I did not get to spend as much time as I wanted in Athens in order to visit the islands, but what I saw of the city, I’m so glad I went.
Of almost all the places I’ve visited, Athens was the most welcoming to tourists and foreigners. It might be because so many tourists flock to see the ancient ruins and the tourist economy is a huge thing that Greece depends on. Whatever the reason, it is incredibly welcoming. Everyone was at least polite if not overtly friendly.
The ruins, of course, were the reason I went. Athens has been on my bucket list since I was old enough to read the travel section on Sundays. I became obsessed with Greece during the seven years I learned Latin (yes, that’s Roman but it has its roots in Greece culture). I found old tapes at a bookstore to teach Greek for $5 (I didn’t get very far though). After taking a humanities class in undergrad, I was completely obsessed with Greece.
I won’t bore you with tons of pictures of the ruins. I’ve seen a million pictures and they all kind of look alike. There’s really nothing like being there in person and one of the most amazing things was being at Acropolis and looking down over Athens–you can see the ocean and the mountains. It was amazing.
Now, let’s talk about the city. First off, there is ALOT of graffiti. It’s EVERYWHERE. But I didn’t find it like the graffiti in Austin, where it’s pretty much art. The graffiti in Athens was just that–graffiti. Though I thought this one was funny:
I also thought just the keys to the AirBnB were pretty cool. There was one that was a strange shape that went in horizontally. It’s kind of cool to have these little experiences because you don’t read about stuff like that and can only know about it if you’re there (or if you just read my blog 😉 )
I did also visit the place where they keep all of the Olympic torches and that was actually pretty cool because the torch design and the host country’s posters were really interesting to see as they were influenced by both the culture of host country and the time they were made. For example, there’s this one:
and that was interesting… 🙂
There is also no lack of bars, lounges, and restaurants. I went to a few bars and they all had a really interesting interior. Much like Budapest, the bars all had their own unique character (unlike the pubs at London–they all look the same).
(cool sink in a bar)
(this bar was called “The Dude Bar” after the Big Lebowski and had Kill Bill sugar skulls on the walls in the bathroom)
I also ended up in a very commercial, shopping area of town that was packed. I guess this would be the Athens’ version of 5th Ave in NYC or Oxford Street in London:And there were the cutest little balloons with lights around them that gave a magical feel to the night:
The food was… well, amazing. And not just gyros, but even the sushi.
All in all, I found Athens a magical place. It was affordable, was very friendly, and had everything you would want. That’s probably why all these people wrote love notes to Athens and posted them in this bar: