My Big Fat Greek Layover

I only have a few hours left in Israel. At 4am tomorrow I take off to the airport for my 7am flight to Rome. I’ll have an eight hour layover in Athens, so I’m going to try and make the best of it and so see the Acropolis in the time I have. It should be a really busy day: wake up early, fly, run around Athens, get back to the airport, fly, arrive in Rome and try to get settled in a room I have yet to book. I also gain another hour back from the 24 I lost when I went over the International Date Line.

Yesterday I spent all day taking photos in North Israel. I visited Caesarea, Haifa, Acre, and got to within about 20-30m of the Lebanon border. In Caesarea was the former capital of Israel during the time of Herod. He built it in honor of Augustus and created an artificial harbor. It was also the HQ for the Roman Governor of Palestine. It was believed the Paul was imprisoned here before he was taken to Rome to be executed. There were also Crusader and Turkish buildings built on the site. The ancient Roman theater has been rebuilt and is currently used for performances. I’m not sure how I feel about that….

Haifa is the home of the Baha’i Gardens which is the most sacred spot in the Baha’i Faith. The gardens were beautiful, but closed because it was a Baha’i Holiday. We could take photos from the top of the hill, but that was it.

In Acre we explored the old Crusader Fort, which is still inhabited. Acre is a mix of Jews, Arabs, Christians and Druze. It was very odd to explore all the tunnels and rooms in the fortress and then walk outside into the middle of a wedding ceremony.

I’m excited to be ending the Middle East part of the journey and beginning the European part. It will be nice to be in a place once again where I can at least pronounce the words I see on signs, even if I can’t understand them.

  • 9 Comments... What's your take?

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Comments

  1. TRaveler says:

    I wish you could have stayed more in Athens , there is sooo much to see and do. Maybe your next time …

  2. Fred Smilek says:

    I think you are very lucky! I have been in Rome twice and I love it, Sometimes I dream about going there to live. one day my dream will become true. Good luck!

  3. Pete says:

    Gary it’s blogs like this that keep me dreaming of RTW travel. If the housing market picks up I hope I can sell my place and soon follow in your footsteps.

    Very impressive blog by the way! Keep up the good work and enjoy those travels.

  4. Doris says:

    Gary, you didn’t mention the Jezreel Valley, but you probably saw the view from Haifa. I hope you’ll be able to return someday to see the Galilee–the Kinneret (Sea of Galilee), quite a number of Christian and Jewish sites, Tzfat, the Meron Mountains, Mt. Hermon–as well as the Golan Heights! On the Mediterranean, we made it to Zichron Ya’akov for an enjoyable evening/night’s stay. It’s within view of Caesarea, just to the northeast. The best food there and in Tzfat! The Sea of Galilee is beyond gorgeous! Hopefully, your next trip!

    Europe will be wonderful!

  5. jen laceda says:

    Hi,
    I like Ceasarea and Akko, and hope you did, too. Haifa is ok, but I wouldn’t have cried if I missed it. How do you feel? I hope you also got to see the Acropolis in Athens. I was in the Louvre today with my daughter and we saw pieces of the frieze from the Parthenon. I guess the French, along with the British, shared in the pillage of the Parthenon.
    Have fun in Rome, as I’m sure you will! Rome is one city I can always go back to and not get tired of. If only for the food…

  6. lubber says:

    Do me a favor while you are in Rome. Go to the Campo Dei Fiore, not far from the Piazza Navona. Stop in the pizza shop on the northern side. Order the deep-fried rice balls filled with cheese and tomato.

  7. blash says:

    You haven’t been to Israel unless you’ve hiked the Negev, period. Ideally, you’d hike the entire Israel Trail, but at 800 km long it’s pretty hard to do. Ask around, the Negev is some of the best desert hiking in the world.

  8. Kiersi says:

    That’s too bad that you didn’t get to see the Baha’i gardens. I grew up Baha’i and went to Haifa two years back for pilgrimage. The gardens are truly some of the best in the world, and the holy houses are also magnificent in their architecture. I recommend you try again someday.

  9. phyllis8katz says:

    Lucky you! I wish I was heading to Italy! Head for the Alto Adige area, in the northern part of Italy. My luggage sat in Rome the whole 10 days. I visited 1 1/2 yrs ago. My mom was from there. I visited family while there and hope to go back May 2010.

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About Gary Arndt

My name is Gary Arndt. In March 2007 I set out to travel around the world...
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