19/7/16 and 20/7/16
We arrived a little bug-eyed on the night ferry from Chios to an Athenian dawn. So called ‘airline seats’ do not allow very good sleep.
Pedalling through the quiet early morning streets of Piraeus we were able to navigate our way 10km or so through the solidly built-up area into Athens…… finding a rather run-down park area offering shade we had our breakfast of Greek yogurt and honey and fresh cherries….
We arrived rather too early for our accommodation so we found another shady park area to doze a little on a bench before checking in.
We are in Athens for a couple of days’ sightseeing, first stop after 5pm when it’s a little cooler is the Acropolis… and the Parthenon on top.
Although partly clad in scaffolding (assisting re-construction and repair) the structure was still awe inspiring and there is that fantastic panoramic view across the city. We wandered about this huge archaelogical site marvelling at the civilization that was able to produce such artistry and culture more than 2,500 years ago.
Of course, we had to sample what the Plaka area had to offer for an evening meal before pedalling back to where we are staying through the busy Athenian streets.
The next day we visited the fresh food market near Monastiraki where there was an abundance of fresh fruit and veg, meat, fish and grocery stores.
It was here that we also nearly had our tandem stolen. Although we had locked the wheels to the frame we didn’t lock the tandem to an immovable object so three thieves lifted it to a secluded corner to try and force the locks… fortunately someone told us the direction they went and found them trying to unsuccessfully take the locks apart. We were able to retrieve our bike, fortunately with only damage to the Axa lock fitted to the rear wheel. They even tried to demand €20 compensation they said they had paid to “someone” for the bike.
Lesson for other two wheeled travellers parking your bike in this area…. have good locks and attach your bike to an immoveable object. There are plenty of sharp eyes and light fingers about!
We were soon able to be back on the road and found a bike shop to purchase an additional lock!
We were glad of our two wheeled transport in this hectic city… it meant we could visit most of the interesting areas and historic sites quite easily. Just had to get used to the chaotic Athenian driving and parking…. and the grid pattern of alternating one way streets.
We visited more of the fabulous antiquities, marvelling at how sophisticated ancient greece was. We discovered how Ancient Athenians were selected for jury service and how they decided to banish unpopular or inneffective politicians from the city by a voting process called ‘ostracisation’.
We also explored the Plaka area with its network of narrow streets and shops selling anything from souvenirs, jewellery, clothes or bicycles!
We had a delicious good value meal at a small family restaurant not far from Syntagma Square where we were able to see the military guard perform their strange ritual steps outside the Greek Parliament..
In the evening we watched an excellent show of folk dances performed at an open air dance centre just underneath the Acropolis. Fascinating to see the different costumes and dances from different parts of Greece, even Turkey, performed with skill and accompanied by appropriate live music .
After our brief stay we are now heading out west towards Corinthos and the Peloponese to continue our journey homeward.