I arrived to Athens in the midst of the Blue Moon, the area surrounding the Acropolis was dense with locals and tourists enjoying full moon symphony performances. The city air was thick with fumes and cigarette smoke which made me feel like unleashing the Mighty Dragon and fleeing towards green space and clean air at the earliest opportunity.
After, what by comparison to recent nights was an early one, I rose feeling optimistic to discover Athens in the light of day. Much to my surprise and delight breakfast brought Manuel, a handsome Colombian into my life, a welcome change to the hordes of Australians that are roaming Greece.
Following a morning walking tour taking in the many sights of the city, in an effort to escape the stifling mid afternoon heat, Manuel and I headed for the National Botanic Gardens; Fix (local fermented beverage) and Pistachios in hand. Once rested and just nicely hydrated we decided that Lykavittos Hill, perched high above the city was the only place to take in the sunset and set off in search of the telefonica. As we traipsed around the base of the rather large hill in search of the elusive telefonica I reminded Manuel that the guide had mentioned that the entrance could be "a little difficult to find". "How hard can it be? Its a telefonica" retorts Manuel.
After stopping for more supplies and more (unhelpful) directions we found ourselves hiking up the dusty wooded hill in thongs, stopping part of the way for much needed refreshments and to laugh childishly at how difficult it apparently could be to find the telefonica.
The hike was well worth the effort, the views of the city, the surrounding mountains and the sea were exceptional. We sat for hours, our legs dangling over the edge of the marbled walls of the chapel, talking incessantly about anything and everything and sharing the last Fix since someones' had become a casualty of the rocky abyss below. Slowly the golden sun sank into the mountains on the horizon and as dusk became twilight, one by one, the lights of the city began to sparkle below.... my first day in Athens; not bad at all ;)
My second day in the city of Goddess Athena brought the marbled magnificence that is the towering Acropolis, along with more scorching heat, dusty hiking, thirst quenching Fix, endearing company, laughs and great conversation. Following yet another brilliant sunset from high above the city and a final shared feast of Greek culinary delights it was time to farewell my Colombian as he boarded a train bound for Italy and I prepared to sail to the island of Crete.
It is serendipitous how the universe can bring people into your life, so abruptly, so pleasantly... Sometimes you wake up with an arse in your face, turns out there are worse things ;)
|Some of the many ruins around the city of Athens|
|Escaping the heat|
|The Palace Guards|
|Tower of the winds|
|Ok I'll have a photo!|
|Silly....its the key to life man|
|What a view|
|Another day another beautiful sunset|
|Greek culinary feasting at its best|
|Super scorching mid day rays|
|Just imagine how they actual built this....amazing|
|Me and Manuel|
|The Greek flag flying large and strong|
|Athens is full of graffiti, this is the nicer kind|
|The ultimate bearded man....Zeus|
|Some things are constant...thousands of years ago chicks loved earrings!|