Athens Feb 08

Athens Travel Blog

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Ampitheatre at The Acropolis

Had been to Athens some years before, and got the chance to go back for, you guessed it, another game when Rangers were drawn against Panathinaikos. Decided to go out Tuesday to Friday, with the game being on the Thursday night.

Started off ominously when on the Monday Athens Airport was shut down because of heavy snow. Chelsea were due out to play Olypiakos on the Tuesday night and contact with some of their fans meant we knew some of their guys had been left stranded at a variety of London airports. Still we checked in as normal for the 05-55 KLM flight from Glasgow to Amsterdam Schipol and boarded on time, only to be left sitting on the tarmac for 40 minutes as there were restrictions on flights into Schipol because of heavy fog.

Parthenon
Started to get a bit worried as our flight had been due to land at 08-30 and the connection to Athens was to depart at 09-25.

Finally took off and arrived in Amsterdam at 09-05. Problem was with the UK being no Schengen we had to leg it all the way across to the other side of the airport, going through passport control in the process. Guys there were great and they had a fast track lane so long as you had your boarding card for your onward flight. Made it to the gate with 5 minutes to spare, but had decided that our luggage wouldn't. In the event the delays had a knock on effect and it was 10am before we left.

Arrived at Athens airport and decided to get a taxi into town. Cost €25 and I just got out at mates hotel. Graham and Brian were staying in a hotel behind Omonia while I'd decided late that I was going and had got a cheap hotel near Metaxourgio.

other Ampitheatre
Didn't take long to realise I would have been better to get the taxi to carry on as I was sliding about on the compacted snow on the pavements while trying to wheel my case along. Made it eventually and found the hote to be really basic,but it had a bed and a shower so it would do. Met up with the boys at Syntagma and we went to grab a bite to eat and then went for a few beers before I called it a night after the early start. Got off the metro at Omonia and walked down Ag. Konstantinou and came across a wee cafe that was still open, even though it was after midnight. Went in and got a beer and a Gyros Kebab(I was hungry again) and sat back and watched. Seemed the place was used by folk working nightshift as a succession of locals came in and out buying snacks and drinks, very few actually sat in.
Temple Of Olympian Zeus from The Acropolis
Ended up having a couple of nightcaps and went to pay the bill and was delighted that for 3x0.5l bottles of Amstel and my kebab it was only €6, not bad for city centre. Wish I could remember the name of it, but it was about half way down from Omonia on the right hand side with arches at the front with tables outside as well.

Graham and Brian stayed out a fair bit longer than I had, and weren't fit in the morning and decided to go walkabout on my own and catch up with them later. Got the Metro to The Acropolis and started climing uphill before entering the park and then up the really steep bit. Nice sunny day and after having dressed for the snow that was still lying about, ended up down to just a t-shirt( well I am Scottish and used to it :-) ).

Still a lot of scaffolding round it as they continue the restoration works, though I'm sure it was probably built quicker originally than the amount of time they have taken putting it back together. Was worth the effort as you get great views across the city. Museum isn't up to much though. Headed down from Acropolis and towards the Ancient Agora and came across a little market with all sorts of stuff and where there were lots of bars and restaurants along an embankment. Found my way back to Monistaraki it's dodgy flea market. Took the road back into city centre and then worked my way back down to the Plaka.

Bit more organised than I'd remembered it from before, but just  loads of shops all squeezed into tight liitle steets. Plenty of variety, from the tacky souvenirs to every day items locals might want.

Loads of cafes for you to sit and take the weight off your feet. Came out of the Plaka and went to the Temple Of Olympian Zeus, that you can see very clearly when you are up on the Acropolis. The big challenge was getting across the main road as the traffic signals din't seem to fit in with pedestrians.  

Walked around taking a few snaps, the size of the columns is something else when you are standing right down there beside them. Wandered back through the National Gardens and got back on the metro at Syntagma and went back to hotel to put my feet up for a bit. Went abck to the cafe for my own dinner and then met the boys in Omonia where we hit a bar that was showing that nights football games.  

Went back down to Monistaraki and chilled on the Thursday morning before heading back to hotel toget changed and pick up my ticket for the game.

 Went to the same cafe for some lunch and a couple of beers and got talking to a  few of the locals. Quite funny as they spoke little English and I was trying desperately with my Greek. Still was interesting and left them to go and catch up with eveyone in Syntagma where the Bears were gathering. There were quite a few Rangers fans and a whole load of CHelsea fans,still there from Tuesday,  mixing in quite happily.There were two pubs in the square but most seemed to congregate in the one on the right coming out of the metro.

All was fine until about 5pm when a battallion of cops in full riot gear appeared and started rounding everyone up and herding them into the metro. Me and another bloke had been sitting on a bench with our beer and as we had no obvious colours showing the police left us.

View across Athens
Stayed and had a few more beers and then the two of us headed for the metro and therre weren't any problems mixing in with the home support going to Ambelokopi.

Searched on the way into the ground and lighters were confiscated, though they did give you books of matches to replace them. The away end was like being in a chicken coup,  with fine mesh fencing all round, and over the top of it as well. Truely being stuck in a cage. Game was not that exciting and we trailed for most of it,before equalising in the 87th minute which was enough to take us through on away goals and we were held back for about 30 minutes after the game.

When they finally let us out we were only able to make it up the street to the main road and were then held back there as well.

Temple Of Athena
Eventually the riot police turned up again and formed a circle round us and we all headed back to the Ambeokopi metro station. Police at the front went in first and then let us in and took us down to the platform. A train arrived and a few of us tried to board it but were told by the police to get back off. Next train arrived and it was empty apart from two riot cops in each compartment. Seems the ones at the back of the group going into the station then went up to the next station to clear the train. Arriving back at Syntagma the riot cops took the lead at the front and as we came out of the station they fanned out across the square looking for any possible trouble and left us to go back to the pub that everyone had been cleared out of at 5pm. Quite a cool operation and obviously designed to keep the visiting fans safe, so quite appreciative of it.

Stayed out until after 2am and then walked it back up to the hotel. Grabbed a few hours sleep and then met the boys in the morning at Omonia, where we got the train out to the airport. Took about an hour as we had to change at  Doukisis Plakendias and ended up waiting about 20 minutes there. Athens airport itself isn't the worst to be stuck in for a few hours and after we had been round the shops we had time for a couple of beers and a sandwich in one of the cafes that are in the middle of the concourse.

Painless flight back to Schipol, but then delayed again as the pilot for our flight was late flying another one in from Warsaw. Ended up home for midnight, and already planning the next trip to Bremen the following month.

"www.travbuddy.com"

vulindlela says:
Awesome photos, Ian!
I need to visit here.
Posted on: Nov 15, 2009
Transitory says:
make sure to end all of your posts with "www.travbuddy.com" so when it gets copied by that rip off vietnamese site, that you will be attributed to properly.
Posted on: Jun 21, 2009
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Ampitheatre at The Acropolis
Ampitheatre at The Acropolis
Parthenon
Parthenon
other Ampitheatre
other Ampitheatre
Temple Of Olympian Zeus from The A…
Temple Of Olympian Zeus from The …
View across Athens
View across Athens
Temple Of Athena
Temple Of Athena
The Byzantine Church of Aghioi The…
The Byzantine Church of Aghioi Th…
The Acropolis
The Acropolis
Pillars
Pillars
View across the park
View across the park
Plaka
Plaka
Plaka street
Plaka street
Plaka shops
Plaka shops
Away section Apostolos Nikolaidis …
Away section Apostolos Nikolaidis…
Omonia
Omonia
Apostolos Nikolaidis Stadium
Apostolos Nikolaidis Stadium
Syntagma Metro Station
Syntagma Metro Station
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Athens
photo by: Johnpro