remain in only t-shirt and shorts. so it'll be interesting to see how long this can last...
Can I tempt anyone for next weekend then?
For my second and final day in Athens I was on the move again but for once, walking was secondary as bus would be my predominant means of transportation today. I took a 2 hour journey south of Athens to the very edge of Greece's mainland; an area known as Attica to go and visit Cape Sounion. I thought 7 euros was pretty fair until I discovered this was one-way. Grrrrr.
Having done some reading, I'd read this location can offer a magical sunset. You're said to be high up on a hill, with a 2500 year old temple next to you whilst gazing into the distance hoping to witness one of Mother Nature's greatest treats. Sold, and this is where the gamble I spoke of earlier came into play...
Before all of that though, here are some images from the edge of Greece (Attica) and of course, what I'd come to see: The Temple of Poseidon - God of the sea.
Get this though, according to Greek Mythology, Cape Sounion is the location where Aegeus leapt to his death, thus giving his name to the Aegean Sea. Also in Greek Mythology (as oppose to Roman), the God of the sea occupied a high position in the divine hierarchy and as such, Poseidon was considered second only to Zeus.
Before some more closer pictures of the temple, here are some images of the beautiful surrounding area:
Now back to the gamble. This wasn't whether I should visit Cape Sounion or not, but rather at what time I should depart from there. Specifically, should I stay for sunset or not? After all, just being here was enough, wasn't it?
"Make sure you check what time the last bus leaves from there", I was advised by the hostel reception. "This is Greece after all and it's now officially off-season so they might not stay to timetable".
Hardly words to take lightly. And as for what's the worse that could happen? Well, it almost didn't bare thinking about...
For starters, I'm arrived here without a companion and I was two hours drive-time away from Athens. It might as well have been Mars! It would be dark by the time my bus was meant to come and I would be high up on a big hill. And it would soon get cold up here and out by the sea.
Ok, that's pretty bad but perhaps you could at the very best find accommodation somewhere out here?
Having now been to Cape Sounion, there really wasn't much accommodation anywhere close by. Also, that would have meant shelling out lots of money unnecessarily. Still, even those two combined wasn't the main problem, this was that I have a flight booked for 8am the following morning!
So now you can now more appreciate that I'd be shafted beyond belief if this went wrong.
I decided to just see how my first hour and a half went and then I'd know by that if I was ready to go back on the 4pm bus.
That time came and I hadn't even been to the temple yet as I was too busy photo-shooting the surrounding area!
Guess I would be staying till 6pm then. My fate was sealed...
After I captured several of the above images close to sunset, it was time to head back to a location I spotted earlier that would give me a decent view of what nature was soon to bestow upon me...
So were the extra two hours after 4pm worth it? They really, really were! Any earlier departure people definitely missed out. Actually a couple of bus tour companies filled with Italians turned up for the event too so I made sure I had suitable distance between myself and 'the tourists'.
Apart from not having a glass of wine (and some crisps) close by and not having one of you lot here to share the moment with, it couldn't be 100% perfect but it was pretty damn close and yet the last couple of hours were yet to come.
Enjoy the final five photos folks...
And as for the bus, it came! I had nothing to worry about it would seem. Also I wasn't alone which was marginally comforting as there were ten other people all praying for the same thing and our prayers were answered. We all shared a big smile when we saw the bus in distance.
I look forward to writing to you again next week and by then I'll hopefully be on my fifth and final island.