Thursday, January 28, 2016

Athens Part 2: The Modern City

It’s a magical world, Hobbes, ol’ buddy… Let’s go exploring!” 
Calvin from Calvin and Hobbs.

          Athens is known the world over for it's history but I wasn't prepared for it's size and energy. I loved the rhythm and feel of that majestic city. It had many threads that wove together to make the modern Athenian tapestry.
          By day the city center ebbed and flowed to the pace of the tourists but at night the locals owned the night. The people were at times pushy, strange and unBalkan. Then a moment later I felt right at home, comfortable with their rhythm of stride, speech and attitude. Like Macedonians, and most Balkan people, they were worried about their government and their livelihoods. They didn't want to default on their EU loans but they weren't sure what was the best way to repay them. Click here for the updated information on their loan crisis. 

This the Greek Parliament and was the center of many protests during our stay. At one point it wasn't recommended for tourists to be near the plaza. 
          All of the people, tourists included, but particularly the native Greeks were beautiful people. The women were particularly striking and certainly lived up to their goddess lineage.

Athens isn't just a Classical center, it's also deeply rooted in the Christian faith. It has both Orthodox and Catholic churches. This is the Greek Cathedral of Athens and was officially dedicated in 1862.  Currently it's being renovated.
Tourists, tourists, tourists.
Mmmmm breakfast.
Stuffed peppers.
Finally a gyro in Greece. 
I don't know what building this is, I just liked it's facade.
This was one of the many cafe's in the old town that lined the alley and stairways. 
It was a perfect people watching place. 
Wooing a women with panache never goes out of style. 
A delicious Greek wine Gary wanted to try. I'm glad we did, it was fantastic. 
Seafood, delicious seafood.
We had to try some Mediterranean pizza.
No outside meal was complete without a cat trying to join you.
Mom and Gary. 
Landon and I went out and found an incredible rooftop bar called, Hipster. Yes, it was cool but since they weren't selling PBR there were no hipsters.
It's all Greek to me. 
It's interior. 
After 9 the old town is spared the throngs of tourists.
That didn't stop a few of us from enjoying some ice cream.
Another beautiful rooftop bar underneath the Acropolis. 
Away from the old town, the cars line the streets.
A rare quiet street.
There were all kinds of shops. Shops for clothes, for trinkets and shops for statues and chessboards.
This was a shop for statues and weapons.
A life sized replica of a Spartan shield. 
Beautiful paintings.  
A beautiful Harley.
At times I enjoyed walking through the crowd.
Other times, it was a complete annoyance.
Every night cafes brought out extra tables just for the sidewalks.
This lady had a pet duck! 
There were spectacular views all over the city.
This was one of my favorite alleys.
Sunset dining.
          The city's beauty, architecture and history clearly was dazzling. It was great to be with the family in a place we all had wanted to see. The people were friendly but there was an edge to their demeanor.  They knew that the vote to stay or leave the EU was coming up and they were anxious. You could hear it in their voice when asked about things. For many, perhaps most, Athens is nothing but a historical tourist town or just a gateway to the playground beaches. For them it's a home they care deeply about but were afraid of what the future would bring. For myself, I was happy to see how all of the different threads, history, religion, politics, their rhythm of life were woven together to make that unique Athenian tapestry.  Next, we would go to a city that was just as complex but quite different from Athens:  Vienna.

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