Sunday, 27 December 2015

Europe Travelogue: Athens, Greece

24/6: Athens 



We took a midnight flight to Athens and arrived at 4 a.m.

Supper onboard Aegeans airlines
Even though the food was served at such an odd hour (1 a.m?), I had a surprisingly good appetite and finished everything. I must have been too accustomed to the large consumption of food over the past 2 weeks :/


 8 a.m. in Athens
The streets near our hostel were pretty quiet early in the morning but these street art managed to liven up the neighbourhood.


Thankfully, we were able to check in early. We took a nap as we were too tired from the sleepless night.


Shag face + eyebags that weighed a ton


Kerameikos
Athens is a city full of ruins and archaeological sites, such as the Kerameikos, which used to be a settlement for potters and vase painters, and later developed into an ancient cemetery.

Small park near Kerameikos


Monastiraki
This neighbourhood is situated in the old town and gets very lively in the late afternoon.


Makeshift individual stalls in Monastiraki Square

More ruins.. which make up part of Athens' character


Stoa of Attalos (right) and its surrounding ruins


Zappeion
This lovely yellow building is a conference and exhibition center, and is one of the most important buildings in Athens.


Athens flea market
This flea market reminds me of Bugis, except it is bigger and more spacious with more varieties. There are many souvenir shops and prices are not cheap.


Quirky records store


Dreamcatchers hanging all over the ceiling

Giant grecian sandals spotted!
These Greek shoe stores are everywhere in this shopping district.

After exploring the flea market, it was time for more food! These Kouluri stands are aplenty in the city. Koulouri is a bread ring coated with sesame seeds and it is a common Greek street food.

Convenient and filling snack. Nothing fancy.

I also tried the flavoured ones (I think it's the cheese flavour?) which I felt was more interesting than the plain ones. They come in a variety of flavours including cheese, chocolate, and olives.


Syntagma Square, central of Athens


Greek Parliament


National Garden
Isn't that neat row of palm trees so satisfying to look at?


This park is huge!


This Church of Panagia Kapnikarea is located in the midst of a popular shopping district and I thought it looked cute and tiny in scale as compared to the others.


First taste of Greek yogurt in Greece at Fresko Yogurt Bar


I couldn't resist getting something else so I got this pine honey and walnut yogurt smoothie.


So refreshing to have on a hot summer day.


Panathenaic Stadium
The first modern Olympic Games in 1896 was held here!

Temple of Olympian Zeus
Look at the massive size of these colossal columns and those tiny people near them! This temple has got a really interesting history behind it too.

There were originally a little over 100 columns but only these few remain.


the other remaining columns


Arch of Hadrian
This monument was erected in honor of the Roman emperor, Hadrian. It used to be part of a wall separating the old and new cities of Athens. There are also inscriptions carved on both sides of the arch indicating this fine boundary.


It was a short hike up to the top of Plaka, an old historical neighbourhood. We passed by these charming local houses in Anafiotika, which is such a hidden gem in Plaka.


Mount Lycabettus, at about 300 meters above sea level


Graffiti - art or vandalism? I say art!




Gorgeous backdrop + a lovely view of Athens


On the way back down, we discovered more street art (which meant more photo opportunities hehe).


"No border" - this reminds me of the no borders movement. How different would our world be without borders? After all, borders are socially constructed...


Bright yellow and orange walls? Yes please!


Remains of the Roman Agora, the first commercial centre of the ancient city.




Rather than an eyesore, these ruins and fragments of Greek civilization are what make this city so imperfectly beautiful.


Dinner was settled at a few Greek bakeries as we wanted to try their local pastries which looked interesting as compared to the conventional kinds of pastries that we were used to.


We had various Greek pastries such as the kataifi which is actually a shredded vermicelli-like phyllo dessert. The loukoumades is a deep-fried dough ball soaked in syrup or honey and sprinkled with cinnamon.


Baklava at Meliartos cafe
After trying a couple of Greek pastries, I think the Greek people really have a sweet tooth! This flaky pastry was really sticky, gooey, and sweet.


Pastry with Greek cheese fillings

View from the rooftop of our hostel


Panoramic view of Athens, taken by the handy iPhone


Spot the Temple of Hephaestus (the one with many columns) and the interesting brick roofs of Church of the Holy Apostles.


Evening view and sunset in Athens


Acropolis of Athens at night



It was a short but sweet stay in Athens. I'd love to be back someday to explore more of this city, but definitely not during the hot summer season.

Next stop, Santorini :)

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