Well – I arrived here late on Spy Wednesday, and spent Maundy Thursday recovering/easing into my 100 days without Rosalie – forgetting that the Greeks take Easter very seriously. Most tourist sites are on restricted hours, or are shut till Tuesday.
I got up at 6:00 again, showered and walked back along the Athens road to Monastiraki, then climbed up through Plaka (sounds like a gum disease) to the Acropolis. Plaka is bohemian in the extreme, but is also about 30% slum or very contemporary ruin. Lots of vacant blocks, razor wire to keep squatters out, and angry graffiti. There’s tons of the latter – Athens doesn’t seem to be a relaxed place – lots of poor/unemployed/beggars/migrants. Not a healthy mix. Most locals seem to be stressed.
I climbed the Areopagus, and took in the view – all of Athens is spread out below.
A beautiful sight. I then moved on to the Acropilis entrance, priding myself on beating the tourist c/rush – but was greeted by a sign stating that it was shut, cos Easter, till 1:00pm. Ah well. Back down through the Plaka, and found my bike shop in the Monastiraki flea market, where i bought a smallish top box for my bike’s rear rack.
I have slightly more stuff to carry than will fit comfortably in the two panniers – mainly post-stroke drugs; nearly four months worth.
So I wallked through the Agora park towards the Agora ( a mini Pathenon type ruin) – also shut. The park is an unofficial home to many Eastern European migrants – a true shanty town. There are no toilets, so the fence along the Agora itself is fouled dreadfully. Ditto for accommodation – there are no structures, just plastic sheets and cardboxes for shelter. It’s getting out of control here, folks.
I got breakfast – fresh spanakopita and a coffee outside the fish market – a true highlight for a lad born in a fishing port. Aromatic and redolent of all things piscine. Yum.
Back to the pub. started organising packing, then I did the tourist thing – jumped on a s tour, which took me to all the places I’d walked too but in one tenth of the time – the only difference was that I was upstairs on a double decker bus, so had a better view.
I headed back towards the Acropolis, but gave up – the walk up from Plaka was wall to wall tourists, all heading up to the entrance. I’m not a crowd person, so I found a small cafe and had a late lunch, and watched them in awe, milling around like shepherdless sheep, following the loudspeakered guides.
Back to the pub via a few less crowded touristy things – and there is no shortage, truly – then a final pack, a quich seafood pizza and I’m here, getting ready for tomorrow’s ride. I’m heading towards Corinth – dunno if I’ll get there, as I’ve now has a week off the bike. We’ll see. I’m really looking forward to giving my legs a spin.
See you down the road.