Greeking Food tour
Greeking Food tour

Greece Postcard- Hello From Athens

acropolis athens view
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Yassas (Hello) with a Greece post card to everyone from the jam-packed city of Athens!. I have to admit an affinity for this beautiful city. It reminds me of Nigeria with the energy, the never ending hustle that is evident and the exotic music that blares from radios in public spaces. Athens looks and feels a lot “more” than when l visited last, which was almost twenty years ago if you recall from my flashback post. After this trip, we are sitting out the summer and beyond at home in Valencia. For now though, we are off and away.

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coffee drinking female athens greece
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One of the many, many coffee concoctions we have been having :-).

Greece Postcard:

We made the decision to get our travels out of the way before the real crazy days of summer holiday travels start after school lets out. In no way did we want to repeat our travel fail. We also wanted to take advantage of the fact that we had great sitters looking after our dogs. They are from New Orleans and sat for us for 3 months last year. They love Valencia and wanted to come back, so it was a win-win for us.

We picked Greece because Alitalia had a good deal and we had both been before (separately) and liked it. We had an 18 hour layover in Valencia after our Prague trip which gave us a chance to be with the dogs (the bigger beagle has now become spoiled by them and will only eat when hand fed. (Boy, is he going to be in for a rude surprise after they leave! ). There are obvious changes in Athens, thanks to the economic crisis and the recovery efforts. It’s a bid sad to see. Our Valencia to Greece trip wasn’t too long as there was no layover.

Greece postcard - street art athens musicians #graffiti #streetart #athens #greece #whattoseeathens #athensstreetart #pysriathens
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If only they could all look like this. That would be nice.

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We’ve been here for a week and the first thing you notice is the vast number of homeless people. Our flight arrived at 1AM and it was a nightmare finding our AirBnB lodging, thanks to the English and Greek names of the streets. I also think the cabbie enjoyed taking us for a “ride”.

We had to pick the keys up at a nightclub (which he found easily), the flat was 400 meters from the club, yet it took him 20 minutes to find it :-), and lord forbid he listen to us till l finally said to go back to the club and we would call another taxi. I would have walked it, but was afraid, there were a lot of people sleeping in doorways and l was truly afraid of getting mugged. The streets looked scary!

greek salad plate Athens on the Greece postcard
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They serve a slab of feta cheese, not crumbled like we’re used to :-).

The view from the flat (top image) made it all better. The Acropolis lay in front of us in all its glory, especially when it’s lit up at night and made Federico wish he had his right lens. Everything was even better in the morning when you realize that the streets are not as scary as you think. The homeless had moved on for the day, the shops and cafes were open for business. One thing that bothers me is the amount of graffiti that is everywhere.

I thought Spain was bad, but yikes..this takes the cake. For the most part, it’s not “street art”, it’s straight up crap graffiti, and it makes the streets mean looking. If you follow us on Facebook, you know l described it as straight out of “Death Wish”. That is something you need to prepare for if you visit Athens as it can be jarring if you’re not used to it.

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Even the fancy hotels look great inside, but outside?…well, that’s another story :-). Don’t worry though, it’s all for show, window dressing..like a toothless shark. The police presence is really, really  high, but l love how they just blend in, like part of the scenery. I’m amazed at how they’re able to pull it off. It reassures you rather than alarm you.  Since this is simply a postcard from lively Greece, I will touch upon that more in a future post.

For now, we have been eating lots of Greek food, including an amazing foodie tour that l will tell you about later, sleeping, walking, drinking all sorts of coffee and just enjoying the city. We are headed to Crete for a few days, then back to Athens to catch our flight back home. After that, we’re done for a while and will write about the past travels. Well, that’s the plan for now. Who knows what might pop up?

First impressions of the vibrant city of Athens, Greece. #Athens #Greece #acropolis #parthenon #greeceitinerary #whattodoinathens #greeksalad #greekcoffee
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What are your summer travel plans? Are you braving the crowds or will you sit it out?

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28 thoughts on “Greece Postcard- Hello From Athens”

    • Nice! I’m sure you’ll have a wonderful time, even with the heat. Safe travels.

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  1. That view is indeed amazing! I had no idea that there were so many homeless people on the streets… I wonder if it’s actually Greek people or maybe refugees, since Greece had its problems with them a few years ago. Either way, it’s sad to know that people have to sleep on the street… Enjoy Crete and the rest of your vacation! Valencia in the summer is definitely a great place to be and maybe this year you’ll catch more beach time there as well 🙂

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    • We definitely lucked out with the view. I was not super happy with the tiny bathroom, but all was forgotten once l saw the view :-). Yeah, it’s pretty sad. The ones hanging by the flat and surrounding streets were definitely Greek. There are however lots of refugees that are homeless as well, but they are in even worse off areas of town. I think it’s a vicious cycle of poverty and drugs. We saw at least 10!!! Greek women and men losing it in the streets, high on drugs. It’s hard to miss as all the cafes have tables out on the narrow streets so it’s hard to miss as they are inches away from you. I hope to be able to enjoy the beaches in Valencia this summer..haha!

      Reply
  2. Wish I’d have known you were there – we took departing houseguests to the Athens Airport on the 17th and turned around and headed back to the Peloponnese, with a detour to Hydra. Your observations about graffiti remind me of my response to Lisbon. . .whoa, a whole lot a writin’ goin’ on! And as for the homeless, made me think of Honolulu, particularly Waikiki, these days. . .always a shock to one’s system!

    Reply
    • Awwh.. it would have been nice to connect. I am such a bad procrastinator though 🙂 and l didn’t think it was that close to you either. Next time..haha! here or in Spain! About the graffiti, I guess there are a lot of budding writers and artists..just wish they had talent! 🙂 . Sad situation as far as the homeless. I visited Honolulu so many years ago and l can only imagine how different it must be now. Definitely a shock. I only see it getting worse too.

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  3. I love Greece, that photo of the Acropolis is so beautiful. Bad graffiti is awful, I don’t really understand why people do it. I will look forward to hear about your Greek food tour:)

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    • Greece is very cool for sure. We were lucky to get that view, especially because l always tend to wait till the last minute for everything.. :-), but we got lucky. I think most people have delusions of grandeur..haha..like me thinking l am a good singer, but l don’t go around singing and ruining everyone’s air space :-).

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  4. Look forward to hearing your thoughts on Athens. I was there 30 years ago and didn’t like it much then – lots and lots of cement and, apart from the Acropolis, didn’t find it at all attractive. But I’m sure things have changed a lot since then…

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    • You described Malta with the lots and lots of cement. I liked Athens 20 years ago, and thankfully still liked it, even with the obvious changes. :-).

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  5. I was really curious to read about your impressions of Athens. We spent 6 weeks there (from early April till 3rd week of May) living outside of tourist areas. It was quite an eyeopening experience – nothing I read about in any guide, blog, brochure. Interestingly, in local neighborhood where we lived (near the Plato Academy if you are curious) the police presence was nonexistent. I also noticed the huge difference between overcrowded tourist areas and less fortunate albeit much quieter local neighborhoods. I am a big fun of street art. Majority of locals we talked to sided with you saying that the city is overflowing with graffiti that they identified as vandalism. Yes, it is a problem. However, there are also some outstanding murals that are unique, thought provoking and stand out as true art objects.

    Reply
    • I’m so glad to hear the locals agree with me :-). I love street art too, and we did see some awesome ones which l will post in the future, including the one at the bottom of the main page showing our IG feed. I can appreciate talent, but a lot of these are just awful..hahah! I hate to read blogs that don’t give me a feel for a place, little nuisances to look out for, good or bad. Everyone has the top ten things to do and just regurgitate the same information. In the Psyri area where we stayed, there wasn’t really noticeable police presence that we saw. Syntagma though was loaded with them. I think they blend in quite nicely. It might have to do with the color of the uniform and the youth of the officers (most of them). They looked so casual, but it was obvious they could kick ass when needed. Quite interesting to observe. Thanks for the comment :-).

      Reply
  6. Looking forward to hearing about the rest of your time in Greece. My parents used to go there frequently as part of a sailing flotilla around the country. The one thing they mentioned was french fries was about the most popular food choice. How about fries with feta!

    Reply
    • The french fries are absolutely amazing. The one thing l remembered most from my first visit. You could get them from stalls and ate as you walked. This time, the stalls seem to have all disappeared and you have to sit down at an eatery. Shame :-). That must have been fun for your parents, sailing in such beautiful waters. I have had my fill of feta, Federico is still eating tons of it though.

      Reply
  7. Hi Kemkem. I never get tired of reading about Greece, as it is truly one of my favourite destinations. I love the food, wine, scenery and vibrant culture. And that is where I learned to make the true Greek salad. Thx for getting my taste buds pumping.

    Reply
    • I had forgotten what Greek salad tasted like till we got here. It had been a while. Being here has brought back good memories for me too and l hope that we come back soon. 20 years was too long :-). Hmm..perhaps Greek salad and chocolate :-).

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  8. I love that delightful coffee concoction sitting beside you Kemkem. This is one of my favorite parts of circling the globe; not only can I sample some of the world’s best coffee, I also enjoy these neat mixes not seen here in the US. Way cool.

    Reply
    • I am discovering that l really like coffee drinks. I am usually a cappuccino in the morning and that’s that person. Federico loves drinking coffee throughout the day, cold, hot etc.. This past month, I’ve come to like it and prefer it to alcoholic drinks even, so it’s a good thing :-).

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  9. Hahaha, my first impression of Athens was distasteful, since it felt grimy with animal (I hope) feces on sidewalks. When I returned 2 months later, after rain came, I really liked it. Both times I walked the streets in the dark and felt safe, no homeless. I’m sure like anywhere, it depends on the neighborhood. Looking forward to your post.

    Reply
    • I hope they were animal ones as well 🙂 . It certainly felt a lot grittier than it was 20 years ago but l still love it though. It might have been safe dragging our luggage through the streets at 3AM, but l felt uncomfortable. We were in the Bohemian neighborhood of Psyri. From the number of people we saw tweaking during the day, I’m positive it wouldn’t have been all good :-). It was better to err on the side of caution..hahah!

      Reply
  10. What a view! It sounds like a memorable trip to usher in the summer and, if you’re already in one of the great holiday destinations like Valencia, why do anything else but hang out at home for the summer and try to avoid the tourists? I’m with you in thinking that your dogs will have a BIG adjustment back to real life when moms and pops come home! Happy summer y’all, y’all! Anita

    Reply
    • We totally got lucky with the view, especially because l was trying to decide between a hotel and this, but this was the better bargain and was happy to get it. Yep! I am going to behave like a tourist and hang out in Valencia. I’m a bit over travel and crowds elsewhere..hahah! It’s been an adjustment for Nazuns with the hand feeding and lasted a few days with him refusing to eat because it wasn’t being fed to him. He’s coming around now, but jeez…what a whiner!!! 🙂

      Reply
  11. I’ve just come back from Athens and I am still in awe, Kemkem! Your postcard recalled many wonderful memories. Athens is indeed charming!

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    • I’m so glad you enjoyed your visit as well Cez. It had changed somewhat from the first time l was there, but l still loved it. I’m glad you have wonderful memories of your trip. I’m hoping it won’t be another 20 years before l get there again though 🙂

      Reply
  12. Oh, the stunning Athens, Kemkem. I am so in love with the city and your postcard is awesome. Plus, Greek food is so delightful, isn’t it?

    Reply
    • So easy to fall in love with the city for sure. I love Greek food, so it made it even more special. I can’t wait to go back :-).

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  13. Wow it’s sad to see the decline of once great places, hopefully things will improve. You look amazing Kemkem, despite the bad graffiti Athens makes you glow! 🙂

    Reply
    • Aaaww shucks! Thanks a lot Lili. I guess one can only look better than the bad graffiti. I wonder if there is a viable solution for getting rid of it. Spain is halfway there too :-).

      Reply

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