Mythology meets modernity in Athens
Shrouded in mythology and legend, Greece’s capital of Athens is the kind of city you need to stay in for a few days to lift the veil of expectation to see the city for what it truly is.
Like many capital cities, Athens is one of those we know from postcards, books, and brochures. Honestly, on our first day, we felt slightly disappointed. From the balcony of our snazzy Airbnb, we had a view of the city scattered with tv aerials, graffiti and far in the distance the lit up Acropolis. It was like we had woken up from a lovely dream of our preconceptions only to be disheartened with reality.
We made the best of our time by taking a City Sightseeing bus so we could see some sights and eventually end up at our favourite destination: The beach. The audio tour was particularly fascinating as Greek Mythology is so interesting and colourful. We heard about the important influence the Greeks had on the philosophy and theology that would shape our modern world, fixed on individualism and therefore democracy.
At the beach, we had one of the strangest experiences of our entire trip. It was summer and it was super hot. We were so excited to swim in the dreamy blue waters but almost completely out of the blue the heavens opened up and it started to rain. It only lasted long enough to have us all drenched, which was fine, because we just swam anyway. The crazy short storm with lighting and all was enough to make me believe in moody human-like Gods who use the weather to express their feelings.
For dinner, we had the cheapest and most filling pitas imaginable under trees and fairy lights in our neighbourhood. Our stomachs fell in love first and our hearts soon followed suit. We loved the restaurant so much we returned the next night and I went there once on my own too.
When my family had left for their next destination I stayed behind on my own for two days before heading to Paris. I stayed in a lovely and super affordable hostel called Athens Studios. The location was perfect for exploring the hub of town and close enough to our favourite restaurant so I could go back.
While staying there I went on a great walking tour with some fellow hostel dwellers, explored Plaka, met a kind Englishman named Harry and travelled to the Temple of Poseidon at Sounion. It was about a two hours drive out of the city by bus and it felt great to get out for a bit. Of course, there was a beach and an opportunity to swim, Poseidon is the God of the Sea after all.
Besides the ancient sites, beaches and great restaurants, Athens also offered up some of the best ice cream and gelato. Little shops selling frozen greek yoghurt drizzled with nuts and honey was just heaven on earth.
Like many of the best people, Athens is a city you need to get to know a little before making a call. For me it was the kind of person I’d like to get to know better and befriend. Would love to hear your thoughts on Athens, leave a comment if you’ve been or would like to go.