Athens – Where I stayed & graffiti

Athens Accommodation – 1

For a few days I was lucky enough to stay at the Philippos Hotel, and I recommend it for the breakfast (a buffet – all you can eat, including olives, feta and fresh tomatoes, sumptious cakes and pastries – look out for the one with pine nuts and craberries – yum!), the huge balcony with table chairs and sun lounger, cleanliness, olive oil soaps and other toiletries, and friendly staff (and that means friendliness from reception, kitchen, cleaning ,and repairing people – all with cheery ‘kalimera‘s’ / good morning).

Urban white-washed balconies with plants
View from the Philippos Hotel balcony. From the other side you could see the edge of the Acropolis citadel, Athens, Greece

Athens air bnb – 2

I stayed in Psyri which is described as ‘full of character’. The part that is closest to the Monastiraki and Plaka parts of the city is lively in the evenings with lights hanging across the streets and bars constantly full. However, it is full of the saddest cats I have ever seen.

Coloured fairy lights and vines hang above Eschilou street
Bars on Eschilou, Athens, Greece

Psyri

The other half of Psyri quarter, to the north on the way to Omonia, is full of friendly people, but dirty and noisy with a lot of men shifting large boxes and dealing in who knows what. The diminutive man in the corner shop opposite had communicative English and told me he has been working 18 hours a day, 7 days a week without a single day off in years, because he is saving to go back to Bangladesh and start a shop there.

There is a good bakery, a Pilates Studio which offers Shiatsu (42 Zone), and a brass bed shop – all on or near Sarri where my air bnb was.

Brass ornaments, lamps, bedheads
Brass bed shop at the corner of Sarri, Athens, Greece

Although I had some considerable trouble getting into my apartment, the sign below for Athens Walkers (Their website (which is currently down) states that it is ‘a small cooperative that operates all year long. We want to establish human relationships and build authentic friendships’) was outside the door so I guessed I was in the right place!

Walking Tour Co-operative
Athens Walkers sign outside my air bnb, a signal that I had arrived at the right place because I am an inveterate walker

It turned out, after I had been there for 5 days, that there was roof garden on the 6th floor of my block, with fantastic views.

Night sky with moon and Parthenon
Nearly full moon over the Acropolis

Graffiti Street Art

What unites both sides of this neighbourhood is the street art – a veritable hoarde of fascinating images and skill. It looks like there are some vibrant clubs and bars in the back streets, but I was warned not to be out on my own in this area at night and was, anyway, busy elsewhere most evenings. There were other tourists who had strayed here, otherwise it was local people. I did walk home alone though and had no trouble – I simply did not meet anyone’s eye and kept on going straight, with an air of purpose!

Line drawing of a heart with flowers on wall
The organ of the heart – graffiti
Red, green and white painted heart organ with blood vessels
Painted heart organ graffiti, Psyri, Athens, Greece
Love inscription and pollution drawing on heart
More heart graffiti, Psyri, Athens, Greece

There was a place called Heart of Athens (maybe a nightclub?) nearby, which might have explained the subject matter of these graffiti artists. I don’t know about you, but once I have started to see a theme, I find it everywhere!

Heart broken in Athens
Written graffiti, Athens, Greece
Trying to find love in a world full of thorns
Parrot graffiti, Athens, Greece
Love has no gender, language, nationality
Pride banner, Athens, Greece

Monastiraki, Plaka, Omonia areas of Athens, Greece

Monastiraki is south of Psyri, a bustling square with a metro station, beautiful church and a million people at all times of the day and night as far as I could tell. Plaka is slightly south east, a pretty hub full of restaurants (mostly for tourists I think) and some welcome green plants. It is beside the Roman Forum (a prime spot for sunset photos) and not far from the Acropolis itself. Omonia is a very large roundabout full of traffic, high rise flats with a shopping centre where you can find the Greek version of Boots The Chemist if you need it (Hondos Centre), and a metro station.

stalls in front of Greek orthodox Church
Early morning street scene with Acropolis in the background
Cafe scene with graffiti
Plaka area of Athens, Greece

 

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