Athens Journals

Bill in Greece - ATHENS

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A May 2002 trip to Athens by billmoy

The Acropolis of Athens Photo, Athens, Greece More Photos
Quote: My trip to Athens was a fascinating visit to a modern city coping with the greatness of its past.

Bill in Greece - ATHENS

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Overview

Acropolis Photo, Athens, Greece
Quote:
Athens is not everyone's cup of tea, thanks to the congestion and other big-city qualities. However, with a bit of patience one will find the city to be quite an interesting place to be. The city is first and foremost a delight for those interested in ancient Greek architecture or archaeology. The Acropolis is THE most significant site of Greek architecture in the world. The National Archaeological Museum is a treasure trove of stunning Greek antiquities. Old ruins large and small dot the city. Athens has recaptured some of its past glory as the host of the 2004 Summer Olympic Games. The city was behind in its construction schedule, but overall it staged a successful version of the modern Olympi...Read More

Marriott Athens Ledra

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Hotel | "Ledra Marriott"

Marriott Athens Ledra Photo, Athens, Greece
Quote:
The Ledra Marriott is one of the more luxurious properties in Athens. The lobby floor features a concierge desk and a gift shop. There are 8 floors with 259 guest rooms, and several restaurants and bars for the international businessman. Its status as a businessman's hotel is confirmed by the proximity of many swanky "gentlemen's clubs" and the like. There is a new fitness room, but unfortunately I did not get a chance to check it out. The decor of the hotel is grand but rather mainstream, so the impression is that you could be in any nice hotel in any great metropolitan city. The standard room is nice and spacious, with a comfortable king bed topped by plenty of pillows. There is a large televi...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on June 10, 2002

Marriott Athens Ledra
115 SYNGROU AVENUE
Athens, Greece
30-210-930-0000

Hotel Attalos

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Hotel

Quote:
This budget hotel is centrally located on a main street in the Monastiraki area, just north of the Acropolis. The highlight of this hotel is its rooftop bar, which has outdoor seating with splendid views of the surrounding areas including the Acropolis. Order a reasonably-priced drink, pull up a seat, and soak in the fine views, day or night. During my last night in Athens, I enjoyed a couple of beers while gazing at the stars above and the dreamy Acropolis illuminated in the distance. The rooftop is a great place to chat with like-minded travelers from around the world. The decent-sized rooms at the Attalos have features like air-conditioning, cable television, and a little bathtub. You can tak...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on June 11, 2002

Hotel Attalos
29 Athinas Streett
Athens, Greece

Zafolia Hotel

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Hotel

Quote:
The Zafolia Hotel, popular with tour groups and business people, is located along a busy street north of Mount Lycavittos. The area is not too touristy, as the hotel is close but not that close to the Acropolis, the National Archaeological Museum or other popular areas. The soccer stadium for the popular Panathinaikos team and the nearest Metro station are about a mile east of the hotel. The area is populated with quaint little tavernas and local bakeries. There is a grocery store and a bakery conveniently located across the street from the hotel. The lobby is bright and spacious, with the front desk adjacent to the sliding glass front doors. There are two smallish elevators in the lobby area. T...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on June 17, 2002

Zafolia Hotel
87 89 ALEXANDRAS AVENUE
Athens, Greece 11474
302 10 6449002

Neon Syntagma

Restaurant | "Neon Cafe"

Quote:
This unassuming cafeteria located just west of Syntagma Square is a comfortable, modern cafe serving familiar Greek specialties. Some people who think of Greek food as some unwanted adventure may feel better at a simple place like this. The various dishes are clearly marked by name and price at the counters for your ordering convenience. Grab a tray and pick your poison: moussaka, pastitcio, grilled meats, and veggies. Once you have chosen your entree, the server shovels a portion on a plate and nukes it in the microwave for you. This is not earth-shaking cuisine, but the meals are hearty, filling, and easy to order. I selected souzoukakia (that's fun to say!), with spicy l...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on July 9, 2002

Neon Syntagma
3 Mitropoleos Street
Athens, Greece 105 57
+30 210 324 6873

Quick Pitta

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Restaurant

Quote:
I was introduced to Quick Pitta via the magic of advertising! I saw an ad in a local tourist guide with a coupon offering a free glass of beer or soda. Feeling the hunger pang after a romp amongst the ruins, I dropped in on Quick Pitta, which is conveniently located in a touristy area just north of the Acropolis. There is a bilingual menu signboard in front of the establishment, and there is usually a server genially asking you to come in and take a look. The decor of the two-level establishment is spartan and has a clean fast-food look to it, with glass walls and casually spaced tables. The service is prompt and efficient for dine in or take away. The menu at Quick Pitta is not exte...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on June 11, 2002

Quick Pitta
Mitropoleos 55 at Aiolou
Athens, Greece
30-10-3249285

Mainalon

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Restaurant

Quote:
This very casual restaurant is popular with the locals, and is a good spot to try some typical Greek dishes at very reasonable prices. The outdoor dining area is surprisingly quiet considering its location on the south side of busy Alexandras Street, and it achieves this calm thanks to roof awnings and sidewalk planters. The small indoor dining room is plain, but it is a comfortable place to hang out and have a casual meal, watch TV or have a drink. This stretch of Alexandras Street seems to have quite a few drinking establishments, but Mainalon appealed to us because it has a good selection of food as well. The menu is all in Greek, but you can clearly see many trays of food items displayed in ...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on June 10, 2002

Mainalon
74 Alexandras
Athens, Greece
30-10-6437295

Petros Grill House

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Restaurant

Quote:
This restaurant is located on a quaint street in the heart of the Plaka area. The interior is dark and intimate, with a few tables spilling onto the pavement for fine al fresco dining. The menu, presented in several languages, is extensive enough for a snack or for a larger meal. There is a decent flow of people ordering gyros to go, but this is a good place for a quick sit-down meal if you are in Plaka. I had saganaki, which is literally set afire and served as "flaming cheese" in your typical Greektown USA restaurant. Here it is presented in a quieter manner, a slab of singed cheese with a lemon wedge. It tastes like mozzarella cheese on a typical pizza. It is a good appetizer but try to share...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on June 10, 2002

Petros Grill House
28 Kidathineon
Athens, Greece
0

Sissifos

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Restaurant

Quote:
Open since 1968, Sissifos is in the touristy Plaka area on the northern slope of the Acropolis hill. A sidewalk hawker, who did a good job in filling up the outside roof garden with customers, lured my friend and me into this taverna. As advertised, there are great views of the vast Athens cityscape from the outside dining area, although the setting sun is very strong at dinnertime. Large sunbrellas will do their best to shield diners until sunset; then they are taken down ceremoniously by the waitstaff to improve the overall scope of the views. There is also a nice dining room with orange-tinted walls below the roof garden level, but this space was deserted on the day of our visit since the weather w...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on June 10, 2002

Sissifos
31 Mnisikleous
Athens, Greece
30-10-3246043

Temple of Poseidon at Cape Sounion

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Attraction

Quote:
The Temple of Poseidon is located at Cape Sounion, approximately 2 hours by local bus from central Athens. Before you dismiss the prospect of spending such a long time to see only one "thing", let me describe the scene for you. The Temple of Poseidon is one of the best-preserved classic temples in all of Greece. It is located at an elevated and historically strategic level overlooking the beautiful blue Aegean Sea. Even if you are not a fanatic of architecture, you will still marvel at the magnificent 360-degree views from the top of the hill. You can see the beachfront below along with little boats racing by. Dare to peer over the edges of the rocks, but do not lean too far or you will plunge i...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on June 7, 2002

Temple of Poseidon at Cape Sounion
Cape Sounion
Athens, Greece

The Acropolis of Athens

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Attraction | "Acropolis"

The Acropolis of Athens Photo, Athens, Greece
Quote:
If you have only time to do one thing in Athens, it has to be a pilgrimage to the Acropolis. Perched on one of the city's rocky hills, the Acropolis is supremely glorious and can be seen from many locations in the city. A big selling point for the hotel is that it has a rooftop level with a view of the Acropolis. The climb to the top of the Acropolis is not as bad as it may seem, although it still demands a certain level of exertion and carefulness. The steps are steep and the marble surfaces can be quite slick. Although its delicate condition has been affected over the years by natural deterioration, disasters, outright pillaging, and unfortunate restoration techniques, the Parthenon still sta...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on June 7, 2002

The Acropolis of Athens
Dionysiou Areopagitou St.
Athens, Greece
+30 210 32 14172

Mount Lycabettus/Lykavittos

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Attraction | "Mount Lycavittos"

Quote:
The highest hill in Athens, Mount Lycavittos ("Hill of the Wolves") is a bulbous maze of streets, stairways, residential areas, trees, shops, and who knows what else. It is a living breathing part of the fabric of the city. My friend and I wanted to get to the top of Mount Lycavittos in the dusk hours to see the sunset. We had intended to take the funicular to the top, but unfortunately it was being repaired that evening (we did not know if this was an ongoing situation). We were met by an opportunistic taxi driver who offered a pricey fare of 30 euro for a ride to the top. That made us even more determined to climb our way to the top! We were able to walk up a maddening zigzag sequen...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on June 7, 2002

Mount Lycabettus/Lykavittos

Athens, Greece 999-20
01-722-7065

National Archaeological Museum

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Attraction

National Archaeological Museum Photo, Athens, Greece
Quote:
The National Archaeological Museum is housed in a neoclassical building designed by the noted German architect Ernst Ziller in 1889. It houses perhaps the most impressive collection of ancient Greek treasures in the world. The neoclassical design of the exterior tries its best to keep up with the true Greek classic style of the works it houses. This museum includes the so-called "Mask of Agamemnon" of gold excavated by Heinrich Schliemann at ancient Mycenae, the bronze "boy jockey" of Artemision that somehow stayed in great condition despite being fished out of the sea, and a range of excellent sculptures, pottery, furniture and jewelry. I found the collection of minimalistic Cycladic marble sc...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on June 7, 2002

National Archaeological Museum
44 Patission St
Athens, Greece 106 82
+30 210 821 7717

Syntagma Square

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Attraction

Syntagma Square Photo, Athens, Greece
Quote:
Otherwise known as Constitution Square, "Syntagma Square" is a very significant area that you will probably encounter several times during your stay in Athens. The square fronts the former Royal Palace (by architect F. von Gartner 1836-42), which was converted to the Greek Parliament in 1935. The soldiers (evzoni) who guard the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier lure most visitors to this spot. There is a changing of the guard ceremony at the top of each hour, and the colorfully dressed soldiers perform stylized sequences of steps and movements. Yes, this event takes place at the wee hour of 2AM, as I was one of only three people at this particular time to witness the ceremony while waiting for the airport b...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on June 11, 2002

Syntagma Square
Center of Athens
Athens, Greece

Ruins in Athens

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Attraction | "Various ruins in Athens"

Ruins in Athens Photo, Athens, Greece
Quote:
While the Acropolis is the most significant complex of ruins in Athens, there are many other notable ruins located around the city. Just north of the Acropolis is the Agora, which features an impressive jumble of ruins large and small. The Theseion (also called the Hephaisteion), which dates from 415 BC, is one of the best-preserved temples in all of Greece. This stone Doric temple is older and smaller than the Parthenon, which of course is constructed from marble. The long Stoa of Attalos, built in the 2nd Century BC but completely reconstructed in the 1950's, serves as a museum for relics found in the Agora. The covered walkway has a few benches to escape from the sun, along with public bathro...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on June 11, 2002

Ruins in Athens
Various locations
Athens, Greece

Byzantine Churches

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Attraction | "Byzantine Churches in Athens"

Byzantine Churches Photo, Athens, Greece
Quote:
Athens is most famous for its cornucopia of ancient Greek ruins, but the city also has a wealth of wonderful Byzantine churches. Many of these are only as large as a house, lending them an earthy quaintness. Here are a few of the more famous ones in Athens. The cute little Church of Kapnikarea sits in the middle of the pedestrian Ermou Street, acting as a Byzantine centerpiece to this "plaza". The structure consists of two adjoining chapels (11th and 13th Centuries), but the paintings are from modern times. The Megali Mitropoli stands in tandem with the older and smaller Mikri Mitropoli. As the names may indicate, the larger "Megali" serves as the main Greek Orthodox Athens Cathedral ...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on June 11, 2002

Byzantine Churches
Various locations
Athens, Greece