Wednesday, 14 September 2016

Travel Series #1

The first travel series post is going to take us to the land of gods and mythology,  the beautiful and breathtaking GreecešŸ˜.
I had the pleasure of visiting this country last July and I basically fell in love with it. Quaint streets , huge piazzas , orthodox churches and breathtaking views of the city and the islands.

Our hotel was in Metaxourgio, which is just two metro stops away from Sindagma which is the main hub of the city of Athens. The metro is the easiest way to go around the city or else if you want to explore the city to its full extent walk around its streets and enjoy exploring narrow streets especially near the Acropolis area and on the islands.

Metaxourgio is not the safest or cleanest of places in Athens but if you keep to the main streets you shouldn't encounter any problems. I remember while searching for our hotel we followed Google maps and it passed us through a side street which had bad odours and even a person taking drugs on the pavement, however although we did not feel entirely safe, no one bothered us and we had every sign on us that said "tourists " as we still had our luggages with us. Once we found our hotel it was just a few metres away from the metro station and the area surrounding our hotel was cleaner and friendly.

Metaxourgio Square  (metro entrance)
A common characteristic of Athens found both in Metaxourgio and other places around is that in one street one side is full of high class hotels and kept clean while on the same street but on the other side you'll see abandoned blocks, graffiti and a pile of trash. This took quite a while to get used to as to me it didn't make sense that in front of a five star hotel there is a deserted building full of graffiti and trash.

On our first whole day we visited and explored the area of Monastiraki. This was Sunday so obviously we visited its famous Sunday flea market. Its a treasure to behold, if you're someone who enjoys antiques this is the place for you! Numerous old cameras, old shop signs and every other old item you could possibly imagine. Below are some items which captured my attention :

While you're exploring the streets of Monastiraki be sure to stop by their 'souvlaki' and 'gyros' food shops and eat from there. These are delicious and typically Greek pita bread with lamb, beef and/or chicken with tzatziki sauce and fries. God bless Greek cuisine.  

Walking distance from the heart of Monastiraki one can find Hadrian's Library , the Ancient Agora and the Roman Agora which are all places to visit. Be careful as they have an offer to enter most historical sites at a block ticket price - there are most of the sites which only contain some columns and sedaments of the original site so they are not worth paying to enter  (they can also be seen from the outside perimeter) .

The Ancient Agora 
Be careful to watch out for the turtles near the Ancient Agora! 

Another must is Lychabettus Hill. To reach this hill its easier to hire a cab as it is quite difficult to get to by public transport. You can stop near the cable cars and go up with those or else the cab will get you to the highest point it can and then you'll continue to walk it to the top. I recommend the latter as in this way you'll get to see more of this hill and enjoy the breathtaking views while going up. Plus it's not that hard to actually climb it up. Once you arrive at the top most of the hill you'll find a small white washed chapel , a bell tower in front of it and a 360° view of Athens. The best time to visit is just before sunset so that you'll get to experience the view both in daylight and after watching the sunset you'll see the whole city lit up. Take a few quite minutes alone to take the whole experience in and enjoy the quiteness of being away from the buzz of the city. 

The first Greek post is going to end here. Hope you enjoyed it and wish to visit this beautiful country. Stay tuned for the second travel series on Greece as I still have lots to tell you about! 
With love, 

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