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Friday, December 30, 2016
The people selling knock off merchandise are probably the most prolific. You can find them everywhere either selling their wears or running from the authorities. Two things to keep note, it is illegal to do business with these vendors and the items they sell are poor quality.
The people selling legitimate items tend to congregate in groups, the biggest and best of these groups can often be found around Thissio Metro station, particularly on a warm summers night. My favourite of these vendors are the folks selling hand made crafts, art, and jewellery. The quality of the hand made items depends on the craftsmen, however you'll likely walk away with something unique and original. Around this area you may also find a few vendors selling Greek antiques, some less antique than others. Many vendors sell antique Drachma, which makes for a pretty interesting souvenir.
The street food in Athens is average at best. Stopping at a place like Monastiraki for a Koulóuria (bread ring) or some fruit from the local vendors is fine, but if you want a meal you're better off stopping at a taverna or gyros shop.
Friday, December 23, 2016
While you won't find a wide variety of churches in Athens, you will find many Greek Orthodox churches. In fact there are several squares with multiple churches all around them. Feel free to wander in, but be respectful of the dress codes, and of those worshiping. While there are many churches, there are two churches worth noting.
The first is Metropolitan Cathedral of Athens; this church is the main Greek Orthodox Church in Athens, however it is not in use. During the powerful earthquake 1999 this church suffered huge damages, and has since been filled with extra supports and scaffolding. There has been a great deal of effort to try and figure out how to fix the church, but at this point no one is really sure how to go about it. You can walk into the front of the church and check out some of the items that remain, as well as see how this church is being held up.
The other church worth visiting is St George on Lykavitos Hill. This church truly has the best view of Athens since it is perched on top of the tallest point in the whole city. The church itself is fairly small but still very pretty. The bell tower is also very simple, but a great place to get a photograph with the city bellow. If you are able, I recommend walking up, however there is a road and a cable car that will take you most of the way up.
The churches in Athens are very different than those found on the islands, but still well worth investigating.
Friday, December 16, 2016
The pieces in this museum are beautifully displayed, however the explanations are often hard to understand. Many of the signs describing the items can be overly brief and in archaeologists speak. The maps provided also are a little vague, and many of the popular pieces can be hard to find. This museum is also extremely large, in one day you'd be hard pressed to see everything unless you buzzed through.
The best plan is to visit this museum at the end of your Greek adventure if you can. By that point you will have seen several sites and you'll have a better idea of what you might be interested in seeing at this massive museum.
Friday, December 9, 2016
The top floor of the museum is the crown jewel of the design of this building, holding pieces (and replica pieces) from the Parthenon. The top floor is built in a way to allow the sunlight to hit each piece exactly the same way as it did when they were up on the Acropolis. My only real complaint about this museum is the strict no photography rule. I've heard many different stories as to why this rule exists, but none of them seem reasonable. This however is no reason to miss the wonderful statues of the Caryatids and their mesmerizing hair.
Friday, December 2, 2016
If walking isn't your thing, there are two other options, the teleferik and the road. The teleferik is my least favourite way to go up, it's expensive, underground, and you have to make your way more than halfway up the hill just to get onboard. The road offers you an opportunity to drive (or take a taxi); however the end of the road is still not at the top of the hill, so you'll have to go up several more stairs. The only time I would avoid Likavitos hill is during the summer afternoons when it can get very hot. Sunsets and night-time excursions can be breathtaking, it is fairly safe if you stay on the well-lit pathways.