Know your backyard

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A perfect frame of the Acropolis in Athens with a clear view of the Odeon of Herodes Atticus (Odeum) during the coveted blue hour.

While researching what to see, visit, do, eat; heck, searching for anything touristy in Athens on Google image search always brought up stunning images of this view. Needless to say, I had to get over to the location that would provide this magnificent view.

A week before flying into Athens, I frantically start searching the web, travel and photography forums on where that desired viewpoint is located. There were lots of suggestions, and none showed what I was looking for. I resorted to my trusted way of searching for good photography locations via Google Maps with little success – there are wide swaths of walking trails on hills that don’t have perfect Street Views. I asked a colleague at work (he is from Athens) and his response was – “There are tons of hills in the city and all have great views of the Acropolis. There is one right next to the Acropolis.” He was right, but I was looking for a specific view. Frustrated and convinced that I was micro-planning, I decided to head over to Athens and find out.

In Athens, with that blue hour gorgeousness in mind, we started asking locals on where we could the desired view. Optimistically, we first started with descriptions of the view and hearing the same response as from my colleague, we very quickly started showing the images from the web.

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We asked hotel staff, taxi drivers, restaurant owners, shopkeepers, tour guide operators, and museum staff. No Bueno. Nothing. Suggestions were given, options were thrown, but no one could say with certainty where this would be. Made me wonder – how confident would I be in pointing out where any particular photograph of San Francisco / Bay Area was taken from just by looking at it. Do I know my neighborhood well?

With blue hour approaching fast, we had to make a call. Filopappou Hill was top on the shortlist of places we had searched around in Google Maps / Street View, and we decided to simply walk up there. A winding pleasant climb through olive tree groves and a fantastic sunset (more on that in a different post) brought us to the peak of the Hill of the Muses, and we were rewarded with the glorious view of the Acropolis.

Posted in featured, greece, traveling.