Athens Greece 2021

Acropolis and Parthenon from Philopappos Hill – Anshar Images

I arrived in Athens July 2. The flight from Istanbul was uneventful, but the security checks and preparation required for moving between Turkey and Greece were painfully daunting – sigh. What was I thinking to travel internationally during the covid pandemic?

Milos Island Firiplaka Beach

This time, I stapled the covid vaccination card to my passport. During previous flights, I thought I’d lost it a gazillion times, but found it in the bottom of my bag when feeling frazzled at the end of a hectic day.

The Acropolis and Parthenon – Greek TravelTellers

Luckily, my paperwork was in order, but getting to the departure gate at IST required multiple security screenings and presenting a Passenger Locator Form (PLF) over and over. It would have been easier to just tattoo the PLF QR code on my forehead!

Temple of Olympian Zeus – WeCityGuide

I sat next to two rough-and-tumble Saudis during the Aegean Airlines flight. I didn’t pay extra for a seat selection on a short 1.5-hour flight and was seated at the window, sandwiched in by two BIG Saudi guys. They practically climbed over me to get aerial shots of the Greek Islands. I came close to smacking one of them, and they backed off a bit. Gruesome images of brutally murdered Jamal Khashoggi flashed through my mind…

Athens National Gardens – The Athens Key

Athens is an endearing place, and I’m comfortable here. It’s a big change from Istanbul. Undecided if I’ll spend my entire 90-day EU visa allotment in Greece – maybe so? My apartment is comfortable, and I had a refreshing night’s sleep. It’s in the popular Koukaki neighborhood, at the foot of the Acropolis and Filopappos Hill. I’m still getting oriented and organized, taking care of the humdrum – SIM card, metro pass, Euros, etc.

Fyropotamos Beach Milos Island –

In Greece, you’re required to physically distance, but face masks aren’t mandatory when outside. That’s great, because in the heat, it’s miserable walking and climbing hills with a mask covering your face.

Preveza – charterworld

THERE’S SO MUCH TO DO IN ATHENS! It’s a wild and crazy place. My apartment is 5 minutes’ walk from the Syngrou-Fix Metro station. During my last visit in 2013, Athens was in the midst of austerity demonstrations in Syntagma Square. Now, Greece is part of the EU.

House on Tsami Karatasou Street

My apartment is in an interesting residential district, within walking distance to just about anything your heart could desire. The following attractions are a 10-15-minute walk away, and I will visit them several times. The hour of the day and position of the sun or moon creates fascinating reflections on the structures:

Kalambacka Village Greece – Agoda

It was dark by the time I was able to venture out last night, and every block I walked had two or more outside pubs overflowing with locals – afterall, it was Friday night. Although the Greek economy is slow, so far, the people seem calm and sweet. Athens has an appealing ambience, and everyone I’ve encountered so far has been friendly and welcoming.

Tsami Karatasou House of Artist Margarita Theodorakis, Daughter of Zorba the Greek Composer, Mikis Theodorakis

The weather is hot, like the US West Coast, but today it’s only in the 90s, rather than 100s. My apartment is air-conditioned, so if things get too heated, I can retreat there. I unknowingly got a “farmer’s tan” with funny-looking t-shirt marks on my arms.

House on Tsami Karatasou Street Near My Apt

Athens is a good place to get a performing arts fix. They have outdoor concerts all summer at the Megaron Athens Concert Hall. A variety of artists and music are presented. The Musicians of Camerata are performing Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons on July 15, and I hope to get a ticket.

Preveza Marina – travelgreecetraveleurope

I talked to locals about less-touristed islands and outlying areas to visit and am researching interesting suggestions – Milos Island, known as a “beaches paradise,” Kalambaka Village, and Preveza, are described as a Greek “seaside gems and serious bucket-list adventures”.

House on Tsami Karatasou Street Athens Near My Apt

More later…


    1. suemtravels

      The islands are surely a totally different world than Athens, but I hope to experience a few (small) new ones this trip. Lots of people from Belgrade visit Crete. It’s a popular Serbian holiday spot. The heat definitely makes running around Athens more difficult…. Skies are perfectly crystal blue, and the sun is wicked!

      1. Garrulous Gwendoline

        All those years ago I spent a week on Patmos. Easily reached from Piraeus. Again, so gorgeous (then), and completely different music, accent and slightly different food to Crete.
        When I lived on Crete Serbia was Yugoslavia and no one was getting in or out of the country easily. My part of the island was popular with Swedish and German tourists.
        I remember the Aegean sea as being the most blue I had ever seen. And I got so dark in my time on Crete that no one believed I was Aussie (I do have Sicilian blood).
        Tourist season ran from April to October. You are slap bang in the hottest part of the year which will extend in August. Enjoy!

      1. suemtravels

        Greece is a place where you can relax and totally be yourself! I love that about it! I’m on the way to Acropolis Hill but stopped for a bite at a café where they spray cold water on you from above to help with a cool down.

    1. suemtravels

      Ordered a LARGE draft beer and got several approval smiles from the macho guys at the cafe :)….. Greek beer is almost as good as Belgian beer, especially in heat.

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