Edgy with grace in Athens

This is one of two parts on our vacation to Greece.

Arriving at the world’s ancient capital, we decided to spend 3 days and 2 nights in Athens before traveling to Santorini.

We figured that traveling during a European summer would be the right weather.  Not! It was scorching hot when we landed in Athens, at 36 degrees centigrade. Not only was the weather not cooperative, the taxi drivers decided to go on strike the same day we arrived! (Which meant that we would need to do a lot of walking, and carrying, while we’re here!) Of course, as mythology would put it, curses come in threes.  We arrived on a Monday! After checking in the hotel and decided to have lunch and do a bit of sight seeing around in the early afternoon, lo and behold, the shops were closed. In Athens, most of the stores are open only from 9AM – 3PM.

What was there to do but enjoy our hotel in the scorching heat?

Home was the Grande Bretagne Hotel. It is one of the most grand (if not the grandest) hotel in Athens.  It faces the Parliament House, where you can literally see from the hotel lobby the hourly changing of the guards.

The location of the hotel was well within a few blocks walk of most of the places one should visit in Athens.  Kolonaki (about 2 1/2 blocks from Syntagma Square) was a perfect place for dining! Lunch at Pritanlon was excellent.  Servings were good enough for two people.  The evening was not as hot and dinner at Cibus in the National Gardens was the perfect choice to watch day change into night after 9PM. In the evening, the Parthenon on the Acropolis literally lights up for a perfect view.

The sweltering weather at 40 degrees Centigrade the following day wasn’t kind to the weary traveller.  And with the layers and layers of history, the remnants of Ancient Greece get the most attraction from its myths, dramas and philosophy.  One cannot forget what Greece had to go through in 2009, as its political and economic drama unfolded for the world to witness at how clearly one country can get  severely affected from an economic crisis. Lives had changed and businesses had become bankrupt.  I would have ventured that, had it not be for the thriving tourism industry particularly in the islands of Greece, the economic crisis may have been catastrophic to the Greek people.

Like many places in Athens, the perfect views from city had to be the Acropolis.  And at the 8th floor of Bretagne Hotel, where we had our breakfast, this was a sight to behold.

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One train ride from the Syntagma Station (right under our hotel, thank God!, it would have been difficult to travel in the sweltering heat), to the Acropolis Station was our final destination.  As you alight from the landings, the Acropolis Station has many quaint boutiques and restaurants.

The trek up the Acropolis seemed it.

But looks can be deceiving.  If you don’t have the cardiovascular strength to complete this, you can simply photoshop yourself and say – you were here. But here’s some shots to show you that we did our cardiovascular share for the day.  And while all the sunblock (SPF50++) had eventually disappeared from all the sweat that drenched our clothes (literally drenched with sweat), that trip up and personal to the Acropolis was so worth the trek.

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