Last Day in Athens and on to Piraeus

Today I’ve taken it a bit easy – especially after yesterday’s experience in Anafiotika. I headed down to Gypsy Jungle for breakfast again.

Once fully charged I headed off to see the Evzones in Syntagma Square. Who doesn’t love a bit of Evzones action!

I never tire of seeing this spectacle and September is a perfect time for this – a little less busy than mid summer so less people to elbow out of the way! (Only joking – I’m usually the recipient of the elbow rather than the Elbowee!)

The whole affair is fascinating especially the inspection of the Evzones by the soldier on duty. It looks like a very intimate process, the way they straighten their garters and run their fingers along the silk tassle of the Farion cap. And the Evzone never flinches. I watched the soldier on duty talk to one of the Evzones – it clearly didn’t look like business the way he was stretching his arms back and looking off into the distance. I can just imagine the content of this one way conversation. “Yeah I was thinking of grabbing a few Mythos later tonight at that new bar in Psiri. Oh my God don’t look now but the woman over there in the purple is going to make a bee-line for you when it’s photo opportunity time! However, Evzones No 1 didn’t move at all apart from the blink of his eyes.

After the 11am changing of the guards I followed in the footsteps of the Evzones that have just come off duty, up past the grand Embassy buildings on the left and around the corner to the entrance of the National Gardens – always my favourite place in Athens to seek peace and some shade. Well I say peace – you’ve always got the green parrots squawking overhead! Just a note – there are entrances to the National Gardens on all sides however, it seems that the entrance opposite the Embassies is closed. I had read that they had been closed for a while during the terrible summer fires and especially as there had been a threat of arson in the parks and gardens of Athens.

To find the next entrances just continue along the road (following some dashing Evzones if you like!) and take the first right where the Evzones barracks are and a little further up you will find an entrance. Ah peace and tranquillity for 30 minutes!

Later back at the apartment I read that due to unforeseen circumstances, tonight’s The Walk event in Metaxourgio has been cancelled. I suspect – and this is only a guess but I think this could be due to further protests by a right wing faction. Although at last night’s event I didn’t see any obvious protests, as we reached Technopolis I noticed lots of black and white flyers on the ground. A man was frantically picking them up off the floor but he clearly wasn’t on litter picking duty. I’d also noticed some negative comments on The Walk’s Facebook page – supporters of this particular group associated with the flyers and also all wrapped up the Anti Vax groups. I’d posted a few words on The Walk’s page to congratulate them on a brilliant event and I got some laughing face emoji’s and a couple of comments. Let’s see if everything goes ahead for Piraeus tomorrow. I’m sure that the creative organisation from Athens have put a lot of time, effort and money into creating the events – let’s hope they can be showcased to an audience.

Before I go out to eat, I take the elevator up to the 6th floor above the apartment to Ciel, the rooftop bar. Although I love a good roof terrace I’m only here to take some photographs. It is quite a young crowd that frequent this bar but don’t let that put you off. The bar is fantastic. On the 6th floor there is an inside bar but if you take a set of steps next to the elevator there is an open air roof terrace that looks directly over to the cathedral. I’ll definitely come for a Margerita next time!

I headed to Taverna Platanos again because it is a nice friendly taverna just a stones throw from the apartment and set a tiny bit away from the main tourist drag. The tables are set under a canopy of trees giving lots of shade. Oh that retsina is good! Actually it is some of the best retsina I’ve had – all from the barrel.

I have a bit of a mooch around (the British term – not the American one!) but I’ve done enough aimless wandering for the last two days so I go back to the apartment to pack. Oh and to download photo’s and put my ramblings to computer.

Goodnight Athens!

I have a couple of tasks to do this morning before checking out. Firstly breakfast – I choose a place just a bit further down from Gypsy Jungle called Pame Tsipouro Pame Kafeneio and have pancakes with fresh fruit which also came with toast and jam. This little stretch on Aiolou Street is a great place for breakfast options

When I packed last night I realised that the suitcase that I’d bought was too big so needed to exchange it for a smaller one. My rationale said buying a slightly larger case so that I could stuff it full of new dresses. However that is ridiculous. I’m not here to shop. Firstly I swung by the suitcase shop on Athinas Street to ask if this would be OK. The “Fat man” as the guy from Mad Cat had called him said “no problem!”. Back to the apartment I go, I throw out my freshly packed clothes and wheel the empty piece of luggage back to Athinas Street, swap for a smaller one and take it back to pack – again!

Before I check out of the apartment I email the hosts to thank them for my stay and also to tell them that I’ve left a broken suitcase in the room – just in case the cleaners think there’s a dead body in it!

Let me say at this point that I don’t think that there is a better location for a short stay in Athens. Mitropolous is in a straight line from Monastiraki Square and straight up it goes past the Cathedral and on to Syntagma Square (Evzones, National Gardens). Going across Mitropoulos, the street that the Ennattica Monastiraki Living apartments is on will take you to Plaka/Anafiotika, Tower of the Winds – literally a stones throw away. You’re also a short walk to Athinas Street and the fish market and then Psiri.

Now I’m ready to head off to Monastiraki Metro Station. I buy a ticket from a man in a kiosk (located close to the gates) and hoik my luggage down the steps. The lifts are out of action due to Covid protocols. Heavens I dread to think how may germs were in the tiny lift at the apartment especially as it served the very popular Ciel Bar on the 6th floor!

The Metro is busy – standing room only but standing by the door isn’t so bad when you can catch a breeze every time it opens. Besides it’s only 20-25 minutes to Piraeus. I’m staying at the Anemoni Hotel, a hotel that we use at Hidden Greece. It’s always good to try hotels out that you sell and because of its location it is ideal for overnight stays before catching a ferry.

Google maps sends me on a merry old dance and what should have taken 10 -15 minutes took me 35.

Anyway, I’m here. I’ve got all fingers and toes crossed that the The Walk events with Amal goes ahead this evening. I wait in anticipation!

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