Flying in to Eleftherios Venizelos airport was really exciting, I had not flown in to that airport before, the last time I flew to Athens, I had flown into the now abandoned Ellinikon International Airport.
The Metro line 3 runs from the airport right in to central Athens, I was staying very near Karaiskaki Square in a district known as ‘Metaxourgeio’
This was absolutely perfect, there is a metro stop in Karaiskaki Square, Omonia is one stop away, Syntagma Square two stops and Monastiraki/Acropolis three stops.
I had hardly checked in and I was just DYING to get out and see things. I immediately headed out, never even bothered to take the Metro, I wanted to SEE everything. I walked to Omonia, the last time I had stood in this square was in November 1977 on holiday with my mother.
It looks a lot less lively than the last time I saw it, Omonia used to be the heard and soul of Athens, it was buzzing with life, street traders with carts full of cassettes, shops everywhere, it was incredible. There is still some life, but the area has definitely been allowed to slip a bit. Hopefully it will rekindle its former excitement in time.
From Omonia, I took a walk to Syntagma Square, the location of so many events and major political dramas, including the recent Austerity conditions imposed by the EU. The Presidential Palace is guarded by Evzones day and night, who periodically perform their unique display in front of the ‘tomb of the unknown soldier’
I took some photos and then made my way to the Acropolis, when I got there, I found a lot of life, lots of people heading down from the theatre, so I assumed there must have been something on. There are always a few entertainers, street traders and performers around, I noticed one lady who had a puppet that she was performing a dance with, it was very good and I managed to capture some on video.
I walked on towards the Odeon of Herodes Atticus, where the people were coming from, imagine, this place has been in use since 161AD and it is STILL in use today! It is not possible to convey the sentiment of being immersed in this with words, it has to be felt to be understood, it was almost emotional.
Just past the theatre, is Areopagus Hill (Mars Hill) which offers a stunning panoramic view of Athens. I gradually made my way to the top in the dark, to one side, the beautifully illuminated Acropolis, on another a view of Lycabettus and down below the city with the temple of Hephaestus nearby.
I managed to get to the very top of the hill and looked for the right vantage point to take some photos, as it happens just at the right spot, there was a Conifer in the line of sight of the Acropolis, I edged over to my left as I framed my view, then suddenly my left foot had nowhere stand……I was nearly off the edge of a sheer cliff!
Anywa, no harm done and I got some smashing shots. I really NEED to go back again………….and SOON!