Athens: 19 Hours in the Greek Capital

The neighborhood

It is such a pleasant place to wander around in. We walked in the area briefly in the afternoon — and again in the evening, en route from our hotel to our dinner site, still within the Plaka.

We had dinner at a taverna called Stou Psarra. The taverna was cozy and comfortable and the food good, especially the openers, which included some spanakopita (spinach pie in phyllo dough), also the moussaka (beef and eggplant), which melted in my mouth.

The Electra Palace Hotel, conveniently located in the Plaka.

After a peek at the lighted Acropolis during our walk back to the hotel, I couldn’t resist going to the roof — which has

Yellow taxicabs and a McDonald’s on Constitution Square in Athens.

a small swimming pool, amazingly — to view the lighted Acropolis.

I retraced my steps in the morning, as well, for matchless photo opportunities.

I did not have much time to spare, but also headed by foot a few blocks to Constitution Square, partly to see something else in the city and partly because our guide had said recent demonstrations against new austerity measures had caused damage to marble on buildings in the square, including the Parliament Building.

The stroll itself revealed how worn-out these parts of the city look at close range although, from a distance, Athens looks

A car-free walking street in the Plaka.

like the white, gleaming hilly city of my imagination. The

The venerable five-star Hotel Grande Bretagne faces Constitution Square in Athens.

sidewalks were broken, many buildings looked in need of serious maintenance. But it was not an issue of the city looking or being dirty.

In any case, on the big Constitution Square, with its weathered look, I had no idea if I was seeing new damage. I am not sure how close I could have gotten to the Parliament Building itself anyway. There were camera crews setting up on the side of the square that is nearest the Parliament, but I never got a good explanation about what was up.

It was becoming a very warm spring under bright sun as I walked back to the hotel to rejoin my group.

The Parthenon is the temple at left atop the world’s most famous hill, the Acropolis, seen from the roof of the Electra Palace Hotel.

We were being transferred at 8:30 a.m. to the port in Piraeus to board a cruise ship: Louis Cruises’ Louis Cristal.

Other ports of call included Istanbul, Izmir and Kusadasi for Ephesus in Turkey and Mykonos, Patmos, Rhodes, Crete, and Santorini in Greece.

 The writer, Nadine Godwin, is the author of the book, Travia: The Ultimate Book of Travel Trivia, published by The Intrepid Traveler. The details of the A380, the world’s largest passenger plane, cited above, are among the trivia items that appear in the book.

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