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Published: August 11th 2013
A fabulous, authentic, one to remember Greek meal.
The flight from Copenhagen was painless. Three hours with a few bumps along the way and a landing in strong wind . Copenhagen airport was easy to get around in, spacious and reasonably user friendly.
Flying in over Athens our impressions were "brown, dusty, terracotta, dry, flattish".
There's not much to say about this place that hasn't been said before much better. But I can start with our taxi driver from the airport. He was of the "Bro School" of driving - two fingers on the wheel, elbow on the window sill, 140 k's an hour, radio blaring and unfortunately, a big fat gut. As I was in the front seat I was mildly worried as we in'ed and out'ed our way through the traffic into the stew of the city's roading system and chaotic traffic. Motorbikes and motor scooters lining up at all traffic lights for the Moto GP start, horns, taxis vying for space with their usual braggadocio. We were thankful to emerge intact and walk into the air conditioned comfort of the Economy Hotel. This hotel was recommended to me by an ex boss of mine in the Police who comes over here often as he
Gavin and his old mate
Amazing! Personal service and free dishes to boot all because of matching jerseys.
is of Greek ancestry and still has interests here. It was exactly as he described it - clean, welcoming, helpful staff, not flash but adequate and close enough to the big attractions to walk if we wanted to.
Into our rooms then out to get something to eat. The concierge ( a very helpful man) had suggested we go to a local Taverna where the locals eat. What a recommendation that was! Maria served us up authentic Greek food at a dirt cheap price. It was excellent. Highly recommended if you can find it - Kalimartia Taverna.
And then on to the hop on etc for the quick and dirty look at the sights. The temperature, the locals assured us, was not hot, only 33 degrees. We were feeling it. Athens is such a mixture. It's dirty, noisy, it's a mixture of contrasts in a pot pouree of difference, dirt, litter, traffic, heat, crowds, hustle and towering above and below, is the overwhelming legacy of Ancient Greece up on the hillside and in the ongoing excavations below the streets. Pretty hard for modern day Greeks to live up to all that.
Across the road from our hotel
Trying to capture night scenes hand held is not easy.
was the "Fresh" Hotel. It was a designer looking place so we went in and on the roof was a swimming pool which Lyn and Heather then decided to gate crash. Gavin and I are much too law abiding for that so we drank beer and wine instead.
Evening came and we out to see the Athens night life - tame night life for old people - which consisted of finding somewhere to eat and drink and walk the bright lights streets. We walked down to the Monasteriki area, well known for eateries and buzz.
GAVIN MEETS A BRO!
As we walked along this street of wall-to-wall tavernas all vying for our Euros a bloke stepped out and greeted Gavin like an old mate. They were wearing the same tops. This elderly fella was delighted and started a conversation and soon was like a long lost friend. He'd been to New Zealand many years ago. Short story; he owned the place and we ate there and he plied us with extra free dishes and conversation. We emerged like little barrels as we felt we had to eat everything.
So on we walked trying to digest it
Night scene 2
Ditto but so many impressive sights lit up.
all. The streets were jam packed. I'd been told that Athens comes alive at 10.00pm and so it was. The buildings were lit up and shops open. The Acropolis was floodlit, archaeological excavations under Perspex were lit up. We all felt we were in a special place and the heat, dirt, crowds, all made it memorable.
Athens day 2 tomorrow.
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