Athens can seem overwhelming at first. The mountains, the rocks, the historic ruins, the panoramic views of valleys and sea: nothing is small. Athens is not scrubbed and polished; it has an ancient, lived-in look as befits a city that has been inhabited for at least 4,500 years. There are ruins in unexpected places throughout the city. What first appears to be a modern street will have fenced off areas containing parts of ancient toppled columns, statues, etc. They have been sitting there for hundreds of years and are now fenced for protection; repair and restoration work is ongoing in Athens. A visit to the Acropolis is a must, and make sure to explore the shops and restaurants in the historic Plaka district. Stop in the National Archeological Museum if you have the time.