Sleepy in: Athens
Date: Early April 2022
Weather: Warm and sunny during the day, much cooler (jacket weather) at night
I travelled by: Plane from Gatwick direct to Athens Airport. Took an airport taxi to the Airbnb, and there is a flat rate of 38EUR by day, 54EUR at night. Make sure they use the meter. It took an about an hour, and they drive like hell. You can also take public transport, as detailed on ReelGreekExperiences.
I stayed at: This simple, well-appointed Airbnb, in the shadow of Acropolis
I ate: As much typical, traditional Greek food as I could. This exceptional food tour with famed Julia Pant helped, and I hiiiiighly recommend this tour (hence all the photos). Julia and her husband, George, are completely charming, knowledgeable and experienced. The tour wasn't too busy either, seven guests, and we ate a lot (my favourite amount of food). Special mention to the last restaurant we sat to eat at, Tis Theatrou To Steki. Even now, at I'm drooling over the memory.
I also discovered my new favourite ice cream flavour at an ice cream parlour/café called Kayak. I think I went back 6 or 7 times. It's simply called Black, a rich, rich dark - but not bitter - chocolate ice cream. I think about it a lot, but I cannot find it anywhere in the UK :(
I drank: I don't know any better, so at the supermarket I chose a wine simply because I liked its bottle. Krasostalia was that superficial choice. It was delicious though, if you want something sweet. I refrigerated it, because I care about nothing, and it really enjoyed it chilled.
I saw: Another side to the city, through a Social and Political walk. Our guide, Isaac, a Spaniard living and studying in Greece, was incredibly knowledgable and friendly, and delivered quite detailed and extensive material in a way that was easy for a non-expert to understand. He also provided a fantastic follow-up web slideshow presentation to us afterwards.
I also, of course, went for a walk around Acropolis hill and the Parthenon, which was breathtaking in person. Glimpsing it in the distance during my walks through the city streets, it was awe-inspiring, but to see it up close? Breathtaking. A tourist trap, and understandably so. You can buy tickets online here. They're open 08:00-20:00; get there as close to opening as possible to avoid the crowds.
I relaxed: With a 90-minute, Αromatic Body Wrap with Detox (79EUR. Book online/ by phone/ in person) at Al Hammam Traditional Baths. A beautiful place, clean and peaceful, with friendly staff. I recommend it if you want to treat yourself. Had a little snooze, and my skin did feel refreshed, soft and plump afterwards. And I was served tea out on the balcony.
Worth getting out of bed? Naiiii! Yes! Visit Athens!
Honorary mention: A note on racism in Greece. I, fortunately, did not suffer any blatant hostility during my 5 days in Athens, but it was something I was weary of. An African American lady on the food tour with me told me about her very negative experiences with staff at the hotel she was staying at as part of a work trip, so it's very real, and does set you on edge. What I did notice was that in some shops, staff were not overly-friendly to me, not in a way that I'm used to in my day-to-day life, but they weren't rude either. I just tried to write it off, as we often must.