I am in Athens right now and as many of you know I have been 4 months in Europe and am at the end of my journey here in a few days. All that is left is to return to Paris and fly home.
So I thought I’d share a few things about Athens that I think are worthwhile and tasty.
The brilliant architectural gem that is the Acropolis Museum should not be missed. its use of natural light and it’s replicating of the Parthenon’s size and scale is fantastic. The glass floors looking down into ancient remains of neighborhoods uncovered during it’s construction is a highlight for sure. If you come here don’t miss it as it gives you and fills in for you the whole picture that was once the Parthenon.
Also in the museum is a great collection of Archaic period artifacts which was my favorite;
While I am on Museums be sure to go to the Museum of the Ancient Athenian Agora. This is the kind of museum I really like as it is centered on everyday life and objects. Don’t miss the Toddlers Potty Chair.. This collection spans from the Neolithic up through the Archaic and into the Classic. See cookware jewelry and all kinds of everyday objects. What becomes immediately clear is how colorful their lives were. There is also a Bronze shield from Sparta...war booty from the battle of Sphacteria in 425 BC. And the site itself of the Ancient Agora is a good place to get your head around what Ancient Athens was really like. The museum is included in the cost of the 5 day site ticket you can get that covers all archeological sites for 30€. It pays for itself in two days really. (And gets you around those pesky ticket lines)
I also liked Hadrian’s Library a place where the layering of centuries of history is easy to see and comprehend.
Some good places to eat:
This first called APTA (pronounced ARTA I think) is a tiny Mom and Pop place run by a man and his wife both in their 60’s. This is not easy to find mind you but well worthwhile for the local color, characters and especially the home cooked food at cheap prices. Have the meatballs...and everything else. This place can be found near the corner of Meg. Alexandrou and a small semi-pedestrian street called Iosonos. It is about a block west of the Wyndham Grand Athens Hotel. I cant take credit for this find as it was recommended by my AirBnb host Vasillis.
The second is a bit quirky. Tired and hungry, hot and sweaty just back from the Acropolis and the Acropolis Museum we rounded a corner in the area around the Sygntama Sqaure and ran smack into Taqueria Maya. Now normally I would eat at a Greek place or eat the local food wherever I am. I always order the local beer and wines. But I had already had 11 days of Greek food and a month of Bulgarian and Turkish food, which, while not Greek, shares many flavors and aspects. So I felt fine about indulging....I was craving a good taco anyway.
Now I grew up in Southern California, ate at my Mexican friends houses for dinner when I was a kid and now I sometimes spend part or all of the winter in Mexico...so I feel safe in saying I know good Mexican food. I was not disappointed. This was more authentic than most of the stuff that passes for Mexican in most of America including Texas. As a plus he knows how to make a real Margarita. Now I am a Margarita Purist. NO margarita mix for me with sugar and other flavors ...no no no. There are only three things in a Margarita...Fresh Lime juice, Tequila and Triple Sec. We had a jug of very good Margaritas. This is a simple go-to-the-counter and order kind of place with a stylish but subdued interior and only a handful of tables. A Mexican immigrant you ask? Nope. Greek guy who spent a lot of time in the US and California and decide to bring this food home.
The address is Petraki 10 10563 Athens www.taqueriamaya.com
It made a perfect place to chill for the afternoon after two big sights. A good finish for the day.