20,000 leagues under the sky, 2004- travel blog



Not acropolis

Ministery of silly walks




1896 Olympic Stadium

I hate arriving anywhere around midnight but Athens was fine, the metro was still running and the streets seemed safe enough so I got to my hostel with no hassle. It was right next to the acropolis so I went for a late night wander to have a look before turning in for the night.

If the Olympics (2004 not the original ones) have done anything for Athens, it's to make it one of the most expensive cities in Europe. I couldn't believe some of the prices here, a Big Mac meal is more expensive here than at home and I needed a bank loan for a bucket of Starbucks coffee.

Athens is really falling apart, there are ruined buildings everywhere and they even want to charge you to look at them. Don't they know that it's free to look at ruins in Belgrade, Sarajevo and Mostar? I gave the €12 to go into the acropolis a miss, I've seen it before and most of the best bits are in the British Museum anyway. I settled for photographing most things through the fences or from a distance. One site that I did find really interesting was the original Olympic stadium, I was confused when I saw the signs as I thought it was at Olympia but this turned out to be the 1896 stadium. It's a big, long and narrow, stone stadium, terraced on 3 sides and open at the front. There are stone tablets at the front with the venues of all of the modern Olympiads carved on them although I had a few problems translating the Greek for a few places. Actually, I've found that I can't seem to read Greek anymore since I've learnt Cyrillic.

For the first time since I left home I got to leave my fleece and jumper in the backpackers and walk around in a t-shirt all day until I came out of an internet café in the early evening and found the temperature had dropped considerably.

When I booked the flight to Larnaca, I chose the flight options to get the lowest possible price, this now meant that I had to get the airport bus at 2:50am, so with the aid of some Ouzo sleeping potion I went to bed at 8pm and set an alarm for 2am.

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