A Walk in the heart of Athens…1

Duration: A couple of days or more…

Timing: Sometime in Winter…

Budget: Moderate

Gear: A fresh bottle of water, comfy shoes, get dressed in layers as we are going up & down hill and finally download Here maps app with Greece/Athens offline map…

Mornings

We start from the Plaka, particularly at Adam’s hotel, which offers the delight of staying 5 mins away from the Acropolis of Athens for a decent amount of money. The only trick is that you pay 7 euros extra for breakfast, which you can easily avoid. Though a kettle isn’t one of their amenities, there is a mini bar so you can stack some cheese, cold cuts, fruits and booze, add to that some dried toast/biscuits and your light meals  are covered.

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A street in the Plaka

Head east towards Adrianou street, your map will guide you along the shortest route. I recommend you to sway a little up north and explore the Anafiotika; a scenic old neighbourhood built right under the Acropolis and filled with tiny houses. It’s a joy to explore the small alleys and don’t forget to  smile and greet people you meet in the area.

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Anafiotika streets

dscf9555Continue towards your destination, pass by the roman Agora, then walk beside the ancient Agora you’ll find a lot of cafes on your right side, I recommend Didos, they serve a slow cooked greek coffee in its traditional pot. The setup reminds me of the local coffee places in Egypt and well; slow cooked turkish coffee…

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On Adrianou street

After your perfect cup of coffee hopefully in the sun, you’ll find the entrance of the Ancient Agora right in front of you, the word means in greek a public place for assembly, usually a market place. It has several altars, houses, a temple over a hill, a big well perserved stoa (covered walkway) and a museum. On the east you’ll find the Roman Agora, a smaller version of the greek one, famous for the tower of the winds and ruins.

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Ancient Agora, temple of Hephaestus

At the rear end of the roman agora, you can spot Hadrian’s library, which used to be a roman forum in concept yet there isn’t much left now,  on your way to Monastiraki’s square and near Monastiraki’s Flea Market. The flea market extends from Ermou street to the narrow alleys ending in a small square that are full of different shops and stands displaying all sorts of antiques.

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Last wall remaining in the library…

Since this is a very touristic area; some of the items (books, records, cloths, antiques, furniture, old cameras) on sale can have exaggerated price tags. The market is not artificial though, you just have to find your way to low key shops in side roads. If I were you, I’d take a break and stop for a Gyros and maybe a mythos.

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Gyros and a fresh Mythos…

From this point you can head to Ermou street and take the direction to Kerameikos site. In Latin it’s Ceramicus or ceramic in English, yes, you have guessed it right that was the potters quarter in the city, it’s located next to Eridanos river that was the source of clay needed for pottery. The river is very narrow though, so please don’t expect too much. The area has a lot of interesting remains, each has a good story behind.

Take Ermou street back towards syntagma square, enjoy the shops. The flea market side is good for people watching, sit in a cafe and take it all in. You’ll reach a point where Monastiraki square is on your right, and Athena street is on your left. Take the left as if you were heading to Omonia square, some people think it’s dirty, crowded and just not worth it. I say it has a heart beat and a soul. While wandering around pass by the central market, enjoy the music of the butcher cleavers along with their banter.

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Central market…

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Kerameikos

Byzantine churches are spread all over; small, antique and serene. It’s usually open, so take the time to get inside and light a candle, pray for love and peace, pray for a blessed day and those who need God the most…

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A little prayer…

To Be Continued…

One thought on “A Walk in the heart of Athens…1

  1. Pingback: A walk in the heart of Athens…2 | Rou5a Travels

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