Spent 3 and a bit days in Athens enjoying its amazing history and culture, its warm, balmy and hazy climate, even down to possible confrontations between the police and protestors. It is a pretty amazing city – you really do feel that people have lived in the city for the incredible number of centuries that you know they have, and that in many places you are walking where people have been waling for thousands of years. Appreciated the lovely apartment right in the centre of Athens – made it easier to get around and see what we wanted to see easily, and get a feel for the old part of the city.
It’s hard to name the highlights, so we’ll name a few and then add in some photos, esp. as we are now out of time to finish the blog.
• Sitting out in the streets in the late evenings enjoying (mainly) freshly cooked fish, and in one case sitting right next to a couple of local guys playing guitar and bouzouki (and we assume playing Greek music), and another meal overlooking the floodlit Acropolis.
• Just the feel of the city – the streets, the people, the shops, the markets, the food, the history.
• Strolling through the various ancient sites – we probably enjoyed the Ancient Agora and the Keramikos (basically the cemetery for Athens since ancient times and part of the main street/path into the city and up to the Acropolis) the most, although the Temple of Zeus was humungous and impressive, and the Acropolis enthralling (but the effect was ruined to an extent by the renovations and related scaffolding and machinery plus the new museum was still to open - surprisingly many years late - but the old one was closed).
• Seeing the various viewable excavations that are dotted around the city – suddenly next to a church or building or train line you will see an excavation of part of some ancient Hellenic or Roman building or a combination of both. Some of the best are part of the Metro train system which when they excavated for it uncovered all sorts of sites – amazing. Of course much of it included parts of the drainage systems, so Jan was overly excited by these sites.
• Dave getting a complement on his Greek – “have you some Greek blood?” Last time it was the tan, big nose and beard, this time his (ten words of) Greek??!!
Left the apartment in Athens at Tuesday lunchtime after a last coffee in a square overlooking Hadrian’s library. On the owner’s advice we decided to go via the Metro and suburban rail to the airport – quicker and cheaper (in theory) than a taxi. We managed it all quite OK, except that the Metro train was very crowded when we hopped on at Monistariki station, one of the big city and touristy stations. All was good, until Dave realized at the end of the trip that his wallet had been pick-pocketed – we assume on the full train at the start. Not many Euros left, but of course all his cards have gone. Meant he had to ring Oz from the airport and cancel his bank cards – already one big transaction had gone through, but hopefully that will have been all. Such a pain, but at least it was at the end of the holiday not earlier on. Oh well, really our first ever mishap on quite a few OS trips (apart from Jan’s twisted ankles of course).