Athens Day 1

I arrived at Piraeus about 7am, and had no idea where anything was.  There is no tourist information office at the port.  The train station was nearby so I took one (delayed!  My first late train!) to Omonia.  Here I tried to check in to the Athens House hostel.  They didn’t answer the doorbell until 9am.  When the door finally opened I found the hostel to be rather dark, and run by a man with the world’s worst toupee.  I wasn’t expecting much from the reviews but for €9/night who can complain?  I was given a 4-bed dorm with a balcony.

After sorting myself out I went exploring.  Omonia is about 20min walk from Syntagma Square.  On the way I found several bookshops.  I thought about buying a travel guide for Europe but the only ones on the shelves were for parts of Europe I wouldn’t be visiting.  I walked on to Keramikos, where I saw my first ruin!!

No need to pay the entrance fee - you can see everything from outside the fence.

This is near Monastiraki, a shopping district with a lot of junk shops and a flea market on Sundays.

Random crap!

There are some wonderfully stocked shops on the back streets – antiques, furniture, odds and ends, records, books, and some militaria.  I managed to find a 1999 edition of the Lonely Planet guide to Western Europe, neatly covering all the countries I will be visiting, and it was only €3.  Since my itinerary includes sites that are all at least 90 years old I don’t think it will be that out of date.

Don't touch anything

In the larger alley the shops are mostly souvenirs and clothes, but there are also a surprising number of tactical gear shops.  Some are crap but others have lovely assortments of combat boots (one shop had a whole wall of them), webbing, lights, clothes, batons, packs, and other gear that I’m sure I need somehow.

I wandered up to the parliament.  Here is a war memorial guarded by two soldiers in traditional dress.

I know it's traditional dress . . . but seriously now.

Nearby were some remains from a recent protest.

Someone doesn't like the Bank of Greece!

Back at the hostel I was just settling in when I was told to move to another room to make way for a group.  My balcony turned in to a small window.  Hmph.  I went out to do some exercise but didn’t stay out late – even by 7.30pm the seediness was starting to seep out.

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