Sunday, 27 January 2019

A monumental week in Athens

On Thursday night in Athens I watch live webcam footage of Syntagma Square from our Airbnb, just a few streets away.

Protesters are demonstrating about the Greek government's plans to approve a name change for the neighbouring country of Macedonia (Greece has a region of the same name. There's a lot of history and fears tied up in all of this). 

From the balcony, we can hear the chanting in the distance. But we are safe and cosy up here on the top floor. Snug as bugs in rugs.

The apartment is clean, convenient and cheap. It's a brilliant location for exploring the centre of this sprawling city. You can book it by visiting this link.

When we arrived in the Greek capital on Monday evening, I nearly cried when I saw the view from our roof terrace. The acropolis was lit up like a Christmas tree. 

In Athens in January, there are oranges and lemons on the trees lining the streets. The traders in the market tempt you with fresh squid, John Dory and fish-like-a-bream. There are heads of sheep a-plenty and bits of animal you never see in the shrink-wrapped section of supermarket chillers. 

The glossy colours of aubergines, olives and tomatoes in the fruit and vegetable market cheer up a grey winter's day.

In the Mr Zoo pet shop window, there are puppies for sale. I want to buy them just to free these dear little creatures from their prisons. But I can't.

There are sales in shops all over the city. It's a great time to buy winter boots.

Men in coffee-coloured overalls unload sacks of coffee beans into the grinder.

The Evzones change guard with precision and elegance on the hour, every hour, outside the parliament building and the tomb of the unknown solider.

Athens is an edgy city, full of ancient history and modern magic, and well worth a visit. But Pericles, its famous leader during classical times, would be hard-pressed to recognise the place today.

The open-topped bus takes you here there and everywhere. It's a great way to move around with ease and get a handle on this vast place. We take a trip out to Piraeus, the biggest port in the Med, before heading back into the city again.

Museums are not to be missed, especially the archaeological museum, with its jewellery, statues and pottery.

On Friday we trundle our hand luggage suitcases across a rain-soaked Athens city centre, our underground station at Syntagma closed because of the demonstrations.

The vote was close and the protesters were not happy.

That's about it.

Love Maddie x

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