Burning Athens

akropoli, originally uploaded by zutalegh.

Be honest: What was the first image that came to mind? Masses rioting in the streets of Athens, setting alight anything in their path? Well, then your first impression set you on the wrong path! When I was in Athens in June, burning only had one possible meaning: a boiling thermometer! While on arrival the scale was resting lazily around a cozy 33 centigrade, it quickly climbed up to a less pleasing 38! Lucky us, the heat lessened a bit towards the end of our stay to a Solomonian 35…

So, what do you do when the air outside feels like sticking your head into an oven? The choices weren’t quite that obvious since I was there on a conference, so at least part of the day I spent in an air-conditioned lecture hall sous terrain. The rest of the time, however, we embraced the heat and enjoyed the many many historical sites that Athens has to offer.

Of course we climbed up to the Acropolis and enjoyed the fantastic view of the city. We also visited several other historical sites like the temple of Zeus, Hadrian’s library, the Roman and the Ancient Agora. Panathinaiko Stadium was especially nice since it did not offer the least bit of shade on probably the hottest day of our stay.

But don’t get me wrong! Athens is a fantastic city and I really enjoyed our stay there! More than the historical sites and the interesting conference it was the food that made the stay exceptionally entertaining! Regardless where we ate and what we ordered, it was very good to unbelievably decent prices.

Certainly, the current political situation did not go unnoticed: the metro did strike for three days, on one day no public transportation was available at all. The city seemed not very crowded, though I don’t think that June to August is really visiting season for Athens, it is just too hot. We traveled to one of the closer islands, Hydra, which wasn’t awfully busy, either, but I had already that the bookings have been down quite drastically from last years numbers. It is a pity, since all I have seen just made we want to go back and stay a bit longer!

In summary, a great one week get away, half work, half pleasure, in a truly fascinating city! Hit the link here and here for some pictures.