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Athens is an amazing city where the ancient can be found juxtaposed to the modern. History is always just around the corner. Athens is vibrant despite the financial crisis which it has been enduring since 2010, and there are a lot of distractions to take one’s mind off the economic woes. You don’t need much money to enjoy yourself in Athens!
Summer in the city? Head for a beach!
After work jump on the metro, into your car or onto a bus and head for a beach. If you drive along the road east of Athens to Cape Sounio, you’ll find many beaches, so all you have to do is chose the one that suits you. Some have tavernas on them, others a mobile snack bar. At Sounio you can eat fresh fish and seafood and sit almost on the beach. You can sit under the temple of Poseidon and eat, gazing up at it. People go there at sunset to see the sun set through the columns. You’ll be serenaded by the cicadas in the pine trees all the way around the coast.
Visit the Acropolis
The ancient Acropolis can be seen from almost anywhere in central Athens and no visit to the city would be complete without roaming around it. While there, be sure to also take the time to visit the Herodion theatre. If you get the chance, see a concert there. The Acropolis is open until 8 pm in the summer and until 3 pm in the winter, so be sure to check the times online before going. Tickets to visit the site cost 20 euros.
There are several explanations of the term ‘Plaka’ as it relates to this area. Plaka means ‘joke,’ and you can certainly have a great laugh there. Also, the word can mean tiles, or flooring, so the name could refer to the marble slabs that pave the streets.
Plaka is a historic area under the Acropolis with restored Neo-Classical buildings and many souvenir shops, tavernas and restaurants. Try the Plaka Taverna on Kidathenaeion street. You can sample traditional Greek dishes, which go beyond moussaka and stuffed tomatoes. Greeks eat late, so tavernas rarely close before one am. Be careful if it rains, though, as the marble slabs can be slippery.
Apart from the new Acropolis museum there are many others. If you are only in Athens for a few days, you can’t hope to see them all. The Benaki museum is one of the best in Athens, and as it has different exhibitions, it is worth visiting more than once. Other museums include the National Museum, the museum of Cycladic Art and the National Art Gallery. Follow this link for more detailed information about opening hours and entrance fees. There is sure to be a museum that will interest you!
Take in an opera or a movie
The Greek National Opera, has moved to a new home in the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Centre. Look up its programme online. Athens hosts the latest films and has numerous cinemas. The National Theatre presents play that are ancient as well as modern. Follow the link to find out what’s on.
There’s so much to do and see in Athens that you are sure to want to return!
Lynne | Lynne8.Wordpress.com
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