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AthenStyle Athens Hostel near the Acropolis

Posted at:15 September, 2015 in Ambassador Blog

Sept 7
I passed through airport security and headed for my RyanAir flight…

…When I went to my assigned seat, a girl from Greece studying in London was right next to me.  She was on her way home to see her family.  We had a chat and she and informed me that Greece is about to have their third election this year.  She said, “It is our national sport!”  She was really cool and we became friends.  She taught me parts of the Greek alphabet, so I was trying to read words from her book for her after the lesson, much to her entertainment.

My rock and roll RyanAir partner in crime.

My rock and roll RyanAir partner in crime.

On the plane on the way over, I overheard graying man with an English accent saying, “When a 23-year-old offers you his seat on the tube, you know it’s over.  At that point, you are also no longer seen as a sexual threat…”

The plane landed in Athens while we were dancing in our seats to GNR’s ‘Welcome to the Jungle.’  She had picked that song from my iPod for the landing in her city.  Immigration-baggage collection-highfive-hug-kiss her goodbye on the cheek-rush out of the airport to catch the 30 minute €5 shuttle bus to Syntagma Square which is in the center of Athens.

Athens Hostel near the Acropolis

A girl from Taiwan got off the bus with me and asked if I was heading to AthenStyle Hostel.  I was!  We walked together to the hostel.  She did not seem to be very handy with maps and directions, so she seemed to be really pleased to have found me to get us there.  As we walked into the AthenStyle, reception was smiling and super friendly to check us in.  It was 02:00 by then, so I took my backpack to my room, checked my messages on my phone and headed to bed.  I will get you tomorrow Greece!

AthenStyle.

AthenStyle.

Sept 8
I figured it should be a ‘tackle Athens’ day…

…So, I was up at 09:00 to quickly devour the free breakfast at AthenStyle on the sixth floor rooftop terrace, which is a pretty nice place to enjoy a meal.  ‘I could use a little more milk on my cerea…. Holy man!…  Acropolis is staring down at me!’

If you want breakfast with a view, you should probably try AthenStyle hostel.  It will amaze you.  Also, try the dakos during that breakfast visit (bread, olive oil and tomatoes).  It is delicious…

The AthenStyle Athens Hostel near the Acropolis organizes their own walking tour and a Greek man named Pluto took us around the city just after 09:30.  It was a walking tour unlike any I have been on before, because this walking tour is mostly about showing travelers where everything is in the city.  Pluto was an orientation expert.  He actually seems to be the mayor of the city as everywhere he walks people are busy high-fiving him to say hello.  He showed us the best restaurants in town for great prices, where the best gyro in town is served, the best entrance to access Acropolis….  He even took us out for yogurt.  All through the walk he was providing stories and history of Greece and Athens.  Once the tour was complete, I had a really good feel for the city.

Greece is awesome.  When you walk around the city, there are ruins everywhere.  These are not ruins from a couple of centuries ago…  They are from a couple of millenniums ago…  Above Athens sits Acropolis and there sits the Parthenon, which was built between 447-438bc.  Yes, bc buildings and structures are here.  The sculptural decoration of the Parthenon was completed in 432bc.  It is amazing.  It costs €12 to get up to Acropolis, but that comes with tickets to six other sites in the city, so the price is actually very good.  Acropolis is a ruin, but it is in great condition for something over 2000 years old.  That it is made of white marble, Acropolis glows in the sun, and in the evening it is illuminated to shine high above the city.  I wish I had money to buy Greece and make it my own!  The place is beautiful!

Acropolis.

Acropolis.

Some things on Greece:

-The Romans were in Athens from 200bc to 300ad.
-Marble sidewalks cover much of Athens.
-In 1832, the Treaty of Constantinople was signed to give Greece independence.  It ended 1,400 years of Turkish rule.
-Approximately 5 million people live in Athens.
-There are 24 letters in the Greek alphabet.
-40,000 Greek words are part of the English language.
-Cats everywhere in Athens.  Loungy cats, just hanging out in the sun.  Most of them are really friendly.  However, before you sit down anywhere, it is vital to look below you first to make sure you are not about to sit on a feline and likely spoil it’s day…

The Parthenon, built between 447-438bc.

The Parthenon, built between 447-438bc.

At Acropolis, I made friends with a girl named Veronika who was born in Kazakhstan.  Her and I were taking turns getting glam shots of ourselves in front of the Parthenon.  A couple of girls came up to us to ask if I could take a picture of them.  They handed me their phone and stood back.  When I went to take the picture, the screen was too little for the entirety of Parthenon to be in the photo.  Without thinking of my words, I tried to zoom the camera out and said, “I would like to make it smaller.  I can not fit it all in…”  I quickly considered what had just come out of my mouth and told them, “Whoa, I’ve never said that before….”  I took the picture for them at that very moment.  The girls looked at the image and thanked me for giving them genuine laughs in the photo.

I love the timeless contrast here.

I love the timeless contrast here.

Veronika and I went for dinner at a restaurant that allowed people to smash their plate after completing their meal.  Then she met with her friend she is staying in the city with and I headed to AthenStyle Hostel in Athens near the Acropolis to meet Menia who runs the rooftop terrace bar in the hostel.  The views from AthenStyle hostel roof terrace are even better at night than they are during the day with Acropolis illuminated just above you.  It is special to see while you feel the vibe of the packed hostel bar.  After taking in the view, I sat on a stool at the bar and chatted to everyone coming up for a drink.  I seemed to make a lot of friends and just enjoyed talking nonsense with the people until it was closing time.  There are 140 beds in the hostel, and I feel like I conversed with about 80 of the people who occupy them…  Menia sent me with two of her friends and six other backpackers to another rooftop terrace bar that is second best after AthenStyle.  Menia came to meet us after she had finished cleaning her, pointed to her bar and said, “That is my tower, and I am the princess there!”  I asked her if she can grow her hair really really long to help suit the part.

Street markets.

Street markets.

We ended up in a club until 05:00 when I was sure it was time to go home all of the other backpackers were long gone.  Menia, her two friends both named Kostas, and I went for gyros and then I went back to AthenStyle to get some sleep!

Sept 9
Athens is hot, but AthenStyle hostel has air-conditioning in the rooms to make sure you can sleep well anyhow…

…Plus, the hostel might have the most comfortable beds I have found on my entire trip around Europe.  As a result, I did not wake up until 11:00 today…

FYI – The slang word for police in Greek is ‘Bantse’ which is the plural word for slap!

In the afternoon, I went for lunch with AthenStyle’s wonderful Sofia to a restaurant just around the corner from the hostel.  The restaurant is called Νικήτας, and it is cheap, delicious, and family run since 1967.  They make their dishes for the day, and once they run out of the food they have freshly prepared, they close the restaurant and go home!  Now that is a cool concept.  For lunch we had dolmades (rice and minced meat wrapped in wine leaves), suzukakia (Greek meatballs with tomato sauce and spices), fava (chickpeas mashed), and a Greek salad because that is necessary to have in Greece.  Delightful cold rose wine came with our meal and wanted to take over for the day, but Sofia and I both had too many things to do so we stayed in wine control…!

A Greek feast and Νικήτας.

A Greek feast and Νικήτας.

Sofia went back to work and I headed to Ancient Agora to philosophize and ponder why none of the statues in there have any heads.  The place is so peaceful and it is a great area to spend some time.  From there I visited the Temple of Zeus, and it blew my mind.  The marble columns are incredibly tall and on top of them sit massive marble blocks.  How they were able to build those columns is one thing, but to get those blocks on top of the columns 2000 years ago is another thing.  I sat on a bench beside a girl from Korea and asked her how she thought the feat had been completed.  She was equally dumbfounded.

One the way back to AthenStyle Athens Hostel near the Acropolis I stopped at the Parliament Building to watch the Changing of the Guard.  That is entertaining.  The guards do a very funny walk with peculiar shoes that have something that looks like a clown’s sponge nose attached to the tops of them and their uniforms look like dresses.  It is really cool to watch, and a very un-ordinary must see if you are in Athens.  The changing of the guard takes place every hour on the hour.  It is a must, just to witness it…

Athens is a relatively quiet city.  I was very surprised by this, and that tourist destinations are quiet and relaxed.  To look at ruins in other major cities such as Rome is to deal with thousands of other tourists.

In Athens, if you take a little time, you can actually get photos alone in front of any of the ruins.  It is a really great city that I now think I would like to live in for six months.  The people are very nice, the weather is great, the food is fantastic and the city affordable.  Bam!  The makings of a great city!  You are in Europe, but you can ride a motorcycle without a helmet because the Greeks seem to make their own rules.  It is illegal to smoke in bars in Athens and since ashtrays are not allowed in bars, everyone smokes anyhow and they just put their cigarettes out on the floor.

I do not even smoke and I appreciate what they are doing…  Greece, the rebel-child of Europe… I love it!  The country is nothing like I would have imagined before I arrived.  I am falling in love with Greece and I have only seen Athens.  Maybe I would never leave if I got to the islands…

Sofia, breaking out those awesome locks!

Sofia, breaking out those awesome locks!

I came back to the hostel and made my way to AthenSyle rooftop bar where I hung out with Sofia and Menia for the evening to talk nonsense with them.  I was hungry so I tried the musakka which is sort of a Greek version of lasagna but the pasta is potato and the tomato sauce is cream.  The musakka in the hostel is made with a lot of love by the hands of Sofia’s mother.  It tastes amazing and if you are in AthenStyle, it is a definite for one of your meals when you are in the city…

The Spanish are like the Greeks, but they are way more polite.  We are pretty primitive!” – Quote of the day from a Greek man at the AthenStyle rooftop bar.

After the rooftop terrace closed, Menia and I went to another rooftop terrace for a drink and then I got into a car with her friends Kostas and Trifones (Greek names are fun!) who drove us to a different area of Athens to a bar district.  When we walked into our first bar in the district, they were playing ‘When the Music’s Over’ by The Doors.  Awesome.

Sept 10
‘Checkout10am’ is the password for the Wifi in AthenStyle, and I was not ready for it.  So, I got up and went to the front desk to ask if I could sleep in a little.  Odysseus (great name!) at reception told me that the cleaning staff would probably not get to my room on the 1st floor until after lunch, so I could go back to my room and steal a few more winks of sleep.  That was really nice of him….

Yeah!  New mail.  New EFH posters.

Yeah! New mail. New EFH posters.

I got up at noon, caught up on the blog in the lounge area of AthenStyle, shook hands with the wonderful staff there, kissed Sofia on the cheek, and said goodbye to a very nice hostel full of awesome people.  Just outside of the door of AthenStyle I caught the metro for €8 to take me directly to airport.  It was almost too easy, and sadly it was time to fly out of a really cool city…

AthenStyle Athens Hostel near the Acropolis
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