Recon blog.. 1st post-Greece post: off to the Royal Olympic in Athens!

January 15, 2011 at 3:48 pm 1 comment

Well I promised…

So you know how I said I’d start weaving posts from our 2010 O/S travels in with new posts? Well – since I’m waiting for a super delish mango-lime ice cream to freeze, I’ve decided to publish the blog that should have gone up on 28 July last year, when Mr L and I travelled from London to Athens for a mind blowing night, sitting behind the Temple of Zeus (OMG!) and looking up to the Parthenon from our balcony (really!); eating amazing Greek food and catching up with wonderful old friends. So here we go…

28 July 2010

Here comes another first – we’re off to Athens today and although I’m terribly sad to be leaving London, I’m really excited about visiting Greece. It’s a fairly early start and we’re at Heathrow by 10 am, preparing to board our Olympic Air flight. Mr L is in a chipper mood because he knows how good the hotel is that we’re staying in. Word on the street is that it has a view of the Parthenon, and I’m pretty excited anticipating my first glimpse of ancient Greek architecture and ruins – after building a real love for Ancient Greece through years studying ancient history.

Olympic Air

I had the impression that Olympic Air was going to be shabby, but was pleasantly surprised when we boarded the flight. The plane was in pretty good shape and we had quite an excellent meal – see below.

Note the tiramisu and the brightly coloured coleslaw

The meal on Olympic Air – the meat was either lamb and beef kebabs or kofta – super tasty

The flight from London to Athens seemed to take no time at all and we arrived in Athens at about 4pm. Mr L had arranged a transfer for us using Viator, and a friendly, lovely older chap called Hippocrates picked us up to deliver us to the Royal Olympic Hotel. We were thrilled to have Hippocrates as our driver – he was only too happy to share his knowledge with us and made us feel really welcome. This was a far cry from the hideous reception we’d been given in London by the transfer driver – who not only didn’t have any interest in talking to us – he yelled at Mr L for no real reason and carried on in an atrocious manner. Thank you Hippocrates for restoring our faith in transfer drivers!

The Royal Olympic hotel

Athens is hot at this time of year and we were so happy to be inside the air conditioned hotel. We checked in and headed up to the 6th floor where our room was. The 6th floor is just below the Rooftop Bar and restaurant (which is on the 7th floor) and we were excited, knowing that we’d have a good view. “Good view” is a bit of an understatement really. Have a look at the pics below.

Out the window – Temple of Zeus in the foreground and a church up on the hill in the background

Huge bathroom with local marble

Thumbs up!

Our balcony with view to Temple of Zeus; Acropolis and Parthenon

The Parthenon – how amazing!

Me snoozing – captured by Mr L – what a place for a snooze!

Temple of Zeus

Parthenon again – wow!

View of the mountains to the right of our balcony

Enjoying the view with some old friends

We chilled out on the balcony for a while, taking in the view while waiting to hear back from our friends Bradsy and Kristi who were also in Athens and would be travelling on with us to Kefalonia, Santorini and Mykonos. We got in touch with them and agreed we’d drink a glass of wine together on the balcony at our hotel before we moved on to Plaka for dinner.

At night, the lights came on over the Temple of Zeus and the Parthenon and we sat there gleefully, soaking up the splendour, laughing with old friends over a good glass of wine.

Above, the parthenon and below, the Temple of Zeus at night with lit up church in the background

Dinner with Bradsy and Kristo in Plaka

Fortunately for all, Kristo is a self appointed “mapologist” – meaning she’s good at navigating her way around – often with the aid of a map, but even without one. Bradsy and Kristo had both been in Plaka earlier that day, so Kristo led the way as we went in search of somewhere to eat dinner. We wound our way around the pretty streets in Plaka, noticing lots of pussycats along the way and ended up at a restaurant called Alotenhe – at least that’s what the name looked like when written in Greek! I’m coming to understand the expression “It’s all Greek to me!” – it’s nothing at all like English or other Latin-based languages. Anyway – I’ve included the name on the front of the menu below so that you can visit if you want to when next in Athens.

The menu

We ordered a plate of hot Hors d’oeuvres to start which consisted of stuffed vine leaves (dolmades); pie; a zucchini ball; a cheese ball and sausage. We also ordered stuffed mushrooms. We also received the customary bread, along with olives and tzatsiki and the beers we’d ordered and got into the business of enjoying holidays together.

Stuffed mushrooms – sensational

Plate of hot hors d’oeuvres

Dinner with the kids in Plaka, Athens – beers proudly displayed!

The main meals were also delicious and we enjoyed the night catching up and laughing lots. A few other pics from the mains are below.

My pork with super juicy zucchini, carrot and rice

Kristo’s swordfish souvlaki

Mr L’s rabbit

Dessert crepe

After dinner at the rooftop bar

Mr L and I were pretty keen to check out one of the best rooftop bars in the world and since it was on top of our hotel, we figured we had no excuse. After we finished dinner we parted ways with Bradsy and Kristo and headed straight up to the bar at the Royal Olympic for a magical nightcap. It was difficult getting pictures to show the full brilliance of the place as I didn’t want to use the flash and my camera doesn’t take the best night shots, but the couple below should give you an idea of what it looked like.

The bar with loads of full bottles lined up along it

You can just see the Parthenon peeking up on the top left of the shot

(Blurry) image of the temple of Zeus and the little church up on the hill

Mr L and me looking stoked to be there – with the temple of Zeus in the background

What a view!

I gotta tell you, if you appreciate ancient Greek history and want a special experience, spend the money and book into a suite at the Royal Olympic hotel in Athens. If you stay a few nights, make sure you have dinner up on the rooftop. It is a truly spectacular place to be. The one thing I will say that I didn’t like was the bed, it was too hard for my liking, but by the time we fell into bed we were too tired to care. If you prefer a softer bed, you might want to check about what’s available in the hotel, or look elsewhere.

The low down

For information on the Royal Olympic Hotel, visit their website at

The Athens Guide has some terrific information on Plaka if you’re interested in reading more about it.


Entry filed under: Dinner, Expenso, Flying, Friends, Greece. Tags: , , , , , , .

Cupboard contents loaf – Friday night bake! Popsicles and slurpees

1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. myfavouritefruits  |  January 16, 2011 at 9:10 am

    Apologies for the whacky formatting in this post – I’ve tried to fix it, but my blogging software is being rogue!


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