On Thursday, I decided to take the hop-on hop-off bus around Athens and Piraeus. For 18 Euro, I got a 2 day tour around the city with an audio guide. It seemed a little counter-productive since I already know the city so well, but I thought it might be fun. Thursday was a gorgeous warm and sunny day. I climbed up the stairs to the upper deck, sat down and plugged in my head phones. The sun was shining down on my head, there was a wonderful breeze going through my hair as we drove around, and I felt such happiness overtake me. It was just so enjoyable. There wasn’t a soul up there with me, and that made it even better.
Syntagma Square – Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and Parliament Buildings
A big group of elementary school kids. As they saw me up here they all started waving and jumping up and down for attention. I couldn’t resist taking a photo.
Omonia Square – known to be an unsafe area after dark. I’ve come across drug addicts shooting up here, and there are a lot of homeless people. It doesn’t seem that dangerous during the day, though there are a lot of people in dire straits. We’ve only been on the edges of it at night.
Omonia – a little grittier perhaps but during the day, it’s just part of the city, with a lot of stores open for business.
Omonia – These men were trying to fix me up on a lunch date with the Asian man hiding behind the tree.
Omonia still – A little bit of colour in a traffic jam.
The National Theater – built during 1895 and 1901 by the German architect, Ernst Ziller, who designed it imitating the National Theater of Vienna and the Hadrian’s Library in Athens.
Thissio – A few people joined me up top.
Monastiraki – Antique/junk shops just down the road from Monastiraki Square .
Psirri – A bit of a fixxer upper but it has real potential, I think.
Monastiraki Square – the center of the universe.
The Central Market – A huge market, they have huge halls full of meat, fish, vegetables, and spices. I made the mistake of walking through the meat hall the first time I came here. The smell of raw meat nauseated me, and to top it all off, a man spraying out the floor of his stall sent a cascade of raw flesh, blood, and fat towards me, to soak my shoes. I felt like throwing up. I won’t ever go back in there again.
Kotzia Square – The National Bank on the far side. City Hall is behind me. You can’t see it here.
Driving back towards Syntagma.
I think this is the Agriculture Ministry where there will be a demonstration that results in violence on Friday morning.
The Acropolis – I never get tired of seeing it looming up above us. You can see it from all around the city.
Leaving the Acropolis area – on our way to Piraeus, the cruise ship and ferry port.
Piraeus– Driving through the city area of Piraeus.
Piraeus cruise ship port – This area is packed with people during cruise ship season (March to November) but completely empty this time of year. I prefer it this way.
Pasalimani – The other side of town. Marinas, restaurants and shops. It’s gorgeous over here.
Kastela – We got caught on this curve with both buses not being able to get around eachother. So we spent the next 5 minutes backing up and moving around until we could clear eachother. Greek bus drivers are amazing with how they get through very tiny spaces.
Kastela – A ridiculously sized private yacht.
Mikrolimano – Marina where I decide to have lunch. As with other places, I get hounded by men who stand outside by their menus.
“Where are you from?”
“Ohhhh! I am Canadian!” or “My wife is Canadian!” or “I was in Canada! Very beautiful.”
This is always followed by “Montreal? Toronto? Vancouver?” Those are the 3 cities every huckster in the world learns for Canada.
The game tires me, as does the constant barrage of chatter as I look at the menu. I want to say “Let me read the menu please!” but they think it’s better to tell me what’s on the menu. I nod, smile, and make an excuse. I walk further down the road to choose a place that doesn’t overwhelm me.
Mikrolimano – Looking towards the east side of Athens, over towards our hotel, and the waterfront areas we walked last Sunday.
Mikrolimano – I had a wonderful lunch here, along the water. The proprietor won me over with a glass of white wine on the house. I’m not a white wine drinker, but the traditional restaurants house reds are far too light for me. I’ve learned to choose white or beer.
Mikrolimano – As I was finishing my lunch, I received a text from one of my clients. There was an emergency and I had to get back to the hotel asap. I finished up, and ran up the hill to catch my bus, only to find, that bus wasn’t available that day. I waited an extra 30 minutes for the next one.
Harold waving at me from work as we zoomed by along the waterfront. Everybody on the bus was looking up to see who I was waving at. If I were more extroverted I would have got them all waving with me.
Rosebud Vegan Restaurant – It’s difficult to stick with traditional for so long, especially since so many dishes are made with meat, which I won’t eat. It is such a treat to find a great vegan restaurant like Rosebud. On our last visit we came here for a special night where they were debuting their Ramen Burger.
Harold had a vegetable curry that he thoroughly enjoyed. I had a to-die-for dish of papperdelle pasta with porcini mushrooms, lemon and thyme. I love this place.
The Numismatic Museum – houses one of the greatest collections of coins, ancient and modern, in the world.
That vegetarian restaurant sounds great. I’ll have the veg curry, please!
The veg curry was good but not as good as we can get at local Indian at home. My mushroom pasta, on the other hand, was to die for.