Greece Athens 2001.05.30 - 05.31


Travelers moving overland from Europe to Turkey advised us to "get out of Athens as quickly as possible." Maybe relative to other European and Turkish cities, Athens is less desirable. Coming from Jordan and Egypt, our perspective was different to the extreme. Relative to the Middle East, Athens is quiet, clean, and friendly. We couldn't have asked for more.

Again, it's all relative, but these are the things in Athens we were grateful for:

  1. Functioning vehicle and pedestrian traffic signals. No more risking our lives to cross multi-lane congested roads with maniac drivers.
  2. Drivers who use the brake pedal, keep their vehicle between the painted white lines, and drive with their headlights on at night.
  3. Luxurious sidewalk cafés. We could sit at a clean table on a clean street and order drinks containing ice without the worry of getting sick.
  4. Church bells chiming - pleasant religious reminders instead of a man chanting about the supremacy of Allah over blaringly penetrating megaphones 5 times a day between 04:00 and 23:00.
  5. Walking down the street without every taxi honking at us, slowing down to block our path, and yelling, "Yes, taxi! Yes, taxi!"
  6. Displayed prices and cash register receipts. No more trying to judge if we're getting ripped off.
  7. A tourist information office that provides information and answers questions.

These may all sound commonplace to many reading this page, but a few months without them brings a renewed appreciation.

In Athens, we splurged on sidewalk café drinks and celebrated our one-year-travel anniversary at the Japanese restaurant Kiku at 12, Dimokritou Street. Disappointingly, we continue to have stomach problems several days after our Kiku sushi meal. During the day we walked along the flowering side streets with outdoor restaurant seating and cute stone churches. On the morning of May 31, we visited the Athens Acropolis, the only real tourist attraction in the city. Admission is dr 2000 (dr 1000 with student card), and it's mobbed with tourists who, by the looks of them, would be too frightened to travel into the Middle East.

Near the Acropolis is an excellent Internet Café, PL@KA Internet World at 29, Pandroussou Street. They have giant 19" and 21" monitors, working flopy drives, FTP client software (FTP from DOS also works), and a fast 128 kb/s ISDN line. The cost is dr 500 for every 15 minutes of use. Hours: 11:00~23:00. Tel: 331-6056.

A fresco above the entry to Kapnikarea, a small stone church on a pedestrian road near our hotel in Athens.

Outdoor restaurants and cafes line flowered side streets leading up to the Acropolis.

The Parthenon stands in the center of the Acropolis. Much of the original structure is in the British Museum in London.

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