"Each step forward has a sacred meaning of its own"   Sri Chinmoy

Lycabettus Hill & Temple of Zeus - Greece - January 2017

 This unique trek across the incredible city of Athens started at the Temple of Zeus - a striking ruin even in a city where there are ancient remains seemingly around every corner! Kokila in particular felt a really strong impression from the place as we wandered among the columns. Our eventual goal, Lycabettus Hill, was visible on the skyline. We had been to the top of the Acropolis a couple of weeks earlier but there were so many good reviews of Lycabettus as the best vantage point from which to view the ancient city that we felt there was no alternative but to make it our quest for the day.

From the temple we headed through the national gardens and along the street that ran past the barracks - Greek soldiers in their unique traditional uniforms were marching down towards the parliament building for the next changing of the guard - well worth a look if you are in town at the right time.

As we headed towards the hill we found the streets sloping steeply up - the summit is only around 1000 feet or maybe less but there's quite a bit of uphill walking before you even reach the teleferic. Once we got there and found that it was indeed open (we were there during the feast of the epiphany, a holiday weekend) Kokila opted to check out the ride up while I headed up on the trail. We were both being cautious with our legs after some hard races - in my case I felt my running niggles would benefit from some fast walking while she thought rest was the best policy. Once on the trail and leaving the city noises behind I found that the remaining climb would only take a few minutes - the trail is paved and only a gentle gradient for most of the way so it's a fast walk - I think I was up in around 12 minutes, surprising Kokila when she popped out from the teleferic as she'd expected to beat me to the top.

Views on the way up were amazing - Athens is beautiful and dramatic, you can feel the history in the air and looking out across the city you see not only the Parthenon but many other remains from the classical era. I'm blown away by this city - nowhere else in Europe have I seen and felt the sensation of the presence of the ancient past so strongly.

Once at the summit it's the more recent, Christian heritage that takes over. We wondered into the beautiful chuch of St George, filled like so many orthodox churches with frescoes and icons everywhere you look and the fragrance of soft, woody incense.

Although the air was pretty filled with tobacco smoke we grabbed a table at the summit restaurant and ordered their speciality - a massive ice cream sundae with cream and a kind of crushed honeycomb - amazing. Glad we shared one though - one each would have been way too much - a potentially fatal sugar rush! After that and sipping a coffee while enjoying the muted sounds of the summit it was time to head down and try and burn off the calories!

We stopped to grab some photos on the way down - here's Kokila alongside the Acropolis.

Not sure when I'll be back in Greece but I'm already trying to find an excuse for another visit - a magical country.

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