Backpacking From One Side of Greece to the Other

Greece Itin­er­ary: Corfu (11 days) -> Athens (5 days)-> Mete­ora (2 days)-> Thes­sa­loniki (2 days)

Athens: The Sun Always Shines on Greece

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The Acrop­o­lis at night

The appeal

Greece was the cra­dle of west­ern civ­i­liza­tion and Athens was the cen­ter of it all. Today it’s the cen­ter of an impor­tant con­ver­sa­tion about Europe’s future as a Union. Riots got the atten­tion of Amer­i­can media. Head­lines about a depressed Greece both intrigued and con­fused me. So, one of my goals when I got to Athens was to fig­ure out a lit­tle more about this all impor­tant his­toric city.

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Syn­tagma Square, Athens

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Greek sol­dier stand­ing guard in front of the president’s house

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Kali­mar­maro Sta­dium, Athens

Get in

Bus for 44.30 Euros + ferry for 10 Euros.  10 hours from Corfu. Corfu to Athens is a straight­for­ward route and you may want to buy a bus ticket one day in advance dur­ing high sea­son.  Here is the map for the Corfu Town bus sta­tion.

Where to stay

Helene and I stayed in Kypseli, a real Athens neigh­bor­hood with more of a local feel to it, 3–4 kilo­me­ters away from main tourist sites at Orhidrea’s AirBNB. Appar­ently the neigh­bor­hood was once a pretty posh neigh­bor­hood, but in the 50s the Junta, a mil­i­tary Gov­ern­ment, built five story con­crete apart­ment build­ings.  To say the build­ings are ugly would be an under­state­ment, but tak­ing the his­tory into con­sid­er­a­tion fas­ci­nated me.  I couldn’t stop look­ing at all the build­ings, the restau­rants, the shops, and the people.

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Kypseli, Athens

The peo­ple of the neigh­bor­hood were mostly African and East­ern Euro­pean, but not exclu­sively eth­nic. I had a con­ver­sa­tion with an older man at a bus stop who was once a famous Greek actor, or so he said, back in the 50s or 60s.  He con­ve­niently had a DVD of his pro­gram in his bag and the actor on the cover was, in fact, him. Athens felt cos­mopoli­tan, for a moment.  I later learned that some 300,000 young peo­ple have left Greece, a sober­ing real­ity vis­i­ble in the quite streets dur­ing rush hour.

A cool place to chill out

After hav­ing blown through Europe in two weeks, we wanted a place to chill out. So, admit­tedly we spent more time on the inter­net than sight­see­ing, but Athens offers enough to keep busy for a cou­ple days.

I must admit, though, that Athens, how­ever fas­ci­nat­ing, loses all of her appeal in 40 degree weather. Most peo­ple gen­er­ally only visit for a day or two, but the hot weather was not what we were going for so we chilled indoors for five days, site see­ing dur­ing strate­gic times of the day: think morn­ing and night. Hot might even be an under­state­ment; I lit­er­ally felt cold after enough time in the sun. I don’t quite under­stand how that works…a lit­tle heat stroke maybe?

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Restor­ing ruins dat­ing back thou­sands of years is not an easy job.

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Small Byzan­tine church in the mid­dle of the city

High­lights

A day or two is enough to uncover most of the main attrac­tions, but we stayed for five days, doing at least one or two smaller activ­i­ties a day. The high­light, by far, was the free walk­ing tour because it helped us ori­ent our­selves, see the city’s top attrac­tions, and meet some other travelers.

Acrop­o­lis Museum is a must do that we, for worse, didn’t do.  Inter­est­ing story about the museum: through­out his­tory, the Acrop­o­lis was looted and then looted again.  Today, many of the Acrop­o­lis’ trea­sures can be found in the British museum. When the Greeks requested to the British to return the trea­sures, the Museum’s Direc­tor agreed only if there was a proper place to put it. So, the Greeks built the Acrop­o­lis Museum.  Curi­ously, the British still have not returned the pieces.

The Acrop­o­lis is the most notable attrac­tion of Athens and, with­out a doubt, the most busy.  I’d rec­om­mend vis­it­ing at sun­set when the light­ing is per­fect for pho­tos and the herds of tourists are slightly smaller in numbers.

Kalli­mar­maro Sta­dium is a nice photo op. This is the loca­tion where the marathon ends each year, exactly 26 miles and 385 yards from the city of  Marathon.

Pho­tos of Athens:

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The Parthenon at night.

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One more evening shot of the city

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No big deal…just 2500 years old

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Athens city sprawl

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Helene and Tim look­ing unusu­ally tanned in this photo

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The Parthenon entrance/exit way at sunset

Next stop: Meteora…

Greece Itin­er­ary: Corfu (11 days) -> Athens (5 days)-> Mete­ora (2 days)-> Thes­sa­loniki (2 days)

5 thoughts on “Backpacking From One Side of Greece to the Other

  1. Pingback: The Time We Went to Cofu, Greece | Laughing Abroad

    1. Tim Fisher Post author

      Thanks Hugh. I think that was the point when I was most tanned of my life. The colour of the sun exag­ger­ates some, but even when I look at the photo I think, ‘man those guys are really tanned’.

      Reply

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