Tuesday, 17 April 2007


Nothing else has made me recently exclaiming "How beautiful is that" or "Oh, look at that". Nothing else but the astonishing monuments one can admire and visit in Greece (Ελλάς - Ellas in Latin letters), in Athens to be more precise. After leaving home with a little concern about the trip - which was indeed very long (27 hours)- I arrived in Athens in the morning. I cannot describe how did I feel when entering this city.
Narrow streets, orange trees - a magic smell that somehow resembles the jasmin -, people everywhere, sun, beautiful people (the Greeks are really beautiful and very elegant people) and above all the feeling that I step on thousands of years of history and civilisation.
I heard stories about the Mediterranean sun, I heard stories about the people of Athens, I heard stories about the monuments but nothing can really describe Greece as it is. One should go there and discover it in his or her own way.
The Acropolis with its temples and the Agora made me feel, you know, small in front of one of the greatest achievements of the humankind. Stepping on the Sacred Rock of the old gods and seeing Athens in its full splendour is simply breathtaking.
Lycavittos - the hill at the centre of the city that is thought to be a rock dropped by the goddess Athena from the sky - is the other landmark on the horizon of Athens.
I have seen with my own eyes the famous Evzones - the guards in front of the Monument of the Unknown Soldier - in Syntagma Square. In summer it must be a tough job to stay in the sun but at least the guard is changed every one hour.
The tavernas couldn't have missed from my visit to Athens. Small but intimate and comfortable they offered me the chance to see the Greeks and not only having a cup of coffee or just chatting with friends. I cannot forget mentioning the Greek food - I recommend those who are visiting Greece 'souvlaki' and 'gyros' and of course some salad.
Do not imagine that Athens is a place where people just look at the ruins and do nothing else. The Greeks are very proud of the past but at the same time they value the present. The Greeks are Orthodox and they are very proud of that. The national flag consists of a cross and orizontal blue and white stripes.

As far as the public transport is concerned I can tell you it is very civilized and it works perfectly. Modern buses, trolleybuses and trams take the locals and the tourists in all the four corners of the city. The metro is ... perfect, it shines with cleanliness - I thought it may be transformed into a hospital one day :)). A tip - buy a 10 euro ticket that is valid one week on all means of transport and on all lines, except the express lines to the international airport.

Visiting Athens even if the time was too short has been the best decision I have made lately. It's been a unique occasion to see with my own eyes the place where the modern western culture originated from.

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