Akhmal Travels: Athens, Greece


From Venice of the North to the City of Violet Crowns.

Athens, Greece.

First thing first, if you are leaving from a European city (Except for the UK), there's no need for you to get your passport checked at the immigration control. We wasted half a day going back and forth to the airport because we thought we entered illegally without the stamp.

That was silly. We were new to this.

Athens. Athens. Athens. Where do I start.

The heaven/haven for the Greek mythology lovers. There's just a lot of places you could visit here. The view of the city was, indeed, beautiful. 


Mount Lycabettus. Tens of temples. It's a divine integration of old and modern in a city.

Of course, our main goal was the Acropolis, the famous city of Greek goddess Athena.


Almost slipped there. oops. It's a limestone hill, it's slippery alright.

It's hard to miss Acropolis when you're in the city (or on a slippery hill). It's just getting there that's a bit troublesome. You do need a map to get around here. It is a 20-minute walking distance from our apartment in Syntagma. Although, you need to know how to navigate around (what's with the unfamiliar signs with Greek letters ayayay).

It's quite a hike, actually. But the weather was good.

Once you reach there, just follow the trail of tourists, straight to the ticket counter. It's 20 euros per person.

Just flash your EU student card...


...and it's free entrance.

It was breathtaking, oh my God. I couldn't believe for a moment I was there. 



The Erechtheion/Erechtheum


Odeon of Herodes Atticus

and of course, the famous Parthenon


It was hard to take a good shot with tourists milling around (and some construction). but my photos are alright.


It's hard to not enjoy the view of Athens here.

Oh yes. Most temples close at 3pm. 3PM. I can never understand why. So be sure to leave your place early.

We did walk around afterwards, going from one tourist spot to another. We did visit Temple of Olympian Zeus, Arch of Hadrian, Zappeion, to name a few.

And then, we entered Acropolis Museum (me being me, I enjoyed a good frozen yoghurt going here). Oh! There was a marathon (it's a Greek thing) for people with Down Syndrome going on, a live band & tons of souvenir shops along the way. Of course, more explicit badges as well. I'm just forewarning you, really... unless that's your kind of souvenirs.

Back to Acropolis Museum. 

This is where all the statues are stored. Again, free entrance if you're a EU student (UK included). 

Here are a few of the many statues of Apollo and Athena.



Not sure if cameras were allowed, but.......... you know ;)

LUNCH!


A soft, tender Halal beef + wheat grain. SO GOOD.

And then, another 20 minutes walk to another hot spot in Athena (there was a lot of walking but quite worth it!)

Another heaven/haven especially for the Olympians.



Panathenaic Stadium.


If I remember correctly, this was where the very first Olympic happened.

Unfortunately we did have to pay for this one. 4 euros.



This was also when my dad was utterly amazed that it still exists.

If you explore the inside, you'll get to discover a collection of posters and torches from the past Olympics on display. Classy.

Last but not least, we went to the markets in Athens, in particular, Monastiraki Flea Market where they sell all the cheap stuff. Apparently, you can bargain as well. Although, you HAVE to be cautious with your things here. It's a hot spot for pickpockets. We weren't lucky enough, unfortunately.

Athens overall was nice. Although, without the temples, not so much. What you have to face, though, are the people. They are something. Some Greek people we faced were quite rude (and I mean REALLY rude, especially at the airport and the homeless). Although, some were very nice.

Some streets in Athens are quite dodgy, actually. I mean, SO dodgy that we came across a trail of blood. I'm not even joking. You might want to avoid OMONOIA SQUARE at all cost. It is dangerous, despite having a large number of Muslim population. Political unrest, you'd understand, especially with the refugee issues happening at the moment.

Oh yes, don't go out after dark. It's scary. If your flight is at night, just grab a taxi to the airport. It's affordable and safer.

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Survival tips in Athens, Greece:
1) If you're a EU student, carry your student ID with you. Free entrances!
2) Don't worry to much if your passport doesn't get stamped if you're coming from a EU city (except for the UK)
3) Halal food is HARD to find here.
4) PICKPOCKETS especially in markets.
5) Avoid going out at night & especially Omonoia Square area. Dangerous and high crime rate. Places with tickets are safer.
6) You will face rude people. Just be mentally prepared. Just put your shades on and put on your best RBF.

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See you, inshaAllah, next week at my favourite place on earth to date! It's going to be a two-part travelog. Can't wait!

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