Athens – Day 1: Psiri and Monastiraki
From November 2-6 Michael and I were in Athens. Our friend from Amsterdam, Nikos, is currently back in his home town for a 9 months project and we took the opportunity to visit him and finally make it for the very first time in our lives to Athens and to Greece!
Our flight from Barcelona via Rome was pleasant. From the airport we took the train to the city center and arrived to Monastiraki square where Nikos picked us up to walk us to our hotel.
The O&B Athens Boutique Hotel was lovely being situated between Psiri and the Monastiraki flea market and upon arrival we were welcomed with some Greek tapas and and a shot of Rake.
The Psiri area is an upcoming district of Athens, full of stylish cafés, bars and small shops. The crisis brought decline to the area but now gentrification is picking up again. At night it still has some dodgy spots but we never felt unsafe in Athens. Kind of every building has graffiti – mostly useless but also some interesting motives in between:
The flea market of Monastiraki is a touristic area though given the time of the year the city was not overcrowded with tourists. Hidden among the souvenir shops you can find a jewel of a café. The Couleur Locale is a hipster place having a roof terrace with fantastic views to the Acropolis.
After refreshments on the rooftop we used the afternoon and Nikos showed us around. We walked through Monastiraki and its ancient treasures of Roman and Greek ruins up the Northern hillside of the Akropolis. The neighbourhood there is magical. Small houses with little gardens are settled on the slopes of the mountain with an incredible view over the city and Mount Lycabettus.
We continued our walk and passed by the Arch of Hadrian to the famous Panathenaic Stadium. The stadium is completely built out of marble and is dating back to 144 AC (the first version even dating back to 330 BC). After excavation and renovation in the 19th century the stadium hosted the first Olympic Games of the modern era in 1896.
We had dinner in a typical tavern with Ouzo and Greek platters before heading to bed and rest after such a nice and eventful day.