Well, a week in to this adventure and where do we find ourselves? Back in Athens and ready to roll on to Delfi. I awoke this morning to the buzz and beep of traffic, we are staying in a studio sandwiched between Ormonia Square and Exharia, not the prettiest of places in Athens. But rather interesting, revealing a different side of the city away from the Plaka and tourist shops, here in the belly of the city lies a diverse set of characters, immigrants, travellers, and rough street hustlers jostle for space. On Tuesday night we were kept awake by some sarky street ‘ladies’ plying their trade and shouting at passers by in stuttering Greek until 4am. Many of the areas scruffiest streets are a mix of once beautiful neo-classical mansions, now seemingly abandoned and left to decay, but many have balconies adorned with flowers like an oasis amidst 70s apartment blocks adorned with angry anarchist slogans and families living side by side. All of urban Athens as a melting pot, a diverse side of the city displaying all its grit and complexity. We ate at a great Cretan restaurant last night in Exahria ‘Oxo Nou’ – lively and great food, a pleasant reward after a days work.
Since arriving, its been a journey of many parts making the week seem much longer, having hopped from place to place. The first 3 days were spent in the Plaka area of Athens, revisiting some bars and tavernas we enjoyed on our first visit a few winters ago. I took an early morning walk up to Anafiotika, one of my favourite areas of the city – built by the islanders of Anafi. Its whitewashed streets perfectly peaceful in the early sun and nothing but a few cats to greet me as I climbed towards the Acropolis.
After a few days in Athens we headed on the ‘most chaotic train trip ever’ to Kalambaka in Thessaly, to visit the monasteries in Meteora. We hiked upwards to the strange rock formations, wandered through spring meadows and forests – gazing upon the most beautiful views across the flat plains of farms and snow peaked mountains to the north. I used the time wisely and tackled a fear of dogs and heights!
We leave for Delfi this afternoon a three-hour adventure on the Ktel bus service. I feel alive and my eyes are open.