Athens

I got to Athens and jumped right in, maybe 5 minutes at the hotel. I was only planning on staying for a little less than 48 hours so I really needed to pack it in. I walked down the street and immediately met a man who was an American who wanted me to follow him to his car, after saying no I met another man very quickly who wanted the same. I became discouraged so I immediately booked the hop on hop off tour bus. Good way to see the city and maybe get away from the douchers surrounding the Parthenon. The bus wasn’t great, but it did help…some good info and many drop off points to help me out. I decided to walk through “Plaka” that night and was relatively entertained. I found some cool bars and restaurants and really enjoyed Ermou street (their pedestrian street action). Definitely don’t get bothered as much here as you do around the sites…but you still get bothered, and again, it seems like everyone wants to steal from you.

Food is almost always good (meat and bread, meat and bread, meat and bread). Honestly the Greeks have names for like 20 different dishes and they’re all the same! The sites are cool. I have always liked Greek and Roman history. I think that stuff is hard to beat. Athens isn’t the greatest historical spot however as most of the time you are left to figure out what you are looking at on your own. They will have one “plaque” for 5 monuments. The Temple of Zeus area was remarkably bare. The Acropolis was the best described ancient site, and man that place is interesting…but a hike.

Overall, Athens kind of reminds me of Rio (without the beaches and hot women). It’s a city that was developed in the modern age sometime around or before 1970, and then people stopped building. I like places were you can get modern and old. Where the blend is interesting…Buenos Aires, NYC, Bangkok, etc. Honestly, going to the beach area on my last day was kind of upsetting. It seemed really cool with tons of bars and restaurants and beach side action. I wasn’t there in exactly perfect summer weather, but I still think I should of reversed my logic…stay at the beach and visit the sites for the day, rather than the other way around.

I should mention, and even though there was a major (and probably anti-American) protest going on next door, I went to the coolest outdoor “farmers” markets I have ever seen…and I’ve seen a bunch. This was an homage to macabre. I mean they had animal parts as far as the eye could see, and every stall worker is yelling shit at the top of his lungs (prices most likely but “stupid American” was also plausible). They would have entire stalls just dedicated to the skin of animals. It was amazing. I wished I was able to barbeque right there (though I did have a nice meat market lunch where they sawed off some shit and threw it in a stew for me…meh). They also had veggies and nuts and shit, and a fish area that will knock your socks off. Very impressed.

Notes to self:

-The walking street next to the Acropolis isn’t half bad with some interesting outdoor bars and restaurants.


Hotels

Herodion (Oct. 2013)