There's a lot of graffiti in Athens and most of it is just junk written by losers with too much time on their hands. But a few times, we ran into some genuine art and I thought I'd share it with you.
Athens is a sprawling metropolis. About 200 hundred years ago, when the city was forced to take on refugees from the Greco-Turkish war, the then small city surrounding the Acropolis exploded and the buildings and streets were built out of the need to house the incoming people. As a result, there's not much urban planning or beautification in the parts of the city not immediately surrounding the acropolis (save for the metro and buildings created for the Olympic games in 2000). Because of this, touring lends itself to staying in the areas within main hub of the city surrounding the Acropolis. Even then, Athens can be tough. It's full of hills (think San Francisco, but without level sidewalks) and is hot hot hot. There are some charming areas to be found on the hillside, and the ubiquitous acropolis creeps into view at unexpected moments, a constant reminder of just how old this city is.
I like it. It was fascinating. The acropolis and its new museum were entirely worth the trip, but like the Greek isles, I couldn't help but feel like it's all been a little over-hyped. Greece seems to be a top destination on many American's wish list (myself included), but I can't quite see why. It isn't beautiful like Paris, accessible like London, or enchanting like Rome. It's not cutting edge like Berlin, or exotic (but accessible) like Prague. Santorini was certainly lovely, but I can't quite put my finger on what it is about Greece that's got everyone so excited. Am I jaded? I don't feel like I am. Maybe I've missed it. Maybe reflection and time will cast it in a softer light. I certainly didn't dislike it, so there's something to be said about that.
One thing that was a highlight of the trip was going to Strofi, an Athenian restaurant with impeccable service and a killer view of the acropolis. The food was marvelous and we had a wonderful evening. If you are in Athens, it's an absolute must to have a bit of a splurge dinner and eat here. Warning: you must have a reservation as the seating is limited for the terrace. And let's face it, if you're not on the terrace, you're missing out on the whole point of going there.
I think there might be a different set of requirements for the Athens police force. I'm assuming that they go through a vigorous training on how to control crowds, shoot bad guys and generally keep the peace, but I'm also pretty sure that they have to be at least a 7. Let's face it, after some very serious data tracking (which includes walking up every darn hill in Athens and taking note), I'm fairly certain you have to be both built and gorgeous to be on the police force. Because these guys are all good looking. Like, all of them. So I took a picture with a few of these lovely gentlemen for all of womankind. And for proof. ;) (I think you should note the one in the middle, who looks like a Greek GI Joe)
Baker. Traveler. Writer.