Posts tagged: Acropolis

Acropolis and Glyfada

By , 05/07/2014 23:50

Parthenon

One of the great things about being in the city with an unlimited travel pass is that I can get almost anywhere I want to relatively quickly. I’m going almost everywhere on the underground, which is very reliable and convenient.

First thing this morning, I went to the Acropolis – 10 minutes away on the underground. Free entry for EU students with a valid university ID card. (Hooray! Mine’s valid until the end of the month). I enjoyed the views over the city, and down towards the coast at Piraeus.

Returning to my hotel, I spent a bit of time using the Internet downstairs; the owner had his grandchildren here and asked me to show them how to access games on the computer: The perfect test for my Greek, as they weren’t yet of school age and didn’t speak English (the owner, by the way, speaks to me in English).

After my daily siesta (which I took earlier than usual today) I headed to Syntagma on the underground, from where I could jump on the tram. The tram is covered by my travel pass – so no need to pay for new tickets. There are two lines: one line goes to Σ.Ε.Φ. (the Peace & Friendship Stadium), and I took the one heading to Voula.

Not far before you get to Voula lies the Athenian suburb of Glyfada – home to quite a few Greek celebrities (including two of my favourite Greek singers). There’s the main beach which has it’s own tram station; but I stayed on a little bit longer and jumped off at Palio Dimarcheo (‘Old Town Hall’) station after seeing a nice quiet beach with a taverna on it.

GlyfadaThis beach is West facing and the sea calmer than on Tuesday; there was no wind here. I had a longer time at the beach today and swam more than once as well. It’s strange to think that both Glyfada and Voula have beaches packed with foreign tourists; and in between, less than 5 minutes walk from Glyfada’s main beach, lies a very quiet spot full of mainly Greeks!

For dinner, I got the tube to Acropolis Station and wandered round the pedestrianised streets there; heading towards Theseio Station, which is on the other Metro line to mine. The route took me right through the heart of Athens’ tourist districts (the sort of places we’d probably stay if we were here on a package holiday). As nice as it was to walk through in the evening, I wasn’t to stay and eat here. I wanted something more Greek.

That Greek experience I found just round the corner from Acropolis Station – but outside the pedestrianised bit. I’d walked past it when I first arrived earlier in the evening and made a mental note to return if I couldn’t find anything else. So I returned.

DinnerThis was a restaurant with a few tables on the pavement outside, and a small number inside. There was no menu: the food was on display, and I simply was able to say to the lady (the owner I assume) which dish I wanted. For €8,50 I had moschari me rizi (beef with rice) and a Fanta orange. It was a lovely little place – not hidden away, but much quieter and much more relaxed simply because the tourists stick to the pedestrianised street just over the road.

It’s my last day in Athens tomorrow. Heading to the flea market at Monastiraki in the morning, then to see the changing of the guard at Parliament (they get the army band out on a Sunday), then I plan to walk Mt. Lykavittos.

Bye for now.

The Acropolis of Athens

By , 05/07/2014 13:07

View

Above: I’m above the the theatre I was in last night…

Below: Looking down in to the theatre.

Theatre

Parthenon

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Above: The Parthenon.

Below: The view over the city of Athens.

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Central Athens: Syntagma Sq, National Gardens, Archaeological Museum

By , 02/07/2014 23:59

Parliament

My first full day in the city was spent exploring Central Athens. After breakfast in my hotel, I headed to the underground to get my 7 day all-Athens travel pass. For €14 I have unlimited travel on the metro, busses and trams in the city.

I headed straight for the heart of Athens: Syntagma Square, from where I could see the Greek Parliament. The building itself is closed to the public, but I was able to stand outside it and take some photos of the Presidential Guards (the Evzones/Εύζωνες) by the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

Next to Parliament lies the National Garden – originally the Royal Garden: Just like the UK Parliament, the Greek Parliament is in fact a Royal Residence. Parliament didn’t move in until as recently as the 1930s. There’s plenty of shade; plenty of space to sit. It’s like a maze in there: I had to stop and look at the map several times to find my way around it! There’s a central lake, there are turtles, there’s a playground for children, there’s a café where I sat and had a drink.

Before returning to my hotel, I walked down the pedestrianized road leading away from Syntagma, and it wasn’t long before I got my first glimpse of the Acropolis. I’ll be doing that on Friday, after my visit to the NERIT TV and Radio studios in Agia Paraskevi.

On arrival back in Metaxourgeio, a cheese pie was on the menu for lunch, before tuned to the and took a nice 3 hour long siesta.

Later in the afternoon, I returned to the underground – this time heading towards Victoria station and the National Archaeological Museum. I took my University of Gloucestershire ID card, allowing me free entry. Even abroad, I am getting my money’s worth from the university.

This district of Athens is quite different compared where I was earlier in the day. After changing trains at Omonia station, I noted that the train was packed (more so than the ones I was on earlier in the day). The social class of the people on the train was different: Gone was the mixture of tourists and business people. It’s easy to see why the Piraeus to Kifisia line is the one with the biggest pick-pocketing problems. I’m glad I’ve booked a taxi for my journey to Piraeus in a few weeks I think! (On that note: The money belt I wear under my shirt is rather comfortable. Thanks for asking).

My social class observations continued when I stumbled upon the Pedion tou Areos – Athens’ biggest public park. Once considered among the most dangerous areas of the city, it has recently had a refurbishment costing more than €10 million.

It is much better than it was, but it still attracts a – shall we say – slightly different social class than the National Gardens. That’s a shame, because the park itself isn’t bad. Even during the day, there are drug addicts, drug dealers and homeless people hiding amongst the trees off some of the other paths.

It will come as no surprise to those who know Athens that the areas surrounding Victoria and Omonia stations are on my list of areas to avoid completely after dark.

I returned to my hotel again, and got ready to go and find some dinner. There was a souvlaki takeaway ΠίταΠαν (Pita Pan) hidden behind McDonald’s in Syntagma Square – catching a glimpse of their menu this morning, the idea of pork souvlaki pita for €2,25 appealed to me.

So for the evening I went back to where my day started; I walked the same route, and then enjoyed takeaway souvlaki pita while sitting in Syntagma Square.

Syntagma Square was relatively quiet at 10am compared to how busy it was at 10pm!

I’m about to head to bed for the night now. Tomorrow, I’m going out of the city for a bit, taking the bus to Porto Rafti for some time at the beach.

Bye for now, Καληνύχτα.

FH.

First View of the Acropolis

By , 02/07/2014 12:00

Looking up at the Acropolis from the tourist district of Plaka.

Acropolis

Plaka Acropolis

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