It was an early start, but not the earliest which made a nice change and I was heading away on a six day multisector trip to Athens and New Jersey. I haven’t done a multisector since October 2018 when I ventured to Singapore and Melbourne, however I was happy to be getting away from the summer heat of Dubai and experiencing summer in Europe which is the absolute best. We departed Dubai at 10:50am and it was a pleasant four and a half hours over to Athens International Airport in Greece.
Landing late afternoon on a Friday we made our way over to the hotel and checked in. A few of us had arranged to meet downstairs an hour later and go for some rooftop drinks (as rooftop bars in Athens with a view of the Acropolis are not limited) and to head out for some greek food.
We left the hotel and took a taxi over to a bar called Couleur Locale which had been recommended by many Greek crew on our layover tips page. Having tried two different rooftops last time I was there (A For Athens and 360) I wanted to try something loved more by locals than tourists and I can see why! I was told it was quite difficult to find, which it was, however it had us stumbling through quaint side streets and asking for directions not once, not twice, but three times despite having TWO of using Google Maps.
As we stepped into the cramped lift, it took us slowly up to the rooftop where we were greeted by the glorious sunshine and that ever impressive view of the Acropolis. The four of us piled round a table and ordered a round of Aperol Spritz.
What was so lovely is that I was rostered on this flight with my friend Kelly from South Africa, a girl who I joined with almost four years ago and we also used to live in the same crew accommodation! It had been a while since I had seen her and was so lovely to be able to spend the next six days catching up with each other, so cheers to that!
We spent a good few hours here chatting away, getting to know one and other and watching the sunset over the Acropolis. A magical afternoon, but before long we were so ready to venture for something to eat.
We walked back through the streets of Athens and towards Thrasyvoulou Street, which is the most gorgeous little street on an evening. With winding steps leading up to the Accropolis, restaurants filled to the brim with people on either side, spilling out with tables into the narrow street, twinkling lights adorning every available tree and/or wall and an abundance of greek food on offer.
We found a restaurant with space for the four of us and we decided on a greek feast. We ordered saganaki, greek salad, mousaka, grilled calamari, gyros and a greek mixed grill washed down with some sangria. We definitely over ordered but the food was absolutely unbelievable.
After paying the bill we called for a quick night cap before walking back through the streets of Athens and going back to the hotel.
I wanted to explore the next morning but I woke up exhausted and didn’t want to drain myself before the long flight over to New Jersey plus everything I had going on there too. So I had a nice long sleep and popped to a cafe for a quick breakfast before our wake up call. When in Greece I always have a honey and feta pastry, a freshly squeezed orange juice and a cappuccino freddo. Delicious.
We then flew across to New Jersey, which I will write about in a different post, but around two days later, we flew back to Athens landing around 4pm local time.
Despite having been awake a very long time with only a two hour nap before the flight back in New Jersey and a two hour nap in the CRC, we powered through and ten of us managed to meet for drinks as we were celebrating. It was Kelly’s birthday come midnight!
Opting for another new rooftop, we went to a place called City Zen and we piled around a table ordering a couple of pizzas to snack on and espresso martinis (the jet lag was real) whilst watching the sun go down next to the Acropolis once more.
It was a gorgeous yet super warm evening, the temperature was around 35 degrees, and we sat chatting away into the evening in this gorgeous setting.
It wasn’t long before we started to feel really hungry now, so we paid our bill and walked through the streets of Athens to find a place called Street Souvlaki as it was what everyone wanted to eat. When in Greece you must eat souvlaki!
I opted for a pork souvlaki which was filled with pork (obviously), chips, tzatziki, tomatoes and lettuce with a side portion of grilled halloumi. Absolutely heavenly. A great place to eat in Athens if you’re just wanting something quick that you can even just grab and go with.
We closed up the evening by calling for sweet crepes. I had a white chocolate and crushed Oreo which was absolutely HEAVENLY, wow I cannot stop thinking about this crepe. Before we headed to bed exhausted after a long day at work, time differences, missing a nights sleep and also powering through when we got to Athens. I think it took approximately 0.001 seconds for me to fall asleep from my head touching the pillow.
I woke up the next morning to go and have a birthday brunch with Kelly and another one of the crew Andrew. We were going to venture right into the heart of the city but we were all feeling a little lethargic in desperate need of a morning coffee so we decided to stay local to the hotel instead. We found a nearby place that looked like it had a good enough menu from Google Maps and walked across and grabbed a table. I opted for another cappuccino freddo and orange juice to start (a must when in Greece remember) and scoured the menu before being intrigued by ‘greek scrambled eggs’.
I was surprised to see the character Storm printed on the top of my coffee, and Andrew’s arrived with Wolverine. Very very random, but a different touch all the same! And it wasn’t long after before our food arrived. Greek scrambled eggs are basically scrambled eggs with feta cheese and sun dried tomatoes thrown in. Served with brown bread and a side salad it was a delicious brunch, and plates were left empty all round.
We called at the supermarket on the way back to the hotel, we couldn’t be going back to Dubai without stocking up on greek yoghurt and honey now could we?! And treated ourselves to an ice lolly to cool down with in the baking heat.
It wasn’t long before it was time to fly back to Dubai, and even though Kelly had to work on her birthday, we made sure we had a team celebration for her once we landed! You can’t not have birthday cake on your birthday!
I didn’t do much sightseeing in Athens this time, but more so enjoyed what Athens has to offer. It’s a beautiful city filled with history, and each street showcasing its own charm. People are super friendly and there’s always a bar with a view to watch the sunset, and an abundance of restaurants with a wide variety of the delicious greek dishes to try. It really is a city that everyone should be acquainted with at least once in their life. I don’t think I’ll ever be sad to see Athens pop up on my roster ever, and this trip with New Jersey thrown into the middle of it makes it a favourite of mine!
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