A wee bit later then the planned noon but Athanasios was at my hotel by twelve thirty. I brought him a tshirt made by a local artist here in Cayman, he seemed to like it. The first stop on the tour was passing by the changing of the Guard. Very serious ceremony with funny shoes.
From here he took me through Syntigma Square and down to see a piece of The Acharvian Gate of the Ancient Athens Wall. Only pieces of this wall remain after being torn down by the Spartans in 403BC.
From here he took me for my first Greek yogurt and honey, through a first class classic coffee shop, the local meat/fish/produce market as well as into some local sausage shops.
Cool thing about being with Athanasios is, he was showing me so much more then I would have seen or looked for and even had the history behind it. When we were in the market, he knew the guys working the stalls so they were ok with me taking photos. After walking around and looking at some really cool street art we checked out a couple local of bars. First thing the bartender or waiter does is serve you water, take your drink order and then bring you a snack. What service I tell ya. The bill is left on table for you as well. One bar we stopped at was set back off the street in a garden, we had an IPA here, a very local place. Then we stopped in the Booze Coopertive. A very funky place, there was about 13 fat chickens dressed in different outfits hanging from the ceiling. Upstairs there was an art display, showing of some photos that were taken of divers dancing underwater. Pretty cool place, Athanasious claims he helped to fund part of it, as the bar has been there since the 80’s and he long with his friends frequented it often. The memory of this place will forever be implanted in my head.
From the Coopertive we head into the Old Market, past Hadrians Library and I steal my first glimpse of the Acropolis. Absolutely breath taking, words cannot begin to describe what it felt like seeing this for the first time. We walked up to the National Observatory of Athens, which lies on the Hill of Nymphs. Within the grounds lie different art instillations by Adrian Villar Rojas, from Argentina. It was interesting and pretty cool the way he had everything set up. He planted 46,000 different plants from 26 different species around the property. He even arranged the curtains to be arranged a certain way inside the observatory, where some pretty amazing telescopes live. From here we meander back into town and find a local taverna. We share a shot of raki and some of the best bar appetizers i have ever tasted. Not 100% sure of everything I was eating but damn it was good. During this time it is decided I will spend the day exploring Athens myself and Athanasios and I will meet up later in the day.
My plan is to go the the Arcopolis early in the morning before 9 as advised on most websites. But not until I found a fresh juice to drink, lol. Wow, wow, wow, wow, wow…. What can I say, the Acropolis was amazing. I think it would have been nice to have a tour, but hey, so many people around. The marble was slippery too, I even witnessed someone fall. So much of it, softened and smoothed by years of people walking on it. It was kind of humbling to know the age of such a momument, to know how many people have walked on these grounds for so many centuries. It is mind boggling. I could wander here for days, exploring every piece of marble that has been found, walking every inch there is to see, feeling the spirit of those who have been here before me. I am guessing I did not see all there was to see as I wandered off to buy a book on the Acropolis, when I went to get back in line, I did not have the patience to stand there and figured I had seen the main attraction…
I wandered on…I came across the church of Metamorphosis it was pretty cool and I felt connected due to the fact I feel like I am going through a metamorphosis of my own.
I came across some cool street art, including an abandoned industrial building where this guy, I later meet, was sleeping.
I eventually made my way to the Acropolis Museum. Very fascinating to see all the items that have survived over the years. SO many antiquitites no pictures were allowed to be taken although I did take one. And then a few more….
After the museum I went into Plaka and I had lunch at this taverna where this sweet older gentleman works. He paid for my lunch that day. Not sure if it was because I didn’t eat it all or if he was being sweet. Either way, it made my afternoon. I am meeting Athanasios at 5, time to try and take a nap…
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