Wandering around a city is one of our travel pleasures. With no set agenda we start exploring.
We loved strolling around the narrow labyrinth streets in the Plaka area. This, of course, was repeated throughout our time there and this part of our story about Athens is not focused on the massive amounts of archaeological sites, it’s on the streets and the quirky, what captured our imaginations and the desire that drove us to see what was around each and every corner.
Tables and chairs were scattered outside traditional kafeneio and other food establishments which were occupied by tourists and locals who all seemed to be enjoying their meals. With most having at least one local grasping their worry beads, which I thought at first were rosary beads.
Athens was one city we did not find that easy to explore once we moved out of the Plaka area. The only city we have visited where we had changed our opinions regarding it, on a daily basis. To be honest, it was more me than the Squire who changed their mind.
Yes, it did seem to have more graffiti and street art [Who decides what Art is?] than we had seen in other European cities we have explored. Though what was lacking was the litter on the streets, it was, in fact, a spotless city if compared to other well-established cities such as Rome or Paris.
It was a massive space of streets that went in all directions with a language that was hard to understand making finding landmarks even harder to sort out. I became frustrated.
With the Squire out of action for about 3 days due to his back, it was just me to capture moments around the city and MapsMe to direct me in the right direction. The capturing of photos was fun which I was looking forward to sharing with the Squire. What didn’t go so well was my relationship with Mapsme, we did have some one-sided conversations I can tell you, with most not being of the pleasant variety. How many times can someone get lost in Athens? Apparently quite a few times if I am anything to go by!! Enthusiasm and getting engrossed with what was around just one more corner had me walking many kilometres from our apartment. So, I had a few options, turn off Mapsme, flag down a taxi, or use the public transport, I opted for the last option, and that was to ask a couple of young women where the heck I was and how do I get back to the Plaka area. They smiled and said follow us. And I did. Four blocks later I recognised a landmark just a corner or two from where we were staying.
I gave my unofficial personal guides a big smile, thanked them, and we went our separate ways. By this time I was really looking forward to a cold drink, feet up and chat with the Squire, not necessarily in that order!
While most of us
visitors “tourists”, are marvelling at all the historical sights many local Athenians are becoming battle weary and to be honest, Greece is in for another fight if their financial state doesn’t change anytime soon.
As we were heading back to our apartment, there was a noticeable police presence, and streets were cordoned off, yes we could’ve come to an automatic conclusion that there was another violent clash. No, there wasn’t, it just happened to be more talks between France and Greece, hence the full-on police force. Then further down the street were armed guards with riot gear, walking alongside protestors. Yes, it would seem the Greeks are still battling on as they have done for many thousands of years, just for different reasons.
Wouldn’t it be grand if everyone was “nice”, it is a very undescriptive word though it is one which most of us understand the meaning as either courteous, kind, pleasant, or even ducky [a new one for me]!
Below photo was taken outside the entrance to our apartment [AirBnB] which was situated on the first floor. This was in the Plaka area where we chose to rent an apartment, it was a great location and one we recommend to stay in.
With our last impression being that we did indeed enjoy our time here after we got the hang of the layout and to actually just go with the flow. How could we not when we have clutched in our hand a mouth-watering ice cream, as we wander around the streets!
The whitewashed homes of the Anafiotika neighbourhood do give the small enclave a Greek-island vibe.