Athens Day 4: National Archaeological Museum of Greece & Last Night in Athens

So the morning dawned upon us again. Still raining (as usual) but after a quick breakfast, we rushed out of the backpackers to catch a cab to the bus station. Our bus for Delphi will leave at 10.30 a.m. and it was already 10.00 a.m.

It was just our luck that we boarded a cab whose driver wasn’t too fluent with English, and he had no idea which bus station we wanted to go too. After some acute miming and pointing at my guide, he seemed to understand and we were on our way.

As we passed more and more unfamiliar buildings and routes, the sense of dread seemed to build within us. Liping and I looked at each other questioningly – could we be on our way to the wrong bus station?

Ten minutes later, our fear was confirmed. After running around the strange bus station looking for a non-existent bus, we approached the information counter and was told crudely that the bus station we were supposed to be at was five kilometres away.

I looked at Liping in dismay. It was already 10.25 a.m. and without a doubt we will miss our bus. And since today is our last day in Athens, it will also mean we will miss Delphi altogether.

ARGH!!!!!!

Dejected beyond belief, we had to spend several minutes taking deep breathe to calm ourselves after a bout of serious cursing of the cab driver who acted like he knew what he was doing. I suggested that we should visit the National Archaeological Museum of Athens, which was closed when we visited yesterday. Liping looked at me blankly and said she will bet her bottom dollar that the damn museum will be closed as well, but since we had nothing else planned for the day we might as well just try.

And finally, finally, our fortune turned for the better – the museum was open! You can imagine our relief to see the hordes of people moving towards the entrance. And so we got our tickets and immersed ourselves into the world of Greek culture and history.

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The National Archaeological Museum of Athens houses some of the most important artifacts from a variety of archaeological locations around Greece from prehistory to late antiquity. It is considered one of the great museums in the world and contains the richest collection of artifacts from Greek antiquity worldwide.

As we walked along the many, many displays of ancient Greek artifacts, I couldn’t help but felt awed by the grandeur of what I was experiencing. Centuries of Greek culture were immortalised through brilliant sculptures, drawings and archaeological find. I took a great many photos here, and here are some of my favorites.

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This sculpture depicts a fallen young Greek soldier, whose knees were wounded and was kneeling on the ground. His helmet has fallen to the side, and his arm was stretched to the front yielding a sword to defend himself. The look of anguish was clearly engraved on his marblic face.

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Ancient Greek head gear (I can’t remember what it was called) for the partisan, plated in gold. It looked like an exotic tiara to me, and I really, really wanted to buy a replica of it to bring home!

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A painting of two boxing children, which was excavated from the ancient site of Akrotini of Santorini. Somehow I find this a bit too freaky for my liking. They looked like they are doing a round of muay thai.

Liping and I spent a good two hours here at the museum. I finished first because I was so, so tired from the adventure last night, that I fall asleep in the museum foyer waiting for her! How embarrassing, LOL.

As we leave the museum, the sky was finally cleared and the rain was reduced to a light drizzle. Liping and I took a slow walk to absorb the atmosphere – afterall, this was the area where the recent riot took place, and we could see many burned down buildings, smashed facade etc.

After a leisurely meal at a nearby cafe, we went back to (where else?) to the backpackers. By then we were tired out, both physically and emotionally, from the roller coaster adventure in the morning that we just rested. But I couldn’t stop myself from going to Ermou Street one more time to get a proper winter jacket from Zara, and to shop for more clothes.

Which I did! The shops were then opened (much to my relief), and spent some happy hours trawling through the street despite the unrelenting rain.

Night out at Makrygianni

This was the jacket I bought from Zara. Pretty cool, eh?

When I returned to the backpackers, we were all ready to go out for dinner. Liping, Marco, Kevin and I went to this place recommended by the owner of backpackers, where we bumped into the youngster Rene and Simon. So we joined our table and had the most fabulous dinner ever! A bit on the pricey side but it was worth every euro.

Drinking Session @ Athens Backpackers

Since it was our last night in Athens, I intend to enjoy it to very last moment. As usual, our session for the night started at Athens Backpackers’ pub, and gosh, by the time the few of us left for pubs outside, I think I was totally smashed. Marco, Rene, Simon and I made a gang of foursome and trawled the Makrygianni area for drinks, dancing and merriment. Liping and Kevin decided to call it an early night – aiyoh!

Night out at Makrygianni

I think I had a little too much to drink that I couldn’t recall much of the night. I recall buying the lads a few rounds of beer (alcohol in Europe is seriously affordable compared to Singapore), and danced with a couple of Greek girls at a pub to some retro-like Greek tunes. LOL. A serious culture immersion experience for me.

And – horror of horror – I puked all the way back from the pub to the hostel. Poor Simon and Rene took care of me. And I will always remember one conversation that we had:

Rene: Are you okay Raz…? (in that German accent of his)

Raz: I am okay… *pukey* I need water. Can you buy for me?

Rene: Okay.

Raz: (Pregnant pause)

Rene: But I don’t have money.

Raz: *pukey* Okay, here is five euro. Quick, before I puke again!

Rene: Okay. SIMON! Take care of Raz!

And off he ran. LOL. For some reasons this remained in my memory. Though it could be Simon the one who went to buy drink for me and Rene who stayed with me.

They even got change back to me, and stuffed it into my pocket. LOL.

So we went back to backpackers, and true enough there were a couple of drunk backpackers loitering around in the lobby too. Simon and Rene started to hunt for their “lost camera” (I thought they were playing punk, but apparently they really did lose their camera!), but ended up going back to their room and… passed out on the floor. LOL.

(The story went that Simon puked on the bed and had to sleep on the floor. Either way it was still hilarious)

Here are the photos I took that night. Thank you my dear lads, for taking care of me that night. Athens was great because of you guys!

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