16th to 23rd march 2002
Saturday March 16'th
Dinos was "technical responisible" for this trip. They had booked a place on the plane from Olympic Airways - and booked a hotel room at Hotel Arethusa right in the center of Athens
So all I had to take care of was the train to Kastrup - get on-board a little more than half-full Olympic-airwais plane, get out in the all new airport in Athens - build for the olympics coming on - and then take an airport-bus til Syntegma, the central place in Athens. From there it's a short walk to the hotel - and here I was.
Some kind of carnival was going on around here. In the evening you could "enjoy" the local folklore at Syntegma. You can say a lot about greek music - but it's certainly different.....
Sunday March 17'th
I get up pretty early to take a closer look at Athen. Today mainly some traditional sigths.
First sight is the local market at Monastiraki. It's a short walk from the hotel. The open up early - and is the reason why I got up so early.
It's close to an area know as the "tyrkish bazar", så there are a lot of things going on. Whether you actually buy anything, I'm not sure about - but at least you have the chance. A lot of so-called "antiques" are for sale, and copys of figures and pots seems to be highly valued.
From Monastiraki I walk to the parliement. A crowd has gathered to watch the changing of the guard. I skipped that - and headed for another Athens-must-see - Acropolis
The walk to Acropolis is best done through the old part of town known as Plaka. All you have to do is go up - then you will reach Acropolis.
Acropolis is very old. You can actually see that. It's not what it used to be. But thats what make it famous I think - the age. Now they have finally realised that they have to do something about it. Cranes and stagings all over. Honestly guys - it's to late - the place is demolished - it's too late to save it. You should have thought of this some thousand years ago.
The highlight of Acropolis in the Parthenon-temple. Actually it's just a bunch of Doric columns, with a part of a roof on the top. There used to be a frieze with nice pictures on all around Parthenon. But the brits stole it, and now you have to visit British Museum in London to see it.
If you are thinking of doing the same as the brits - then dont. They sure not like you if you take any stones away from the area. You might end up in jail.
Later that day I also take a walk to the Olympic Stadium in Athens. Or what was the Olympic Stadium at the first modern olympic games back in 1896. It's nicely restored and ready to meet all new olympic-tourists in 2005. As far as I know, it will not be in use for any events.
Monday March 18'th
It's a long walk from the hotel to Mavromateon Bus Terminal. From here there is a bus every hour to Cape Sounion and the Poseidon temple. But on the way you pass Athens Archeological Museum. And since there are something with Greece and archeologi, you better have to check it out
It's pretty exiting. My Lonely Planet guide has a good description of the museum. Lots of sculptures and pots etc. Some of the things might have been known to me, if I have paid just a little more attention in school.
After a couple of hours I finally reach my "busterminal". Well - it's more like a street-corner, where an old bus is parked - that in two hours will take you to Cape Sounion. You have to take a little care. We have left the traditional tourist-route, so all signs etc. are made with the local alphabet. So it's a good idea to ask someone if you are on the right bus. On the other hand - it's only 4 Euros for the trip - if you take the same trip on a touristbus it will set you back 30 Euros.
For some reason that I don't know, the locals have this day off, so there is a lot of traffic along the coast to the Poseidon-temple. But its a nice trip - the temple - or the ramains - and the area is nice. So to is the weather. I spend a couple of hours walking around down there, before I head back for the big city.
Tuesday March 19'th
Sometimes you have to do it - even if you don't really like it - take a tourist-bus to see things that you would like to see. Today it's one of the worst of its kind - a whole bus full of tourist - mainly americans, an extremely talkative guide - in 2 languages - english and french, and worst of all - a joint tourist-lunch en route.
But you have to suffer to get to Pelopones. Its way to difficult on public transport.
The compagny that arranges this trip is called Chat tours. And we start at the hotel at 7 am.
First stop is the Corinth-canal. 130 years ago they built this canal so the ships didn't have to make a long trip around to Peloponese when going from the Ionic sea to the Aegeic-sea.
It's also a lot easier than back in the 13'th-century. At that time they had a transportation-route on the spot. The ships where lifted onto some "rolls", and slaves where then pulling the ship across the land, until you could put it back into the sea.
Back in the bus - on to Epidaurus. It's very beautifull outside.
Epidaurus is a huge amphitheater. It was - like Poseidon and Parthenon - build in the 4'th century b.c., but is very well preserved. It holds 14.000 spectators - all sitting down. In summer its used for it's original purpose, namely old greek tragedies..
And the acuoustic is fascinating. Even from the back rows of the theater, you can hear someone dropping a coin in the center of the scene.
And on we go with the bus. The area is incredible vigorous. Lots of olive-trees, lemon-trees and orange-trees. Never have I seen such big and delicious lemons and oranges - you can pick them from the trees - or buy them at small stands along the road. But this tour is programmed, so we havent got time for such things.
Efter our tourist lunch we reach Mychenae. Back in 1600-1200 b.c. one of the most developed places on earth was placed here. Among others Homer tells about Mychenae in his famous works The Illiad and The Odyssee.
The ruins at Mychenae was excavated at around 1870 and is now a very exiting place to visit.
At the entrence at Mychenae you find Agamemnons tomb. Well - honestly - it has almost proven a fact, that Agamemnon never was buried her - but why care about such a detail....
The trip ends at a local pot-maker-shop, where all the happy tourist are allowed plenty of time to buy different kinds of mass-produced ceramics. I take a little walk in the tiny village instead. We are back in Athens in the evening. I don't like this kind of travelling like a hord of tourists, but if I hadn't, I wouldn't have seen all these very interesting places.
Wednesday, March 20'th
Sometimes you are allowed to be a little naive. So I start this day by taking the metro to the homeground of Panathinaikos, looking for tickets for tonights important champions-league match against Real Madrid. But of course - they are sold out.
Back on foot - downhill - towards city-center. I pass several more traditional living-areas, all made out of quadrangular concrete-buildings. They tend to build their houses solid - this is potential earthquake-area.
Later it's time for a visit at The temple of Zeus. It's not as old as Acropolis. It was built about 100 years a.c. when the romans were in control of Greece
I finish my day with a walk around Plaka. Plaka is the nicest and most cozy area in Athens, with old houses, small streets and paths, with plenty of opportunity to get lost.
Plaka is placed on the foot of Acropolis, and closest to Acropolis you find the oldest part of Plaka known as Anafiotika. Here you find small white-washed houses, while you walk around on small paths almost like you are in the middle of a labyrinth. There are lots of flowers and green plants - and a great number of wild cats as well. A lovely place to walk around.
As usual - late dinner - before I head for my hotel - and champions-league with Panathinaikos - on the telly.
Thursday, March 21'st
Off we go - pretty early in the morning by metro to Piraeus. Piraeus is the harbour-town of Athens. It's only 15 minuttes by metro out there. There is a lot of life in Pireaus. And if you don't like a lot of traffic and a lot of people - then stay away from Piraeus.
From Piraeus you call sail to almost all greek islands. That means a lot of ships in the harbour - big ones - small ones - some even very big.
I take one of the small ones, and the shortest trip available. It takes 45 minuttes and brings me to the nice island of Aegina.
If Piraeus is the area for dust and dirt, then its very peaceful at Aegina.
I get a delicious lunch at at Taverna at the harbour. A group danish schoolchildren are the only other people there.
Then its time for a walk around town. It's a little tourist-town, but since we are way out of season, there are almost no tourist. There seems to be no locals as well - but thats because we are in the middle of the siesta - so I'm almost the only person in town.
I spend a few hours looking around - before I take my hydrofoil back to Piraeus.
Friday, March 22'nd
Last day in Athens. I tage the new effective metro to the suburb of Kifisia. This is the rich mans neighbourhood. You can see it at the shops around here. Designershops and fashion-shops all over. I take a walk around the area.
On the way back I make a stop at the olympic area, which host most of the venues for the 2004 olympics.
Its not a very nice area. Concrete all over - but its huge - and extremely ugly.
Back to Athens and my hotel. For the second time on this trip there is a demonstration right in front of the hotel. Not that anyone has anything against the hotel, but the ministry of education is just opposite, and that is what the protests is about. There seem to be much more police than demonstraters afterall.
Later another walk to Plaka. Head for a Cafe and has to try one of the local specialities - a Frappé. It's a strange drink made out of milk, sugar and cold coffee. It's just as disgusting as it sounds.
End my day at my favourite eating-spot. Cafe Neon at Syntegma. A kind of sophisticated McDonalds - local fast-food dishes, but they are quite nice.
Saturday, March 23'rd
The weather has been very well all through this trip - except for this morning where it's raining cats and dogs. So this is the right time to leave. Get up early - no breakfast - out into the rain - to Syntegma - and a bus to the airport.
Check in - and finally time for some breakfast. The plane is late due to the weather, so I have plenty of time. We get another delay, when we have to land again shortly after take-off due to technical problems. "Nothing to worry about" says the captain. Some do it anyway.
It takes some time to fix the plane, so we are in Copenhagen with a 2 hour delay. But from here it's easy - first train to Vejle - and I'm back home.