The Cambodia or Vietnam of Europe – that’s Athens to me. Cars and motorbikes fill the streets, traffic jams are not a rarity in this condensed city. Stray dogs are found pawing on every corner and the occasional litter is seen spewing on sidewalks. I was comforted by the sight because this is the kind of “Asia” I’m used to seeing, on the other hand, I was startled to find Athens in quite this unruly state.
But apart from the common chaos, Athens is a city with astounding history. After visiting umpteen museums and galleries, we’re reminded of the fact that Europe has done a good job in regarding stories of old. Still, nothing can be compared to what Athens has to offer. With the famous Acropolis, the famed Parthenon, Temple of Olympian Zeus, Ancient Agora and Handrian’s Gate within its parameters, stories of millenniums ago are still very alive in the witnessing of these monumental structures.
We stood trying to picture the stories described, of people filling the theatres, governments being formed, civilization at the brink of its existence and wars being fought. The view took our breaths away as we marveled at the greatest of all archeological sites (perhaps on planet Earth!).
Plaka and Monastiraki known to be the hub of hype is where all the flea markets are found. Storekeepers proudly displayed their goods, of which we found were mostly made in China. Bee lining from one street to another, we were offered a taste of commonality. Accustomed to what we would see in Petaling Street in Kuala Lumpur, much of the shops resembled the same aura. Half torn down buildings still in use, vendors setting up street side stores, motorbikes whizzing away creating a cloud of carbon dioxide and the familiar sounds of loud harsh wrangling of butchers and market sellers. It was a mess, a comfortable enough kind of mess that we strolled happily through.
We settled into a vacant table after a long day of walking to savour the tasty delights of the raved about Souvlaki. Basically kebabs in simple English served with fluffy pita bread and a side salad. What’s the rave all about?! Well… it’s got to be the juicy, succulent meat of the kebabs! I personally wouldn’t want to know what kind of fats have gone into grilling this spongy meat delight. Just eat.