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The Parthenon is a symbol of civilisation March 31, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Greece Athens.

The Parthenon and The Acropolis > An ageless icon of culture > A living history

If you’re a bit poor on your Greek gods and heroes, buy or borrow a copy of Bulfinch’s Mythology and Robert Graves’ Greek Gods and Heroes before you go to Athens. They help familiarise you with the city. For practical, hip and concise information buy the 2007 Wallpaper City Guide to Athens.

The parthenon > A Living Histrory, a Symbol of Civilization.

Morning > Start with a Greek coffee at the Eleftheroudakis book shop on Panepistimiou Street, www.books.gr. There are several floors of books and maps on Greece.

Some say Athens is a walking city but consider the public bus company’s Line 400 bus that runs hourly from 10am to 4pm from November to April. Buy a 24-hour ticket onboard for 5 euro and sit back and tick off the 20 or so cultural landmarks on the 90-minute trip before getting down to the serious business of shopping, eating and drinking or hop on/off at the biggies. For info check > http://www.oasa.gr/index.asp?lang=en

The most popular is the National Archeological Museum, with collections that represent all the cultures that flourished in Greece. Grab a brochure when you buy your ticket because you probably haven’t time to see it all. Nearest metro station is Viktoria.

You’ve seen it from every corner of the city, almost, so there’s no avoiding the walk up the Acropolis to the Parthenon, the remains of a temple built on the Acropolis to honor the goddess Athena, patron goddess of Athens. A lot of places in Greece have an acropolis but only Athens has The Acropolis. For further info check > http://www.culture.gr/2/21/211/21101a/e211aa01.html

Lunch > Archestratos would have had no idea what a publishing phenomenon he started when he wrote the world’s first cookbook in 330BC. So it’s no wonder Greeks like to eat and cook and there are plenty of places to try moussaka, souvlaki or a choriatiki salata without breaking the travel budget. Don’t even go there if you don’t like olive oil, oregano, feta cheese and lamb and goat meat raised on herb-rich pastures. By lunchtime you probably deserve an ouzo, ordered with appetizers, the mezedes.

Athens old town, the Plaka, is full of pavement cafes. For something a little more upmarket choose a cafe in Kolonaki Square.

Afternoon > OK, you can shop now you’ve done the culture. To avoid the tackiest representations of this great society, shop at the Centre of Hellenic Tradition in the Plaka for good quality icons, pottery, woodcarvings, prints and embroideries. Antiqua, on Amalias Avenue, just off Syntagma Square, is one of the city’s oldest and best antique stores. The world’s oldest flea market is in Monastiraki Square. January and August are sales months. Kolonaki is where you’ll find the upmarket clothing stores, but try Ermou and Eolou streets for small shops and interesting stalls.

Day tripping > Hire a private guide at your hotel or the tourist office or take a half-day coach trip to the Temple of Poseidon at Sounion. For additional info check > http://www.culture.gr/2/21/211/21102a/e211ba07.html

Evening > The Greeks eat late so take a stroll and read the menus on display in restaurant doorways and windows. Local papers can direct you to shows and entertainment. At night the Psiri neighbourhood is a nightlife mecca of cafes, bars, restaurants, ouzeries and clubs. For additional info check > http://psiri.gr/english/

Related Links > Hellenic Tourism Organisation > www.gnto.gr

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