Initial Vignettes

Stomping

Our stomping grounds.

I don’t think there’s any better way to get to know a place than to walk all through it. That’s what I tend to do when I travel, because while many tourist attractions interest me, I also like to explore the places where people actually live their lives.

So yes: central Athens has plenty of attractions. But it’s also the center of a city of ~660,000 people. And aside from the streets near the Acropolis, most of the streets – and the shops in them – are obviously for locals. Like this one, which had a concentration of hardware stores:

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…and pretty trees which I admired.

It also helped that we were there in the off-season. Yes, there were tourists, but their numbers were limited. Aside from the Acropolis, we didn’t see many. And I loved it. I didn’t travel to Athens to see tourists; I wanted to see the city itself, which is easier when it’s not being overrun. And I had less competition for the touristy things I did want to do.

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They’re ornamental!

Orange trees fill the city, by the way.

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And beautiful.

I kind of think it’s silly when people photograph the food they’re about to eat. And yet I do so myself, on occasion. The breakfast, looking out at the Acropolis, was delicious.

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That’s Monastiraki plaza in the foreground.

And there’s the view.

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Oh, is it the church that interests you? Read this.

This is such a pretty church in the middle of a pedestrian street. That’s another thing I loved about Athens, and Europe in general: the prevalence/existence of pedestrian-only streets like this one.

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On the wall outside.

This was a stop worth making. Katherine and I shared a tasting of red wines, one of several options we could have chosen from. And the wines – every one of them – were all good. This was a nearly universal characteristic of the wine we had in Greece. It was exceptional.

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Some of the colorful bottles to which the sign refers.

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Some of the wine to which I referred.

On my second evening there, I happened to run into a march of striking workers. They were striking over curbs on their right to strike, and the protest was simply too large to photograph. This is a portion, but there were thousands of people, and the streets were eerily silent, aside from the march and the sound of bullhorns.

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A protest.

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