Journey by Dawn

ATHENS IN 3 DAYS: my solo travel experience!

Athens is amazing! The experience of history and unique culture is deeply visible in the local people’s hearts. Is far beyond what textbooks and or my imagination could have predicted! Before heading to Santorini for my last bit of holiday, I thought I’d share with you my dear readers, of the experiences I had.

Parth_old

The Parthenon as it stands today

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View of Athens from Mars Hill (where St.Paul used to preach)

The crowds

I arrived here November 1st, and I have to say it was the best time possible. While the weather is perfect (around 23-26C) the prices are lower than during high season. For example the entrance to the archeological cite of the Acropolis was 10 Euros instead of 20). Buying tickets online helps avoid crows – upon arrival at the famous cites you can head straight to your point of interest. My experience of the Acropolis arriving right at 8am, was that crowds of people like waves of the ocean began flowing from 9am. Was I ever glad to come early as did a few others.

The good thing about crowds though for example at restaurants is that people know where is best to find the better things for example several times I used this measure to choose the best Souvlaki (and so I learned that to take away it should cost no more than 3 Euros). My last day happens to be a Sunday and I can say that the crowds were just impressive especially around the Monastiraki metro, where they have an amazing handcraft market.

Despite the obvious inconvenience of having to wait in lines and getting through many people crows are also home for thieves. I carried my bag in front of me at all times and nothing went missing. It is important to stay awake and aware of what you do at all times.

 

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A street cat not bothered by passing people

Accommodation

Because Greece is the last country I am visiting on this trip, I thought I should do it on a budget and booked a hostel for my short 3 night stay. It was a mistake. Things worked out well for flying in late, I had no problems taking the 10 Euro train all the way to the city. But the problem was falling asleep as it was a hot stuffy room and people snoring, making it impossible to sleep for more than a few minutes.

I suppose I came to realise that having expensive camera and equipment I am no longer willing to deal with the fear of leaving things behind while going out during the day. I changed my accommodation to stay in a separate apartment for the last 2 nights. It was definitely the right choice, despite the financial loss.

I highly recommend KYMA apartments (booking directly though the website there is a 15% discount). In fact I was pleasantly surprised when the representative also gave me some interesting tips on what to see nearby – was very knowledgeable and helpful. Besides the usual toiletries, dishes etc; there was freshly ground coffee, even pasta for me to use!

 

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Tomb of the unknown soldier near the Parliament

The prices

Surprisingly, I found Athens to be quite expensive comparing to Lithuania. Even having souvlaki for under 3 Euros as my main meal each day; with the exception of one other meal in a restaurant. I would say it is good to consider having 20 Euros per day for food if you are like me and enjoy a coffee out and a few light meals.

Museums are reasonably priced 5, 10 Euros; there are even certain collective passes you can buy – getting a better deal if you plan to visit more places. I think one of them is 30 Euros for visiting all the main archeological cites.

For transportation the best is train and tram, but the lines to get tickets are huge! I can’t imagine what it’s like during low season. Train from airport to city is 10 Euros, but you still have to stand in the line.

 

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Byzantine and Christian Art Museum

A significant highlight of my stay that I strongly recommend to visit. If not for the art, then just as a means to hear your heart. A very unique place, not only of historical but also of Christian faith value.

Icons are said to be windows into the eternal world. Being surrounded by a so many of these windows, naturally leads your heart into some form of prayer and awareness of the spiritual level of existence.

 

Art Therapy using photography: an airBNB events experience 

After searching among tours and events I decided to try something different as a planned activity. Chrysoula is a very lovely woman, who is a professional experienced art therapist (with a Masters degree) and has a special program that is individualised for every person.

parth_rootsThe workshop consisted of me having to put together a sentence that represents what Athens means to me. Using various key words, and trying to put them together I ended up having this: ‘The struggle to remain close to the light’. 

Then, for about 2 hours we walked around the city in particular locations with minimal assistance I photographed things that best represented this sentence.

I chose about 20 photos numbering them, so as to make a story. Chrysoula will edit and send me a story of it. I can’t wait to see the final result!

 

Charitina_ed

The struggle to remain close to the light

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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