Category: Athens

Meal in Plaka

By , 24/07/2014 23:34


240720142376For my evening meal, I found the area of Plaka (Πλάκα) I was looking for on Monday night but missed; I went to the Gouvetsakia (Γιουβετσάκια) taverna, on one of the narrow pedestrianised streets, where I enjoyed a brilliant (you’ve guessed it) veal giouvetsi/γιοβέτσι.

The Giouvetsakia taverna is one I had walked past not long ago and thought it looked quite nice. IIt was actually one of the best meals I’ve had in Athens. the taverna is in fact one of the oldest in Plaka, going back to the 1950s. It has excellent reviews online. The ingredients are all locally sourced – the bread even comes from one of Athens’ best bakeries!

The waiter there couldn’t quite believe it when I spoke to him in Greek – he had to double check…
Σ: «Εγγλέζος είσαι;» (AreyouanEnglishman?)
Φ: «Ναι».
Σ: «Όλοι Εγγλέζος;» (AllEnglishman?)
Φ: «Ναι!»
Σ: «Και μιλάς Ελληνικά!»
Φ: «Ναι, προσπαθώ. Έχω μία δασκάλα στην Αγγλία που έμεινε στην Ελλάδα.»

Needless to say, he was more than happy to take a photo of me standing in front of his restaurant. Of all the meals I’ve had in Athens, tonight’s giouvetsi I enjoyed the most. It may have been a bit on the pricey side, but that’s what you should expect when you eat in the tourist districts in Athens, as opposed to nearer my hotel.

Tomorrow, I leave Athens for the final time: It is almost like it is the beginning of the end now, as for my final two and a half weeks in Greece I’m up in the North of Greece. I’m heading to Kalambaka tomorrow, then continuing on to Thessaloniki on Saturday, before Mum, Dad and Corrie arrive on Wednesday and we head to Thassos.

I’m off to bed.

Good night.

Arriving Back in Athens

By , 24/07/2014 20:00

For a good half hour before we docked in Piraeus, we enjoyed some excellent views over the city of Athens. The Acropolis and Lykavittos Hill were clearly visible, though the photos here don’t really do it justice




Above: The car port at the back beginning to open as we reverse in to the dock.

Below: Docked in Piraeus!


Below: The ferry I was on – Blue Star Naxos.



Piraeus Port

By , 22/07/2014 08:14

Sitting on the ferry, looking over the port of Piraeus (Πειραιάς), shortly before departing for Syros.




Lost In the City

By , 21/07/2014 23:31

Πλατεία ΜητροπόλεωςFor dinner tonight, I decided I wanted to head for the Plaka (Πλάκα) district – that’s the pedestrianised area where all the tourists go.

Had to be done at least once.

However, on exiting Acropolis Station I took a wrong turn and missed the bit I wanted… I ended up on Mitropoleos Square (Πλατεία Μητροπόλεως) instead.

There is however one advantage of getting lost in the city like this. The square was quite peaceful, and I found a lovely little café there where I ate tonight instead.

The menu was only about 4 or 5 items long – and the waiter recommended to me his Moussaka – saying it was το καλύτερο (the best). Needless to say, I quickly decided that I would go for the Moussaka – and it really was very good!

Moussaka €8 – Fanta Orange €3… Total cost of dinner tonight €11.

I’m off to bed now.

Good night.


Back to Athens

By , 21/07/2014 19:28


Above: The view from the house over the town of Leivadia.

As I write this evening, I am back at the Neos Olympos Hotel (Ξενοδοχείο Νέος Όλυμπος) in the centre of Athens, having finished my stay in Leivadia.

I was up at dawn this morning, packing my bag. After a quick breakfast I said my goodbyes to Dimitris and the family, and at 07:30 we loaded the car and headed for the railway station – a 15 minute drive away from the town itself. I took the 08:00 train – service 1511 – arriving in Athens shortly after 09:30 this morning.

I stayed around the railway station for a while; sitting in the cafe there for a drink, and a bougatsa (custard pie) – before heading for the hotel, just a 5 minute walk away. Check-in officially was not until midday, but the hotel receptionist, and his mother who works in the kitchen, remembered me from my first visit, and were more than happy to let me check-in to my room an hour and a half early. I told them that I would be leaving before breakfast tomorrow to travel to Syros, and he explained to me that he had just come from a trip to Syros!

This afternoon I spent a bit of time shopping; a 24 hour All-Athens Transport Pass costs €4, and once I’d got that I got the Underground to Agios Dimitrios (Άγιος Δημήτριος) – where (right next to the station) is Athens Metro Mall. There, I had a walk round looking at what shops they have there – and went in to Public.

Public is – if you can imagine this – a Greek chain store which is effectively PC World combined with Waterstone’s and WH Smiths. There I enjoyed browsing the book shelves, the DVDs, the CDs and the vinyls. I got myself a Greek CD – Christos Dantis (Χρήστος Δάντης) album Ένα Τραγούδι Ακόμα for €6,99.

At the same time I got some blank CD-Rs, which will mean I can burn some music from my laptop to CD to listen to in the car when my parents arrive next week: saving them from bringing all their CDs over. It’s not a good idea to rely on the radio in the car in Greece: being a mountainous country, you lose the signal with every turn!

I had lunch at the Metro Mall as well: there are a range of cafes and restaurants there including Greek chain stores Goody’s and Everest; there’s also Pita Plus, PizzaGR, an Asian restaurant… but I opted for KFC. I must say that ordering KFC in Greek is rather interesting!

I’ve managed to do some washing at the nearby laundrette too, so I’ve got lots of clean clothes to take with me to Syros.

I’m having a bit of a rest now. I’ll be heading for dinner at 9 – and then tomorrow I’m leaving at around 7am, for an 08:05 ferry to Syros.

Bye for now,


Mountains & Stadiums

By , 06/07/2014 23:59


Today I’ve been to Monastiraki, the University, I climbed Mt. Lykavittos, and I went to the Panathenaic Stadium.

060720142049Monastiraki is one of the tourist districts of Athens; pedestrianised and home to the city’s Flea Market. Having been told it was best on Sunday mornings before 11, I went first thing this morning. It was a lovely walk past all the cafes, and through the flea market itself; mainly Greeks out and about at this time on a Sunday morning: tourists all still in bed!

From there, I got the metro to Panepistimio station (Panepistimio is the Greek word for University) and photographed the National Library and Athens University buildings. From there, I walked up Lykavittos Hill, which took about an hour, and enjoyed the 360 views over the city.

View frrom Lykavittos

060720142135After walking back down the hill and back to the station, my next stop was Syntagma, from where I was just a few minutes by foot from the Panathenaic Olympic Stadium. With my Uni of Glos ID card I got the student discount, getting in for €1,50 – and took a free audio guide too. Sport isn’t my thing – but the stadium was rather spectacular. As an added bonus – after following the passage indoors I found on display all the Olympic Torches: including the ones used for London 2012 and London 1948!


Back outside, I walked up to the top of the stands for a photo looking through the stadium towards the entrance. Near the exit, on display is a list of all the Presidents of the International Olympic Committee, and a list of all the Modern Olympic Games which have taken place – all listed in Greek of course; so now I know the Greek words for St. Louis and Antwerp (Most of the other cities are relatively self-explanitory in Greek – just remember that Monaco is the Greek word for Munich!

After lunch, I returned to the hotel for a late siesta – I tuned to the Third Programme and slept for nearly 4 hours.

For my final night in Athens, I ate at the restaurant on Karaiskaki Square, just down the road from my hotel; and where Metaxourgeio Metro Station is located. Pork souvlaki with rice, chips and a slice of lemon: which is what I cooked in Cheltenham last week. I think my version had more flavour though, but it was still nice, and although the road was very busy and noisy, I secretly enjoyed watching the traffic on the roundabout. It was all locals eating in the restaurant – no tourists – in fact I don’t think the waiter picked up that I was not Greek.

So that’s my week in Athens done. Tomorrow, I’m off to Levadia. Don’t know whether I’ll blog every day there: but I’ll try and post several times during the week if I can.

Bye for now.

Panathenaic Stadium

By , 06/07/2014 14:00

Just a couple of minutes walk from Syntagma Square is the Panathenaic Olympic Stadium (Παναθηναϊκο Στάδιο). €3 entry (students €1,50) and audio guides are free.


Panathenaic Stadium


Above: The Royal Box.


Two-Sided Herms

Above: Two-sided Herms




Olympic Torches on Display


Κάλγκαρι, Τορίνο, Σότσι, Βανκούβερ – Calgary, Torino, Sochi and Vancouver.


Ίνσμπρουκ, Λεϊκ Πλάσιντ, Σεράγεβο – Innsbruck, Lake Placid, Seragevo.


Πεκίνο (Beijing) 2008, Λονδίνο (London) 2012.


Λονδίνο (London) 2012


Αθήνα, Μελβούρνη, Ρώμη, Τόκυο – Athens, Melbourne, Rome, Tokyo.


Βερολίνο, Λονδίνο, Ελσίνκι – Berlin, London, Helsinki

060720142123Λονδίνο London 1948

Back Outside


The Acropolis

Above: Looking over to the Acropolis.


Above: List of the Modern Olympic Games. (The numbers on the left are the Greek equivilant of Roman numerals – Greek numerals)!


Above: List of Presidents of the International Olympic Committee – and the countries they are from. (Thomas Bach is the current one, he’s from Germany according to this. No British ones in the list)…

Mt. Lykavittos

By , 06/07/2014 11:15

Great views over the city of Athens from the top of Mt. Lykavittos (Λόφος Λυκαβηττού).

View frrom Lykavittos

Lykavittos View


By , 06/07/2014 10:30

The National & Kapodistrian University of Athens is just one two stops from my hotel on the tube. It is from here that I walked up Mt. Lykavittos.

Below: National Library of Greece – Εθνική Βιβλιοθήκη τις Ελλάδος.

National Library


Above: National and Kapodistrian University of Athens – Εθνικό και Καποδιστριακό Πανεπιστήμιο Αθηνών

Below: Academy of Athens – Ακαδημία Αθήνας


Morning Walk in Monastiraki

By , 06/07/2014 09:53

Took the underground to Monastiraki (Μοναστιράκι) first thing this morning for an early morning walk. Nice to be up and about before most of the tourists flood in, the pedestrianised areas are quite nice first thing in the morning. Walked towards Thisseio Station and back again.




Acropolis and Glyfada

By , 05/07/2014 23:50


One of the great things about being in the city with an unlimited travel pass is that I can get almost anywhere I want to relatively quickly. I’m going almost everywhere on the underground, which is very reliable and convenient.

First thing this morning, I went to the Acropolis – 10 minutes away on the underground. Free entry for EU students with a valid university ID card. (Hooray! Mine’s valid until the end of the month). I enjoyed the views over the city, and down towards the coast at Piraeus.

Returning to my hotel, I spent a bit of time using the Internet downstairs; the owner had his grandchildren here and asked me to show them how to access games on the computer: The perfect test for my Greek, as they weren’t yet of school age and didn’t speak English (the owner, by the way, speaks to me in English).

After my daily siesta (which I took earlier than usual today) I headed to Syntagma on the underground, from where I could jump on the tram. The tram is covered by my travel pass – so no need to pay for new tickets. There are two lines: one line goes to Σ.Ε.Φ. (the Peace & Friendship Stadium), and I took the one heading to Voula.

Not far before you get to Voula lies the Athenian suburb of Glyfada – home to quite a few Greek celebrities (including two of my favourite Greek singers). There’s the main beach which has it’s own tram station; but I stayed on a little bit longer and jumped off at Palio Dimarcheo (‘Old Town Hall’) station after seeing a nice quiet beach with a taverna on it.

GlyfadaThis beach is West facing and the sea calmer than on Tuesday; there was no wind here. I had a longer time at the beach today and swam more than once as well. It’s strange to think that both Glyfada and Voula have beaches packed with foreign tourists; and in between, less than 5 minutes walk from Glyfada’s main beach, lies a very quiet spot full of mainly Greeks!

For dinner, I got the tube to Acropolis Station and wandered round the pedestrianised streets there; heading towards Theseio Station, which is on the other Metro line to mine. The route took me right through the heart of Athens’ tourist districts (the sort of places we’d probably stay if we were here on a package holiday). As nice as it was to walk through in the evening, I wasn’t to stay and eat here. I wanted something more Greek.

That Greek experience I found just round the corner from Acropolis Station – but outside the pedestrianised bit. I’d walked past it when I first arrived earlier in the evening and made a mental note to return if I couldn’t find anything else. So I returned.

DinnerThis was a restaurant with a few tables on the pavement outside, and a small number inside. There was no menu: the food was on display, and I simply was able to say to the lady (the owner I assume) which dish I wanted. For €8,50 I had moschari me rizi (beef with rice) and a Fanta orange. It was a lovely little place – not hidden away, but much quieter and much more relaxed simply because the tourists stick to the pedestrianised street just over the road.

It’s my last day in Athens tomorrow. Heading to the flea market at Monastiraki in the morning, then to see the changing of the guard at Parliament (they get the army band out on a Sunday), then I plan to walk Mt. Lykavittos.

Bye for now.

Dinner Near the Acropolis

By , 05/07/2014 22:24

Just round the corner from Acropolis Metro Station – but quieter than the tourist tavernas on the pedestrianised street the station is on.



By , 05/07/2014 18:04

Believe it or not, this lovely quiet little beach lies just a minute or so from one of the stations of the Athens tram! It is just an hour from Syntagma Square. The main beach at Glyfada is packed, but this one, near the ‘Palio Dimarcheo’ station is really quite nice…and it has a taverna there too, where I sat for a bit and had a drink.




Above: The beach at the Southern end of Glyfada.

Below: The tram back to Syntagma Square.


Below: The tram station in Glyfada.

Tram Station

The Acropolis of Athens

By , 05/07/2014 13:07


Above: I’m above the the theatre I was in last night…

Below: Looking down in to the theatre.





Above: The Parthenon.

Below: The view over the city of Athens.



City Exploration: Piraeus, Ag. Paraskevi and a Concert

By , 04/07/2014 23:51


Today has taken me to several places around the city. I really am making the most of my unlimited Athens travel pass. Although this does include the busses, I’ve yet to actually use them: the underground is more convenient.

Metaxourgeio is my nearest – including the time it takes to get to the ground floor of my hotel, then to the station and on to the platform, I am just 10 minutes from Syntagma Station. Syntagma is where I started my day: I went to the post office to get some stamps (they’re not sold by the kiosks as there are actual proper post offices here).

Next on my list of chores was ticket collection. My ferry ticket to Syros was pre-booked before I flew out here: all I had to do was get the train down to Piraeus (journey time about 40 minutes) and type me booking number in to the e-ticket machine. Easy! My return ferry tickets will be picked up from the ticket office on Syros itself. No e-ticket machines for the Blue Star Ferries though – I have to show my booking confirmation and passport to a person.

NERITThen, it was on to Ag. Paraskevi – one of Athens’ suburbs – for a visit to the Greek equivilant of Broadcasting House, known as the Radiomegaro. Home to ERT until it was closed last year, NERIT is the current public service broadcaster in Greece. It currently runs 3 radio stations (one of which opened only on Tuesday) and 2 TV channels; with a planned 3 more radio stations and a couple more TV channels on the way too.

I note that the ΠΟΣΠΕΡΤ journalists union has banners still protesting the closure of ERT in a prominent place outside the NERIT building.

After a late lunch at PitaQ, just a short distance away from the studios, I took the underground back in to Athens itself for a late siesta at the hotel.

In the evening, I ventured to yet another new area of Athens: I got the tube to Acropoli station, wandered round the Acropolis Museum (free entry for students) and then went to see a concert at the Oden of Herodes Atticus; an open air theatre on the Southern slopes of the Acropolis.

It was a fantastic concert, to celebrate the union with Greece of the Eptanisia (the Ionian islands). Sitting right at the top of the theatre, I got chatting to some South Africans in the audience and discussed Greece for a bit. At the end of the concert, we got a live version of the Greek national anthem, and I’m quite proud of the fact that I know the words well enough that I could join in with the Greeks when they started singing!

Tomorrow, I’m going to see the Acropolis itself, and I’m going to walk up Lykavvitos Hill.

Bye for now.

Concert in Athens

By , 04/07/2014 23:18

Went to see the Athens Symphony Orchestra playing live in the centre of Athens tonight. A concert to celebrate 150 years since the Ionian islands became part of Greece.




Acropolis Museum

By , 04/07/2014 19:37

While waiting for the start of my concert I wandered round the Acropolis Museum (free entry for EU students).




Agia Paraskevi

By , 04/07/2014 15:00

Agia Paraskevi


Above: Just a few minutes from the underground station is the Radiomegaro, which is the Greek version of Broadcasting House. It is home to NERIT.

Below: Lunch on a student budget: Pita gyros pork and a drink.



By , 04/07/2014 11:17

Short trip to Piraeus to collect my ferry ticket for Syros.



Metaxourgeio Station

By , 04/07/2014 09:59

Metaxourgeio is the nearesrt underground station to my hotel; within 4 minutes I can be on the platform, and 6 minutes after that I’m in Syntagma.


Metaxourgeio Station

Panorama Theme by Themocracy