Athens with Attitude

Trip Start Feb 01, 2005
Trip End Dec 31, 2020

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Where I stayed
Athens Easy Hostel
Read my review - 3/5 stars
What I did
Athens Walking Tours
Read my review - 3/5 stars

Flag of Greece  , Attica,
Monday, May 23, 2011

"You just have to see the changing of the guard in Athens" our friend Anna had said in Mykonos. “Why, what is special about it?” I asked. “You will see!” she said.

Athenians have Attiitude with a capital A and never is it more evident as in the changing of the guard. Just check out the pics! The guards dressed in an amazing uniform, strut, march, scrape and kick in a bizarre choreography and it happens every hour. We are told that these guards are a crack unit (with pompoms on their shoes?) - highly trained and not to be messed with. We can see what Anna was talking about - it has to be seen to be believed!

I have written before about the attitudes of Greek drivers, but in the capital it is even more so, and crossing the road is often a heart stopping moment. There seems to be a disregard for rubbish bin use in the capital and smokers drop their butts wherever, whenever. It is not unusual to see smokers congregating under "no smoking" signs. Attitude. Scooters and motorbikes ride up over footpaths when they want and go through pedestrian walkways and stop signs. On leaving the city our bus very nearly hit a speeding motor bike, causing it to crash, spilling the two riders onto the street. Luckily not injured!!.  
We took a five hour walking tour of Athens, booked through our hostel which took us to see the breathtaking archaeological treasures of Ancient Agora, Roman Agora, Keramikos, Temple of Olympian Zeus, the Theatre of Dionysos and ending at the stunning Acropolis. The Acropolis is shrouded in scaffolding, but this is the norm. The on-going restoration work moves at less than snail's pace and our guide said it will never actually be finished for a very long time. The Acropolis was crowded with people unfortunately. I think visiting in the morning first thing would be the best time. 

Our guide took us to each site, gave us an explanation, then left us to view the site for a given period of time - it worked well. An American, married to a Greek girl, our guide has lived in Greece for 10 years. As well as enjoying the tour we enjoyed talking with him and asking questions about  day to day living in Greece. Greece is very much in the news at the moment with their financial crisis, the government imposing austerity measures to combat this, and the people being very unhappy. There were riots (with deaths) the first week we arrived in Greece.   

Our time in Greece is nearly over - we begin an Eastern Europe tour next but it allows for two more days in Greece, on the island of Corfu, at the beginning of the tour.    

Footnote: Acropolis, Athens is UNESCO World Heritage listed and an official Finalist in the New Seven Wonders Of the World.
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