A new destination for myself, I’ve visited a couple of the Greek islands (Santorini and Zakinthos) a few years back, but I’d never actually been the the main land itself. We were embarking on a six day trip to both Athens and New York and I was happy to be escaping the heat of the desert. We left Dubai at 10:50am and it was a nice and easy five hours over to Athens International Airport with just the one service.
Landing just before 3pm, some of the crew arranged to meet a little later on to go out for some local cuisine and drinks. We took a few cabs into the centre and walked along the main high street before we called at a cocktail bar called A For Athens with a view of the Acropolis.
I had a couple of Aperol Spritz and we started to take in the view when suddenly the heavens opened and the biggest downpour I have ever seen happened, combined with huge booms of thunder and claps of lightning.
It lasted around thirty minutes before it cleared again, and we finally got to take in the gorgeous view of the acropolis stood proudly in the distance.
We were feeling hungry now and we decided to make a move and find somewhere we could eat some traditional Greek dishes. On the way up, the purser had me try on a Greek dress and him the helmet, we made quite the pair!
Finally deciding on a place to eat, we grabbed a table for nine and piled in ordering wine and local beer. Myself and Sophie couldn’t decide so shared between us Greek salad, pork souvlaki and calamari. But around the table, we all passed around different dishes so everyone could try a little bit of everything.
The food was amazing and our waiter Stefanos had us involved in all the chaos around us. We were actually sat in the middle of the street and tables were spread out across different steps, as people walked by there were also people dressed in costume to give that authentic Greek feel as Greek music played along with the traditional dancing.
Time to head back to the hotel and sleep before an early start the next morning.
I woke up at 7:45am the next day to go and visit the Acropolis with Sophie and Myriam. We walked up the acropolis through the windy streets in the morning sunshine and grabbed a coffee.
It was €20 to go up and visit the Acropolis and we went earlier to avoid the queues that start to form later on in the day. Despite going early it was still busy with tourists and we had to weave in and out of all the people, but the Acropolis looked so magnificent.
The Acropolis of Athens is an ancient citadel located on a rocky outcrop above the city of Athens and contains the remains of several ancient buildings of great architectural and historic significance, the most famous being the Parthenon. The word acropolis is from the Greek words ἄκρον (akron, “highest point, extremity”) and πόλις (polis, “city”). Although the term acropolis is generic and there are many other acropoleis in Greece, the significance of the Acropolis of Athens is such that it is commonly known as “The Acropolis” without qualification. During ancient times it was known also more properly as Cecropia, after the legendary serpent-man, Cecrops, the first Athenian king.
While there is evidence that the hill was inhabited as far back as the fourth millennium BC, it was Pericles (c. 495 – 429 BC) in the fifth century BC who coordinated the construction of the site’s most important present remains including the Parthenon, the Propylaia, the Erechtheion and the Temple of Athena Nike. The Parthenon and the other buildings were damaged seriously during the 1687 siege by the Venetians during the Morean War when gunpowder being stored in the Parthenon was hit by a cannonball and exploded.
With time pressing on, it was time to head back to the hotel before our wake up call to head to New York, not before stopping for some delicious warm pastries! Spinach and cheese for me and it was so good.
On our return sector to Athens, we landed and I changed quickly to go and meet my friend Megan. She’s travelling Europe for a short while as she’s just graduated college, and we arranged to meet up for a few cocktails, again by the Acropolis but this time at a bar called 360 Degrees.
We spent a good hour or so catching up as the last time we saw each other was back at her house in St Louis for Thanksgiving in 2014! It’s crazy how fast time has gone.
After this I took a taxi to meet the crew for dinner in a place by the sea. The captain chose the restaurant and the food looked amazing. We ordered lots of different dishes to try and we sat chatting, eating and drinking before we moved on to an event called Bouzoukia.
Bouzoukia is a big event in Greece where famous Greek singers play at big venues. They typically have a raised stage “pista” where singers, dancers and musicians perform, and a series of closely spaced long tables at right angles to the stage so that every guest can see the show. As there is little space between the tables, customers and waiters have trouble moving around.
Throwing plates at the performer’s feet was a practice popular until the 1970s when “plate smashing” was forbidden by law. Today it happens rarely, despite the belief of some foreigners that it is a widespread Greek custom.
Throwing flowers or other items that will not cause injury (e.g. napkins) has become more common. Flowers are sold separately by the club’s “wardrobe” in trays or baskets of ten or twenty pieces and are thrown en masse on artists, singers and dancers.
It was a great evening, and if I had known the artist it would have been a fabulous venue to watch them perform especially as we had a table so up close and personal with the act Nikos Vertis.
These events go on so late though that we didn’t get back to the hotel til gone 5am, which meant I slept the entire rest of the day before our wake up call to head back to Dubai.
I had such a different two days in Athens but I feel like I really didn’t stop. I ate great food, saw some sights and immersed myself in the local culture. I fell back in love again with Greece and it’s made me want to explore even more.
Stay posted on what I got up to in New York in between my two days in Athens.
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