Monday, July 15, 2024

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The Goddess Athena is calling you!

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If you are ready for a trip to Athens, let’s go! I bought my ticket on the spur of the moment to discover the hidden gems of this historical city with so much to see and experience. Have a good trip already!

When you set foot in Athens, one of the most important cities in Greece, you may be tired of the hustle and bustle of the city, but its historical structure and its status as a center of culture and art may make you forgive itself. Named after the Greek goddess Athena, Athens is a magnificent city full of ancient monuments, temples, ruins, and churches! If you love ancient Greece, this city is a paradise!

Since I bought my ticket to the Acropolis, a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage site, online in advance, I entered this world-famous temple without waiting in the long queues at the turnstiles. It is not easy to reach this ancient city located on high cliffs. I slowly climb up this hill in the middle of Athens to see the most important archaeological monuments. Temples, ancient theaters, monuments…The Acropolis could be the subject of an article on its own. I made a note here. For centuries the Acropolis has been home to many things. The home of kings, a fortress, the mythical home of the gods, a religious center, and a tourist attraction! It has withstood bombings, major earthquakes, and vandalism, but it still stands tall as a reminder of Greece’s rich history! I glide between the huge columns, avoiding the crowds of tourists. It’s a great feeling to be at one with history, and I spend almost half a day here without any hurry, with great pleasure and excitement!

I am on my way to the Agora now. Agora, the commercial center of ancient Athens, is located north of the Acropolis and means “marketplace”. The temples and monuments here are also worth seeing!

Athens proves to be a city that will reward those who prefer exploring on foot. As I walk around the city, I come across the ruins of temples and other monuments dedicated to the ancient Greek gods and take lots of photos. The ancient cities have become a part of the city and you get used to it after a while.

My next destination is museums. There are many museums in Athens! The Acropolis Museum and the National Archaeological Museum are perhaps the best known. For example, the National Archaeological Museum has the largest collection of ancient Greek art in the whole country. I recommend you to take your time and visit it.

Now it’s time to shop! Athens is a lovely city with various squares, such as Monastiráki Square, where you can also find a big shopping street. So, there is something for everyone to experience during a city break in Athens! Ermou Street is the most central and popular shopping spot in Athens for both locals and visitors. The Monastiraki flea market is full of tourist souvenirs and Greek signature leather accessories! For haute couture, Kolonaki district and the luxurious Voukourestiou Street are where your dreams come true! For thrift and vintage shopping, head to the artistic neighborhood of Exarcheia, the center of alternative culture. Shopping in Athens is a must-do for all incorrigible shopaholics!!! From creative trinkets and fabulous food to famous designers and unique boutiques, there is an answer to all your shopping needs in the Greek capital. So, I suggest you prepare yourself, put on something comfortable and enjoy your shopping experience in Athens!

If you are a boat and beach lover like me, you should go to Flisvos Marina on the Athenian Riviera! Flisvos Marina can be reached in about 10-15 minutes by tram, bus, or a short taxi ride from the city center. This is an attractive and walkable stretch of beach close to the city center. Of course, I go there despite my tiredness, feeling the cool sea breeze as I walk along at sunset. This coastline is about 4.5 km long and has a large marina, beaches, bars, and restaurants. Especially in the summer months, this is a very pleasant route for a stroll with all the classic seaside entertainment. Watching the luxury yachts, eating ice cream by the sea, watching the sunset, chatting with the fishermen or just contemplating the deep blue. The choice is yours?

If your visit coincides with the summer months, you can also enjoy an open-air movie theater. If you want to enjoy a movie after sunset under the stars, there is a popular open-air cinema next to Marina Flisvos. You can also relax and unwind at the end of the day?

For dinner, I met a friend of mine who lives in Athens and set off to enjoy a “taverna” style meal. Destination “Diporto»! There is no sign in front of Diporto, located in the heart of Athens, in the market district of the city. Following my friend, I enter through two brown axe doors leading underground. It looks like a refuge. There is no menu. All the food is made fresh and daily. Wine pours from large wooden barrels leaning against the walls. Greek salad, fava, moussaka, saganaki, feta cheese, and souvlaki (a kind of kebab) are served at our table. My friend prefers Ouzo, a Greek raki, while I order a white wine because I want to taste the wine. For dessert, we finish with melomakarona, the famous Greek dessert. With 129 years of tradition of old-school Greek food, I left this interesting restaurant feeling like I had experienced a dining experience from ancient times.

Saying “Athens, you are in my heart”, I start preparing for my return.

Inspired by the Acropolis;

The Compass Rose

The four Greek winds were standing there

To help him to find his cardinal directions,

Yet, he was too overwhelmed

by the lack of his emotions,

As soon as the compass rose smiled at him,

His wishes were fulfilled;

Now, he’s between the Devil and the blue sea…

May the sunshine be in your heart forever,

See you in the blues,

Banu Demir

Editor & Poet

Instagram: bluevoyage_blueroute

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