Athens. What a sight to see, what a city alive.
After the ferry debacle and we finally got to Athens from Mykonos we made our way to Pagrati where we had booked an airbnb apartment. We were met by Kostas – the keenest host out there. It was late and we were sweaty, tired and hungry but he stayed and gave us a long run down on Athens – what to do and see. He even offered to take us on a tour of the area right then and there…we politely declined. He was awesome and super friendly!
The apartment means we have an oven at our disposal for the first time since March so we baked every meal for the stay and had roast veges almost every day. I was so excited about it once we eventually got Kostas out the door I baked a lasagna, which we ate at midnight.
We’ve really relaxed into summer holiday mode. Friday was such a lovely lazy day. Slept in, Jono cooked up a feast for breakfast then I wandered and read my book in a cafe, while Jono watched cricket. Maybe we should do this everyday?
It was a bit of a bucket list moment for me to see the amazing acropolis! I have wanted to come here for a very long time! The acropolis is the hill (150m above sea level) in the middle of Athens upon which sits the famous Parthenon, the Propylaia, the Erechtheion and the temple of Athena Nike. The Parthenon was built mid 400’s BC! Pretty cool.
We checked out Mars Hill which is a rocky area on the western side of the acropolis. After reading Acts 17 we climbed up and sat on the top of it imagining we were listening to Paul give his speech. Very cool.
On Friday night we went out for drinks to a cool bar down a little alley. It was tucked away and we would never have just stumbled upon it. Kostas had invited us to come see his friend’s band. We had a wicked time and the bands were awesome. Afterwards we were chatting to Kostas discussing philosophical ideas and solving Greece’s economic crises. Every non and then he would say “sorry I’ve had a few drinks I can’t remember what I was saying” …was funny until I realised he was driving us home!!
From our chats with Kostas we found out Greeks have to do mandatory army service! We had no idea. Males aged between 18 and 45 are required to serve 9 months in the armed services, they are un paid for this time and can only defer the conscription by max 6 years to go to Uni. Pretty crazy, because the economy is going so badly, they still have conscription as the government can’t afford to pay a whole army of professional soldiers. This takes young men away from families which they’d usually be helping to support. They are given accommodation and food however are only ‘paid’ 9 euros a month!! Not much to send home to mamma.
Our last night in Athens we walked up to Lycabettus Hill and watched an amazing sunset while having a delicious picnic dinner. The colours were awesome and watching the city lights begin to sparkle and the acropolis shine was wicked. The city is massive and it felt so alive, sitting up on the hill you could see the whole valley down to the water. There was a massive protest in front of the parliament against Turkish inequality and you could hear the music and the chanting so loudly it was as if you were there! Loved it!
After the picnic we wandered into the city centre to an outdoor cinema next to the acropolis! What a great last night in an awesome city!!