I have to admit, I knew very little about Athens before my recent trip. Having studied Classical Civilisation, I could tell you something the city’s ancient past but not much else. I hadn’t expected the reams of street art, decorating the streets, particularly in the area of Psirri, where we were staying. But it wasn’t just there, as we explored the streets of Athens, we not only stumbled across an array of majestic archeological sites but some more recent artistic masterpieces as well.
All too soon, it was our last morning in Athens. We let ourselves have a bit of a lie in this morning and so stayed in bed until about 9.30pm, although typically I woke up earlier, as I only ever do when I have the chance to get some extra rest. Breakfast at City Circus runs till 10.30am so at 10am we made our way down there and stocked up on food. I basically had one of everything – toast and cheese, a boiled egg and some thick Greek yoghurt, fruit and honey.
When we were originally planning our visit to Athens, my friends and I had decided to take up our hostel, City Circus, on one of their day trips outside the city. In particular, we wanted to do the one to Delphi. The price wasn’t too bad and I desperately wanted to see as many ancient sites as possible. Then we realised that Delphi is a three hour drive from the city and we weren’t sure how much time we’d actually get in Delphi itself. It would be cheaper to do it ourselves and we’d also be able to work to our own timeframe but, the more we thought about it, the more we figured we should stay in Athens. We were only there for a few days after all and there was so much still to see that we would almost certainly run out of time to see everything we wanted to, if we spent a day elsewhere.
On our second day in Athens, I finally got to do what I had really come to Athens to do – visit the Acropolis. It was set to be another hot day but I just hadn’t packed for it, which was stupid really. I had looked up the weather before I left and saw that it was going to be between 20-25°C but I figured that was just nice and warm. That wasn’t hot hot, so jeans and a top would probably be the necessary attire, right? Er, wrong. Obviously that’s wrong. I live in England. Anything approaching 20°C is beach weather. Still, I pulled on my ankle boots and black jeans to go to the Acropolis.
Our alarm went on a few minutes after I finally seemed to have drifted off, after lying awake for basically the entire night. Unusually, or at least it is in my experience of hostels, we got a complimentary breakfast included in our room at City Circus. We came down to the common room to find a few people already sitting around the main table. There were a few options on offer: bread, cheese, jams, boiled eggs, fruit, honey and the thickest Greek yoghurt I have ever seen. There were also cubes of a traditional Greek dessert which I didn’t quite take to.
Athens has been a dream destination of mine for quite a while. I’ve had a love of ancient Greece since I was a kid and my Dad used to read Greek myths to me and my brothers before bed. I even ended up studying it at university, but I have never actually made it to Athens. I did try and make it destination for a family holiday but my Dad said he didn’t like the place. It was too noisy and busy for him. However, I am now happy to inform you that I finally made it.
Towards the end of last year, I wrote about the 5 places that I’d love to revisit. Although I love exploring new countries, I also love going back to places that I enjoyed the first time around. I mean, if you have a favourite flavour of Ben & Jerry’s (Half Baked, of course), you don’t only have it once and then continuously just try other flavours- you go back to what you love. Besides, just because you’ve been to one place in a country, doesn’t mean you’ve done it- the culture of one town can be wildly different from another.
29 July – 17 August 2009 Paxos is a small Greek Island which I went to on a family holiday in 2009. Since there was no airport, we had to fly to Corfu and then take a ferry in order to get there. We spent most of our time relaxing by the pool at a villa, emerging for food, shopping and beach trips which sometimes involved snorkeling- I actually spotted a little octopus at one point. It seemed to be a popular destination for sailors and people would bring their giant yachts over to visit the island. I remember sitting at a seaside restaurant watching as a fleet of dinghies brought people on the boats to shore. Driving on the island was terrifying, as people swung their big cars along the little roads. Thankfully, we made it back in one piece. Although we did find some nice places, I’m not sure that I would go back.
There are so many places in the world that I want to go to and I’m pretty sure that there’s not enough time for me to see them all. That said, sometimes I just want to go back to somewhere I’ve already been to. I mean, if it’s good- why wouldn’t you? Vasudha Aggarwal from Travel Defined and Monika Moreva from Two and a Half Bloggers (two fellow travel bloggers who I seriously recommend you check out if you haven’t already) nominated me for this post. Basically, this is an idea by “Booked.net – Top Destinations to Go There” which involves bloggers picking the top five places they would love to go back to. I also have to link back to the original Booked.net post and nominate five people to carry it on. Seems like a great idea to me so lets go:
I’m a big believer in the idea that food can give you an insight into a country’s culture. When on holiday with my family in Crete, we weren’t sure exactly how much culture we were getting. We were sure the locals had entertainments other than just shopping and sunbathing.