Saturday, October 11, 2014

Pit Stop in Athens

Time to start sharing some bits and pieces of our Greek trip! 

So since there aren't direct flight to Santorini, we arrived in Athens, the capital city of Greece, or a city I recognise by one event - the Olympic Games. We spent only about 1 1/2 days (almost one day only actually if you minus the time we slept after the long and tiring flight) in the city before heading for Santorini and this shall be an entry to sum up our trip in the city (I'm putting food and accommodation in another posts).

Since we arrived waaaaayyyy before our check-in time, we hung-out at a cafe about a block down the road.
Two Malaysians strangers enjoying the European cafe experience by the street. 
Athens welcomed us with a very nice weather - sunny with a little wind, just how I'd like it to be! And it was perfect to sit down outside a cafe enjoying your food and a cuppa while observing how the neighbourhood interact. 
View right in front of us.
Ham & Cheese Toast, glorious toast!!! 
For some reasons, I always love breads in Europe (and normally I hate breads). So throughout the whole trip I've enjoyed so much of breads and toasts and am really missing them! Somehow they are just super yummy I just couldn't resist them!!! :p

The Acropolis
The apartment we stayed is about 15-20 minutes walk to reach the main entrance of the majestic Acropolis. I'm sure you want to know more about the place so here you go.
Deardo all excited to get to the Acropolis! 
Cos it's an European door you can't find here? LOL!
Before it all get dirty!
Little did we know that is NOT ALL. More hiking are required and I must said I weren't prepared at all for that! To make things worse, it was a scorching hot day at about 34c with not much trees to shade ourselves! Got all sun burnt and slipped on the rocky roads too because I didn't wear a better walking shoe. And definitely too many tourists it kinda 'potong steam' a bit. And I'm sorry to say Asians are the ones who are freaking loud and noisy, yes I'm particularly talking about the Chinese and the Koreans... ==||| Why must they yell when the person they are talking to was just standing 1cm away from them? Why?
First up, the Theatre of Dionysus, which is still a functional theatre every summer where singers and musicians would perform sold-out concerts here. 
Waaaaay too many people!!! :S
Well, I was pretty exhausted that day hiking up the hill under the hot sun, but the truth is those pieces of rocks still looks pretty magical when they are right in front of you! And whenever I see old architecture, I always imagine how the people in the olden days manage to build them without any technology. The beautiful ruins of Parthenon especially makes me wonder how did those people move all these rocks up the hill when there weren't any helicopters or trailers?
It was very funny we got a tourist coming up to us to ask where did we get our monopod from! LOL!
No pictures are without people walking around because there were just too many people!!!
A beautiful view of the city of Athens from the top of the hill. No fancy high rises, just a humble landscape.
The Olympic Stadium
We then visited some other historical sites which as you know are also ruins of certain buildings, except for...
Olympic Stadium yo! 
Ta da...
The Olympic stadium where the first Greek Olympic Games and the first ever ‘international' Olympic Games were held! Due to hot weather/exhaustion/hunger, we didn't enter the stadium. 

Mount Lycabettus 
Our taxi driver took this awkward photo. LOL!
We had a quick stop too at Mount Lucabettus before lunch. The hill is the highest point in the city so there we went for another city view. 

While generally we both feel food in Greece, especially Athens are pretty reasonable, we got conned to eat some really expensive lunch (taxi driver lar, who else) and so we decided to take a Metro back to our apartment. It was a challenge finding out where to go, how to buy a tickets etc because the Metro station itself looks completely different and oh gosh, we don't read Greek! But it was worth a ride! Only 1.20 Euro! 
Only one English sentence on the ticket, spot it if you can! 
The station which was next to an Olympic 2004 stadium. 
Nope, not very hi-tech Metro, but that's how the Greeks roll babey!

Monastiraki Square
If you ever wonder where we get off and walk back to our apartment, it's Monastiraki, a place where we walked past every single day to get to food and also en route the the Acropolis. 
Stalls at the square brighten up the entire place.
I'm not kidding, that's how big and red their tomatoes are! And they are sweet~!!!
It's apparently a very touristy place but I love that place a lot! It is so happening, has so many things to eat and drink it's just such a colourful place to be! 
Monastiraki Square at night is so beautiful and happening! 
So yea our trip was about go out, eat, go back have an afternoon/evening nap and go out again. Hence I look like I just woke up cos I did just wake up! :p
Random people just dancing their way at the square!
Watch out for my later entry when I talk about food at Monastiraki! 

Some Random Street Shots
Since besides Greece, I've only been to Russia, I don't know if the streets in Athens looks the same as other European countries. Most part of it don't look like cities in Russia that's for sure. Some buildings are very well-managed, some are quite run-down. 
One thing for sure though, Graffiti is a huge huge culture there. Some Graffiti arts actually make the places look a bit scary I must admit. But throughout our stay and visit in the city of Athens, we didn't encounter any unfriendly people or pick-pockets or anything like that.

It's really funny cos people have warned us Greeks are very unfriendly people and the taxi driver from the airport has warned us about pick-pockets and drug addicts especially near where we were staying but turned out we find everything great in Athens! People there are quite friendly, F&B outlets have staff who are really professional... I mean here and there there were some rotten eggs but overall they are great people I must say! 

In fact I was a bit overwhelmed that I told Deardo we should have stayed longer in the city (if only Athens has more than ruins and churches to offer lar)! 
I wonder if the Friends logo is copy-righted? 
I mean, my point here is, don't listen to people who have never been to a place and get stress out about it, go there and experience it for yourself! Many times the city and its people will surprise you! :) 

Okay guys, stay tuned for more! *wink~*

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