Even though we never made it to the Parthenon, we did a lot during our few days in Athens. We missed our Vouliagmeni sunsets so headed up to the highest point in Athens, Lykavittos Hill, located a few blocks from our apartment in Kolonaki, and watched the Parthenon welcome the night from afar (again).
The hill has a tiny church, Agios George, that overlooks the city.
In general, we have been very surprised by the quiet air in Athens. The largest crowd we saw was during our bike ride. Despite walking all over the city, we have yet to see a single protest. What we have noticed is that many stores are shut down, barricaded or have For Rent signs plastered on them. We have also seen anarchy graffiti everywhere. This is no doubt due to the Greek crisis. Despite this, the one place a visitor can count on finding company is a coffee house. No matter the time of day, there are always people sipping espresso, drinking frappes and reading papers. Notice how everyone is sitting against the wall so that they can do their share of people watching.
The city’s museums are working on reduced schedules as they can no longer afford to keep their staff full time. One thing that continues is the hourly changing of the guards at the parliament building.
Church also goes on and we paid a visit to Agios Dionnysios, dedicated to the first bishop of Athens. Kayan took church music as his cue to sing Katy Perry’s California Girls at the top of his lungs. Just when he belted out, “Daisy Dukes, bikinis on top,” we cowered out.
Athens is going through a hard time. People told us to be careful where we walked, watch our stuff and not to stay out late in unknown areas. Crime has been an issue since the Olympics but, in the wake of the crisis, has escalated. Despite the caution and quiet atmosphere, we enjoyed Athens. We also feel oddly good that we did our part to stimulate the Greek economy. Our average meal in Greece has been 30 Euros ($37), far higher than any other country we have visited on our trip, including our standard spots in New York City. The three Luke girls leave happy.
And the three Luke boys are ready to protect us in the wilds of Namibia.