Thursday, 21 July 2016

To Wander in Athens

I see him once a year, more if I’m lucky. He meets me at a small hotel near the Acropolis, elegant as always, sporting olive green trousers, a crisp shirt, English suede brogues, and an olive kerchief. His bearded face smiles. He pushes my suitcase into the small, mirrored elevator and I follow him. 

My bag is so heavy it looks like I have bite-marks on my shoulder. Luggage bites. I shouldn’t have brought so many books. Here I am in Athens with my father. I show him the present brought him from Spain: a chunk of manchego cheese. We hear a car stop outside and peer over the balcony. Daisy has arrived.

An hour later we are wandering around the Acropolis. We see a man singing on the street and Daisy stops to talk to him. My father shows us the city with an ice cream cone in one hand. He delights in pointing out the narrow streets, old neon signs, hidden corners, and fashionable bars. We stop in a subterranean spot, The Speakeasy. I order a gin & tonic with white peppercorns and a slice of grapefruit. More drinks, more stories. Dinner follows. We feast at Tzitzikas & Mermingas. After a digestive stroll to the hotel Daisy presents us with chocolates from Fortnum & Mason. My father leaves, manchego in hand.

The next day Daisy and I visit the Acropolis Museum. She marvels at the vertigo-inducing glass floors. We pause in front of a statue of Aphrodite. Her stone face is stained with copper eyelash tears.

I want to visit the Classic Car Museum but there isn’t time. Soon we are on the boat, perusing the 60s pulp paperbacks Daisy brought from London. They are obscene and hilarious. Together we devour the hours.


Visit The Acropolis, the Acropolis Museum, the classic car museum, and the Benaki Museum.

If you’re exploring the Acropolis, make an evening of it and walk to the fantastic gelateria La Greche, have a cocktail at Speakeasy (address: Lekka 12, Syntagma), then have a bite at Tzitzikas & Mermingas.

According to my Athenian friends here are some fun Athenian areas to walk around in:
Koukaki (artistic, good for nightlife, close to Plaka and the Acropolis.
Mets (hip bars and restaurants. Check out Hotel Chelsea.)
Petralona (cool cafés)

Here are some other semi-secret bars...

There are lots of hipper places to stay but if you want somewhere friendly, basic, and clean, in a convenient neighborhood the Acropolis Select Hotel is good.

You can read about my last trip to Athens here.

The view from the ferry.

No comments: