For the next 2 nights I’m staying in the city of Halkida (alternative spellings include Chalkida, Xalkida, Halkis, Chalkis, Xalkis).
The capital of the island of Evia, Halkida is connected to the mainland by two bridges. At the narrowest point, by the ‘old bridge’, only a few metres separatge mainland and island.
My day however started back in Athens, where after breakfast I checked out of the hotel, and asked if I could leave my luggage for a few hours. Before my train to Halkida, I decided to go for a morning walk around the city.
I headed first to Syntagma Square, and then walked (via Ermou Str and the Plaka District) round to the Acropolis. I didn’t actually go in to the Acropolis itself, but I instead went to a hill opposite the Acropolis with views down over the city.
The weather in Greece at this time of year isn’t exactly cold, but it is the sort of weather where you might want to have a jumber with you. In the sunshine it is pleasantly warm – like an English spring day. When cloud cover returns however, the temperature drop is noticable.
The then continued my walk, down towards Monastiraki, where I sat and had a drink in the square. By this time it was 11 and I decided I would make my way back up towards Syntagma to get the Metro back to the hotel.
After collecting my luggage from the hotel I walked up to Larissa Station, the main railway station of Athens, from where I would be able to get a train to Halkida.
I was slightly early for the train, and with a short wait at the station I dozed lightly on a bench on the platform while listening to the radio. I was awoken by the man sitting next to me. «’Ερχεται το τρένο,» he said… “The train is coming”. «Αχ,» I replied: «Κατάλαβα» (“Got It”). And with that the train arrived.
At a cost of €6,50, the train isn’t bad. It is a little slow – the train takes just under 2 hours and you have to change trains once the suburban train gets out of Athens. The bus by compariston is about an hour, but more expensive.
On arrival in Halkida I made my way to the hotel – on the mainland side, overlooking the narrow Euripus Strait towards Evia itself. I’m staying the Hara Hotel which has a rooftop garden, breakfast room & bar. I’ve not been up there yet, I’ll check it out at breakfast time tomorrow.
Once settled in to my room I made my way down to the sea front and crossed the bridge: Now I was on Evia for the first time. I walked along the pedestrianised promenade; there are countless bars and restaurants along there. Eventually I decided it was a little cold and I could feel a few spots of rain, so I went in to the Goody’s restaurant (Goody’s is Greece’s biggest fast food chain – It’s essentially a Greek-style burger house).
Having been on my feet all day, I’ve returned to the hotel now for a bit of a rest, put the TV on (I’ve been watching the Greek version Deal or No Deal) and look through the day’s photos.
I might head in the other direction when I go out to dinner tonight: maybe head South from the bridge towards the harbour, and see what I can find. If all else fails, there’s a meze place on this mainland side of the bridge which looks interesting.
I’m off to see what I can find.