Hotel Review: Intercontinental Athens

While in Athens, I stayed at the Intercontinental Athenaeum, about a 15 minute walk from the metro. I had a lot of points on my IHG account accumulated before the COVID Lockdowns. When I booked, I decided to splurge on a night on the club floor. In the end their up selling weakened my sales resistance and I upgraded my other 2 nights to the club floor. I rationalized that I hadn’t traveled in years and who knows when the ne t lockdown will come along.

My room was spacious, decorated in a soothing blue that I associate with Greece. Since I was staying three nights I was glad to have a sofa and desk.

The club floor has a terrific lounge with a balcony that has a splendid view of the Acropolis, which was even better at night.

Breakfast featured an abundance of Greek and French pastries, eggs, bacon, a platter of cheeses and cold cuts, veggies like cucumbers, fresh fruit, juices, teas and coffees. Enough variety for every taste and enough food last till dinner.

I’m not one for eggs

Cocktail hour offered wines, beers, liquor and soft drinks along with hot appetizers, an array of cheeses, fruits, salad and lots of miniature desserts. Delightful!

The lounge also had board games and a desktop computer. I used the computer for email as I get tired of my iPad for that.

All in all I savored the calm and enjoyed the ease of not having to search for restaurants every day. I’d definitely return to the Intercontinental in Athens.

The Acropolis

Acropolis

I couldn’t come to Greece and not come to Athens and see the Acropolis.

I went right after seeing the Museum. There was a long line for the ticket machine or the ticket booth. The reason was only one of the two machines worked and only one booth was opened. (This is why many pay extra for the “skip the line” tickets. A bit of a racket, but whatever.)

Dionysius’ Theater

I’m glad I got to Greece this year. While there were people older than me and in comparable or worse shape, I would want to go up these slopes again. Though I wore hiking shoes, in a lot of spots on the way up the marble or rocks are slippery.

Nonetheless it wasn’t a long walk up and the structure is impressive. They’ve got cranes up there so it seems they’re doing some structural work.

It’s 20€ to see the Acropolis and 30€ for a multi-site ticket. I felt satisfied with the museum and Acropolis. Going down to the modern world I did pass the Roman Agora and Hadrian’s Library. While I didn’t go in either I was content to see the exteriors.

The Acropolis Museum

My sightseeing today started with the Acropolis Museum. They exquisitely display their ancient artifacts and provide thorough descriptions that explain the historic era of the collection.

I saw a lot of families during my visit and commend the museum for the descriptions geared to kids. Even kids who’ve learned about Ancient Greece at school or through the Percy Jackson books could find the museum dry. These colorful descriptions make the sculptures and artifacts relatable.

Weekend Coffee Share

If we were having coffee, We’d be in Tirana or Lezhë, Albania where I’ve been training young Afghan refugees English and life skills. Albania’s got more cafès per capita than any country. We could go to the Komiteti Kafe in Tirana, the capital or one of the dozens of cafès in my Albanian hometown where I’ll be till mid-August.

I’m teaching with two other Americans and two Afghans. We finished the first cohort yesterday. We all worked hard, both trainers and students. Most of our students worked for Western NGOs before they had to flee. Most are with their families waiting to go to Canada or the US.

After coffee with cake, we went to the House of Leaves, a museum about government surveillance in Albania between 1940 and 1991, when Albania was under Communist rule. It’s a small sobering collection housed in the building that was the central command for this operation.

Sunday we went to Mrizi Zanava, a farm cum vineyard cum restaurant. All the food was amazing, fresh and creative. We had three starters, i.e. that’s their standard, blueberry pasta, chicken, duck, a pear tart with pine syrup, homemade ice cream with roasted coffee beans and chocolate soufflé with laurel ice cream wrapped in a apple ribbon. Our waitress spoke English beautifully. I couldn’t resist buying a bottle of their wine and pine syrup.

Charcuterie