So here's the deal: we live very close to the Panathinaiko Stadium wiki link, also (and, locally, more popularly) known as the Kallimarmaro ("beautiful marble"), which is the site of the ancient athletic games in Athens, and the revival of the Olympic games in the 1800s (though not the site of the Athens 2004 summer Olympics, which were held in a different, brand new stadium complex).
Between us and the stadium is Ardittou Hill, the forest area seen on the right of the stadium in the photo below:
The main entrance to the stadium (for sightseeing, and stuff like concerts and other events held there) is on a super-busy, super-noisy, multi-lane-traffic boulevard full of choking fumes, and we rarely walk by there. But today we discovered the super-seekrit back entrance to the stadium... and a number of other things:
1) It's just plain open... nobody charging you money or checking you out... you can just walk right in
2) There's a gorgeous packed-earth running path for joggers, walkers, etc, surrounding (or "embracing", really) the upper outside of the stadium, with a fabulous view of the stadium and the city
3) All of Ardittou Hill has bewitching, beautiful, amazing, serene, peaceful, gorgeous walking paths snaking all around it, and you would never, ever know they were there - unless you knew, because the dense foliage cloaks it all
4) and to get there we don't even have to walk all the way around to the back of the stadium (which is only about a half-kilometer from us, so super close anyway), because we discovered the secret passageway in the form of a bent area between the iron bars of the high surrounding fence that allows one to just barely wriggle through... and taaaa-daaaah, instant passage directly from our neighborhood into this magical wood
Seriously, we were blown away; twisty-turny lush pine-scented walkways and lightly trodden paths leading up, down and around, revealing at one moment a view of the Acropolis, and then a vista of the city, and later a view to Lycabettus hill that seemed like we could take two giant steps across the air and just be there...
and then, then... we ended up in this place that had us totally befuddled until we realized that we were looking directly at our own neighborhood, but from behind the looking glass. It was like a fantasy story. Or Myst... very Mysty - we both thought of it, independently.
And the weather - grey, chilly, lowering clouds, with the finest possible cloak of rain - added the perfect fillip to the intimate, hidden atmosphere, sheltering amid the delicious cypress and pine.
So Sky got to do a poop at the Kallimarmaro, in its beautiful forest... which I had to carry around in my hand (bagged, doh) for the rest of the time, because apparently it's so little used, they don't even need to have trash receptacles there. And when we finally pulled ourselves away and made our way out of the mystic wood (and travelling by secret route, of course), it took us less than five minutes to get to the closest bar-cafe to our house, where we sat for a glass of wine inside its cheerful warmth, and Sky made friends with another happy doggy who had accompanied her owner there.
Here's the Kallimarmaro from the front (street-level view):
definitely. We didn't take our camera today, because we just sort of set out to walk around in some parts of our neighborhood that we hadn't explored much (and even though we had been on our side of this area many times before, it doesn't seem like there's any way to get to the forest part) - so we didn't really think we were going there, though we wanted to scout the perimeter.
I don't think photos would have come out well today anyway, it was so cloudy (or so I tell myself so I won't feel too badly about not taking the camera). But damn. You have to always take the camera.