Posts tagged: National Archaeological Museum

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.

National Archaeological Museum

By , 02/07/2014 17:40

10 minutes walk from Victoria Station, just off 28 October St. lies the National Archaeological Museum – housed in what was until the mid 1930s the Greek Parliament.

National Archaeological Museum

Archaeological Museum

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