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!!
This is near Monastiraki, a shopping district with a lot of junk shops and a flea market on Sundays.
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 Since my itinerary includes sites that are all at least 90 years old I don’t think it will be that out of date.
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.
Nearby were some remains from a recent protest.
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.