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Athens

Travelogue Entry
City: Athens, Greece
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We left for the port of Rafina from Mykonos on the slower 5 hour ferry a few days ago. The ride was choppy, but it wasn’t anything our iron stomachs couldn’t handle after getting pushed to the limits over the previous few days. Once in the port, we boarded the express bus to Athens Center. The bus took about 1 hour with traffic, but it was a pleasant ride as we chatted with our new Greek friends Nikos and Apostolos. Thankfully, we were treated to our first taste of Athenian hospitality as Nikos and Apostolos went well out of their way to show us to our hotel, Filoxenia – thanks again guys! The €50/night hotel (split between 3) is as bare bones as as they come, but compared to 6 days of camping it is pure luxury. Our first night we went out, ordered gyros, went back to our hotel and slept well for the first time in almost a week.

Day two in Athens was great and we are starting to fall in love with this dirty old city. The architecture is nothing to write home about, but the people are friendly, the ruins are incredible, and the prices are relatively cheap.

We first took the metro to the more central areas of Athens from our hotel in Omonia. The metro is cheap and easy with only a few lines and €3 for a 24 hour unlimited ticket. We got off at Monastiraki and and explored Plaka where there is a healthy mix of tourists and locals alike lining the sidewalk cafe’s with the ever present acropolis looming above — we could almost imagine the Gods sitting up there watching us as we weaved in and out of the crowds. After exploring the square, we made our way to ancient Agora and paid €12 for a combination Agora/Acropolis ticket. Wandering around the archaeological site that sits directly below and around the Acropolis was stunning. The temples, pillars, and slabs of marble outline the ancient forum and buildings that were the center of public life in Ancient Athens. We will head to the Acropolis later today.

Last night we explored some of the bars in the student district, Exarhia, but found the scene a bit dead as it was a Monday in the middle of August. The two bars we spent our time in were Dr. Feelgood Rock Bar and Ostria Bar. The rock bar was laid back (at least on this Monday night) and pumped out 90’s alternative. Beers were €4 each. Ostoria was a bit more upscale, but not stuffy. Beers here were €5 each.

This morning was spent at one of the most important museums in Europe, the National Archeological Museum just a stone’s throw from our hotel. The vast collection of Ancient Greek, Roman, and Egyptian artifacts is staggering. Some of the earliest pieces (small carvings from the 17th century B.C.) are in jaw droppingly pristine condition and the large marble statues of he Greek gods took our breath away.

Tonight we will head to the Acropolis and get to bed early to catch our early flight to Milan enroute to Venice but Athens, its grit, and its people will surely be missed.