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Athens, a city worshipped by people and gods. The beautiful  capital of Greece  is one of the oldest cities in the world. It is said to be the cradle of civilization and the birthplace of democracy. Named after the  goddess of warfare  and home to  Plato’s Academy, this city gave rise to many wise men of ancient times.

My introduction to the magical city began at the  Acropolis, where I was enchanted by the beautiful remains and the stunning  Acropolis Museum. There I also learned about the city’s  catch, neuter, and release  program, which populated the streets with stray dogs. One of these free spirits, which I named Atticus because he found me and my friends at ‘the Roundabout of Atticus’ and because I’ve always wanted to have a dog by that name after reading To Kill A Mockingbird,  followed me and the gang loyally  from the Acropolis all the way to the  Temple of Olympian Zeus, where we sadly parted ways when us humans headed for the subway.

Between visiting the  Port of Piraeus  and walking around  Old Town Plaka, I also visited the  Poet Sandal Maker  who directed me to his favourite Greek restaurant nearby. After a satisfying feast there, I ended the day at the top of  Lycabettus hill, overlooking the entire city.  When the red and orange colours burned in the sky as the sun set over Athens, I remembered a great piece of advice I once heard:  see the world as a traveller, not a tourist.

This article originally appeared on Just-In-Time Travels. Get in touch with the author @tracyzhangphoto.