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hially Athens - A travel report by Alice
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Athens,  Greece - flag Greece -  Attik√≠
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hially's travel reports

Athens is worth a peek!

  15 votes

Athens travelogue picture
I'd heard all sorts of warnings from friends about the pollution, traffic and overall crowd in Athens but it didn't stop me from spending a couple days there to take in a bit of the Athenian experience. It is a big urban sprawl and not a very attractive one when you're in the middle of a busy sidewalk. However, there is beauty to be found in Athens away from the day-to-day work life and shopping districts. The tourist area around Plaka is worth a peek for perhaps an evening, just to get a view of the grand Acropolis illuminated, up high on craggy rocks. Make no mistake, Athens, like any big city is full of life and with that comes litter, noise and pollution. But, with the right attitude, and careful choices, you can throughly enjoy a stop in this historic capital city.

Favourite spots:
Athens travelogue picture
PLAKA district! I loved walking around the streets in this area just for the feel of it. As you get closer to the Acropolis, you will find quieter lanes and prettier architecture. The ACROPOLIS! Need I say more? It is not only a monumental piece of history, it is a majestic looking architectural wonder that continues to withstand the ravages of time. On a sunny day, go early and enjoy a few hours exploring the grounds surrounding the Acropolis. The views of Athens from up there may make you change your mind about the esthetic beauty of the capital city of Greece.

What's really great:
Athens travelogue picture
Greek food, greek dancing, greek music. For me, it was a treat to be immersed in it all. Yes, Greeks eat a more varied diet than calamari, greek salad, and moussaka but I just adored eating it all during my visit to Athens. Couldn't eat like that for the rest of my life but it was a special treat for me while I was there.

Athens travelogue picture
ACROPOLIS and environs

PLAKA area

ERMOU street for shopping


LYKAVITTOS HILL for the views of Athens.

Plaka Hotel is a comfortable hotel in the Plaka district and breakfast is included in the price. The hotel seems to attract a fair number of business travellers too. Very convenient for sightseeing as it's not far from the Acropolis. I also stayed in a cheaper hotel called Cecil Hotel on Athinas Street and found it to be quite acceptable. Cecil Hotel is half the price of the Plaka Hotel with private bathroom and basics provided. Clean too.

Athens travelogue picture
My favourite place to eat was Eden Vegetarian Restaurant in the Plaka area. The ambience was perfect for an afternoon lunch, pretty yellows and rusts and great general decor. The food was wonderful considering it was vegetarian. It was a nice break from the heavy use of olive oil and meats that are often featured in Greek cuisine. Two thumbs up!

Other recommendations:
Athens travelogue picture
I'd recommend anyone visiting Greece should plan a day or two to see Athens at the start or end of your visit to Greece. It's not a holiday kind of place but it is interesting in its own way. Oh, and hailing a taxi in Athens is not always as easy as you'd think. Happy travels!

Published on Sunday May 11th, 2003

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Wed, Jul 19 2006 - 01:58 AM rating by hugecityfun

Dear Alice, I assume that 99% of the tourists dnt know that the greek cuisine is 70-80% vegetarian, but the most of the restaurants dnt cook those dishes, bcs it's a trouble. Greek vegetable dishes are not simply steamed, but it takes much time to be cooked. Either in the oven or in a caserole. YOU WLD ADORE THE GREEK CUISINE IF U R A VEGETARIAN (i'm too). Try to make some greek friends, so u'll be able to taste such food in their houses, where the genuine gr cuisine exists. I only want to mention the HUUUUUGE variety of the homemade veg. pies - containing any vegetable or herb u cld imagine. U'll die after u'll taste them or stuffed chuccinis or peperoni or obergines or tomatoes with rice or those vegetables with tomato sause in the oven. AND MUCH MORE u'll unfortunately never find in ANY restaurant (except some in the country, in places which r not touristic). I wish u the best, Dimitris ("hugecityfun") from Larissa, central Greece.

Wed, Jan 21 2004 - 12:04 AM rating by jwmarkham

I totally loved Athens. I was able to stay for 3 weeks, so I saw everything. Due to jet lag, the first day, I woke up at 4:00 in the morning. I sat around in the dark hotel room, since my roommate was sleeping, and finally, around 6:00, I decided to go out and walk around. I didn't know any Greek, but I found my way to the Acropolis. I wandered around the hillside until the gates opened. The sun had just risen above the mountains, and sent straight, horizontal rays of golden light to the Acropolis. I had read so much about the Acropolis and ancient Greece, that I was shaking with excitement. At the entrance, I looked down at the piece of marble across the doorway, and saw how worn it was from centuries of pilgrimage to the Temple of Athena. Tears streamed down my face, as I walked in the golden sunlight to the ancient temple. Greece is saturated with History. I was often deeply moved by the ancient linage of the Greeks. Thanks for the reports.

Wed, May 14 2003 - 06:17 AM rating by admin

Hi Alice,
I have never been to Greece so far. Was to bussy to travel around on different continents. Your article makes me want to have a look on our "old" continent. Thank you for sharing your travel experiences with us.



PS: Hope the SARS situation is back under control in HK?! Take care of yourself.

Mon, May 12 2003 - 12:57 PM rating by cycleboy

I've been to Athens many, many years ago, but obviously nothing has changed: pollution, noise, traffic. But you are right: it's a fascinating city. Good article.
Happy travels

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