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Greece part 1: Athens, Greece

I wasn’t sure what to expect from Greece as I’ve never had any desire to go there, maybe it is the lack of surf, but I was pleasantly surprised by the whole experience after my girlfriend booked us 2 return flights to Athens for our first 2 week holiday together.

Athens airport was clean, well designed and easy to get around. We arrived late in the evening and took the metro from the airport straight to the centre of Athens where we were due to stay in an area called Plaka (an old historical part of the city). We stayed in the Student Travellers Inn for 2 nights, figuring that it wasn’t worth staying somewhere luxurious as we would be spending most of our time away from the hotel/hostel seeing the sights anyway.

The hostel was clean, quiet (we were staying at the end of the season) and centrally located in the Plaka area of town, which is close to all the sights including the Acropolis.

The weather was great, low to mid 20s, sunny and warm, perfect for walking around and seeing the wonderful architecture. I expect if you come in the peak summer season it would be unbearable and you’d probably pass out from the heat, traffic fumes and hoards of American tourists.

The sights were amazing and easy to get around on foot for the most part. I would definitely recommend strolling around the streets of Plaka, Monastiraki, seeing the Acropolis, the National Gardens, The Roman and Greek Agoras, Hadrian’s Library as well as the other main sights.

Greek food was a bit of an unknown to me, as I usually opt for nearly anything else when going out for a meal in London, but again I was pleasantly surprised and enjoyed all the traditional dishes including salads, souvlaki, grilled meats and  various cheeses. One thing I wasn’t really impressed with was the wine. Maybe we ordered the wrong thing or the cheaper options, but in general I thought Greek wine was crap (I usually go for full-bodied South African, Australian, Chilean Californian or Argentinean reds).

All in all our stay in Athens was amazing and I would recommend a stay to anyone who likes architecture, good food and friendly people.

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