I woke up bright and early on Saturday with the purpose of taking an in early morning train from Litochoro to Athens. That said we finally arrived in Athens by 1:00 p.m. Not even one minute off the train and I get stopped for taking pictures at the train station by Private Security. Go figure — that is just my luck. The dude finally let me go but not before asking me to follow him. Man, I really dodged a bullet there.
When we arrived at the hostel, which was by far the nicest one I’ve stayed at in Europe — I was feeling great — but very tired and mostly just hungry. I felt like Winnie the Pooh all the time in the stories. We used the metro to get to the Acropolis quicker. Before going inside, though, we had lunch at a not-so-cheap restaurant. Prices weren’t too bad. What made it bad was the fact that our waiter overcharged us and brought us food we didn’t know we were being charged for. It made us all very angry when we got the bill; I’m going to spare you all from the total cost of lunch.
After lunch we strolled through the acropolis for some picturesque moments. We realized at this time that it was closed and we would have to come back on Monday. We moved swiftly through the acropolis and trekked up the Hill of the Muses, past the Prison of Socrates, and to the Philopappou monument.
The view from this spot was perfect. We could see everything for miles. A spectacular panoramic view of the city. I’m talking about crowded streets and tightly built condominiums and apartments. They were like blips on a map of green, yellow, orange, salmon, beige, and white hue. I could have stayed there for hours, but all good things must come to an end. I think I said at one point that I would even do homework up there. That’s how desperate I was to stay…
We walked down the hill, past some shops and crossed a bunch of streets until we got the Temple of Zeus. Everything closes early in Athens during low season so just as we missed the Acropolis earlier; the same fact was true about the temple of Zeus.
We walked through the national garden at night and saw the Zappeion building; a building meant for congress and exhibitions. Then, we trailed through Athens’ famous market in the Plaka district.
The market contains shops that sell souvenirs such as postcards, scale replicas of monuments, Greece apparel, and scale representations of the famous Greek Gods.
You could have found just about anything here. There are shops that sell purses, ceramics, hats, jewelry, and even more. Food shops line the streets in between the mess of tourist shops. Restaurant employees try their hardest to get you to come in to their restaurant by offering free beer and shots and rooftop views of the Acropolis.Overall, it was a great experience. This should be a place any tourist of the Athens area visits.
The metro ride and walk back to the hostel was hardly something I’d describe as pleasant. Internationalists will try to offer you all types of drugs and will probably hiss at you if you just shrug them off and walk away. I don’t really understand that. Prostitutes will call you no matter where you are on the streets. Hell, even pimps will try to set you up with a girl in certain areas. I highly advise against walking alone past 6:00 p.m. in Athens. And if you are, walk quickly, don’t look at your map to much, and keep your personal belongings close. Just normal precautions.
As much as this behavior worries me, though, I understand that due to a struggling economy, people will do anything to make money. Even young children are street performers here. Investor Wilbur Ross said in an interview with CNBC back in August,
“There’s almost a feeling of resignation both among the people on the street and the wealthy people that eventually Greece doesn’t stay in the EU.
Come back tomorrow for more thoughts on my boat cruise to the Islands of Poros, Hydra, and Aegina. Also, see my pictures here. Enjoy!