A few weeks ago (wow, time flies), I hopped on a weekend flight to Athens.
This time, the journey was a bit more business than recreation, having been welcomed to attend Shape Europe 2016.
But, that never stopped me from a good adventure.
While my time was mostly occupied with conferences, networking lunches, and late night events, I managed to squeeze in a few moments here & there to absorb Greek culture.
Plus, with locals there to show us the ropes, I got an entirely different feel than my visit just over 2 years ago.
With the tourist things aside, there were two things on my mind: Greek architecture and Feta cheese. And, I was determined to get my absolute fill of both.
Thanks to my hotel, the rooftop pool & patio provided for the perfect perching spot to take in panoramic views of the city.
With white buildings spread as far as the eye could see, rolling mountains, and busy streets below, it was a tell-tale sign of an ancient city that continued to have a busy place in today’s world.
And, watch some pretty amazing sunsets.
Even in the night, lights twinkled in the distance as the city lay awake.
I wandered my way to Attica – the historical centre of Athens – or what is otherwise known as the Plaka district. Having been to Athens previously (with much more time to spare), I knew where I wanted to go, and I wasted no time getting to my favourite spots.
And, if you’re on a similarly tight schedule I’d suggest you use the Monastiraki, Acropoli, and Syntagma metro stations as your points of reference. They’ll ensure you are right in the heart of the city, surrounded by ancient structures.
Up stairways leading to somewhere unknown;
And through quiet city squares, in the early morning before the tourists settled in;
Leading myself to one of the best views in town.
And from there, I just sat and took in the surroundings, not wanting to miss a single moment of it all. If you’re looking to do some soul searching, or just generally feel inspired, this place will do it for you.
Looking out at the city, down over the Parthenon, and feeling the mediterranean breeze in your hair – it’s nothing short of spectacular. And, if you haven’t done so already, make sure you actually go up to the Acropolis grounds and tour around. The ruins are a sight to be seen.
There is something about Greek culture that I find so interesting. The language, the history, the food, and the general way of life all seem to speak to me. Of course, being told I look like a young Nana Mouskouri always helps.
Some people speak of Athens quite poorly, but after my second visit, it has really grown on me. I would have happily stayed a few more days, but sadly it was back home and back to work!
Don’t worry though, that wasn’t before grabbing a fresh Greek salad, with a slice of feta the size of my hand. An absolute, 100% must if you ask me.
Local tip: if you’ve got a free night in mind, head to the Island Restaurant (about an hour away, along the coast), for a night of amazing food, drinks & dancing!
On my way through customs, the guard commented on this being my second time to Greece – and proudly asked if there would be a third. My answer: Duh. There is so much more to see!