Tuesday, January 31, 2017

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Monday, January 30, 2017

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Friday, January 27, 2017

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Friday Travel Tip - Athens - SWEET TREATS AROUND ATHENS

If you're looking for the classic Greek sweet treat, the first place you should check out is a bakery. There are thousands of bakeries in Athens all with different levels of quality and selection. The best way to pick a great bakery is to first check the window, and secondly check behind the counter. If you find a window full of tasty treats and people in the back actually baking, you're in for a fine treat.

 Constantinides is a great bakery chain that never disappoints, with many locations all over Athens. Your next best bet for a great sweet treat is to sample some of the local chocolate. The problem you'll find in Athens is finding a truly Greek chocolate shop. Most chocolate shops make chocolates in the styles of Belgian chocolatiers. This isn't a bad thing most of the time, but it isn't a true Greek experience.

Max Perry, a local chain of chocolate shops has a decidedly more Greek approach to their chocolates, often blending with Greek cookies and fillings, much like the baked goods found at many of the bakeries. While Athens itself doesn't really have one particular sweet treat to call its own, many bakeries do sell some of the specialties from other regions in Greece. The Trigona from Thessaloniki is great, and Farsala Halvas, from Farsala is really unique. There are also some great seasonal treats like the Christmas cookies, and chocolate covered Easter bread that are well worth trying.

Later

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Monday, January 23, 2017

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Friday, January 20, 2017

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Friday Travel Tip - Athens - BAD NEIGHBOURHOODS

While most neighbourhoods in Athens are safe particularly around the tourist areas, there are a few places that can be a little bit sketchy. Some neighbourhoods are only dangerous under particular circumstances, while others aren't really that great any time of day.

The most famous "bad neighbourhoods" of Athens are the areas around Omonia square and Exarchia. It's true that these neighbourhoods are a little sketchy, however during the day for the most part they’re fairly safe. Syntagma square gets a bad rap based totally on the fact that it's the square where people protest. If you're around the square and you see a protest, it's probably safest if you just walk away, however if nothing is going on, this is a great square to explore.

If you decide that you want to walk from the main tourist area towards the Archaeological Museum, you'll pass by several University buildings on 28 October street. It used to be that this area was a no go zone for police (due to an old law) and because of this it was a really sketchy area. Since the law was changed the police have cleaned up this area, and it's much better now. It's still a little sketchy, but during the day it's not as dangerous as it once was.

The one area that continues to keep its bad reputation is Agio Pandelimonas. This is probably the only neighbourhood that I would generally recommend avoiding. Not only is it fairly sketchy, but truly there really isn't much to see up there for the average tourist.

Later

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Monday, January 16, 2017

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Friday, January 13, 2017

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Friday Travel Tip - Athens - HADRIAN'S LIBRARY

Hadrian's library is one. Of the easiest sites to find in Athens, and a great way to slow down the pace of a frantic day of touring around the city. Only 20 meters from Monastiraki square in the heart of the old neighborhood. To the untrained eye the site appears to be fairly basic, with the most notable features being the giant pillars found at the front entrance. Other than that there are many large unremarkable walls around it and a few beautiful arches and ruins in the middle. It's not a large site in area compared to the Acropolis or the Agora, but there's still lots to see.

The beauty of this site is how quite it is, considering it's surrounded by some of the most hectic parts of Athens. A mere 20 meters from the entrance is one of the busiest squares in the area, but you forget all about it wandering around. The site isn't full of particularly remarkable buildings or structures, but lying around are wonderful little treasures that you can discover yourself. Bits of mosaic floor, grinding stones, and a few pillars are hidden all around, but you have to keep your eyes open to find them.

This is a wonderful site to explore on your own, it's often not very busy, and it's a great escape for a few minutes.

Later

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Friday, January 6, 2017

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Friday Travel Tip - Athens - PNYX AND THE FILOPAPPOU HILL

Pnyx and the Filopappou hill are located right next to the Acropolis with then main entrance being near the entrance to the Acropolis. Both of these hills have some ancient ruins on them, Pnyx has an ancient theatre and Filopappou has a monument to the muses. While these sites are fine, the real draw is the views. Pnyx is the easier hill to climb, and it has a great view of the Acropolis. Filopappou also has a great view of the Acropolis on the way up, however at the top it has the best panoramic view in all of Athens.

One of the great hidden gems of these two hills can be found at the base of Filopappou hill about 30 meters from the entrance. There you'll find a couple of small signs leading you to Socrates prison. These small caves are thought to be the place where Socrates was imprisoned and eventually poisoned. It was later used as a bunker during the Ottoman period. Unlike the hills it's not that difficult to get to, and there are rarely any other tourist around.

For the most part nothing particular happens on these hills with one exception. On clean Monday every year, flocks of locals climb Pnyx hill to picnic and fly kites. This picnic represents the first day of lent and the last day of carnival. The meal follows the Greek Orthodox rules of lent. The kites are said to help you wash away your sins from carnival. They say that the higher your kite goes the more sins are washed away.

Later

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Tuesday, January 3, 2017