Earlier this morning I walked down Kifissia Avenue and cut through the streets of Marousi to my gym. Apart from the dodgy pavements and the even dodgier traffic it’s an interesting city walk with old villas and the old government building on the edge of Kifissia that reminds me of a pineapple. Once you reach the edge of Kifissia and the area referred to as KAT there’s quite a steep downhill stretch which would normally give you a view right across the northern suburbs and down to Athens. It’s the best way of seeing Athens, from a distance with Ymittos mountain to the other side. Because it was a perfect autumn morning with sun straining behind the mist there wasn’t a great view across the city and Ymittos looked like a ghost mountain sketched against the sky. I only knew it was there because I know it’s there.
I like walking in towns or cities early in the morning before everything is set up for the day. In Marousi I walked past the cafe that I sometimes stop at for coffee after my morning swim and the waiters were sitting outside wrapped in heavy coats and scarves, drinking coffee and smoking while shouting something across the road to the man piling his oranges on the table outside his shop. One of them nodded to me and said that it was cold and I felt like a local for a moment.
When I went back to the UK in October I woke up early in the morning and drove down to the little seaside town that’s a few miles away from my place. It was the same weather as this morning with sun struggling against the mist and the autumn leaves drifting across the pavements. The view there is different to that of Kifissia Avenue and Marousi and instead I have Haven Cliff or Beer Head to look at and it’s all much slower with fewer cars and more people walking dogs. But there’s a cafe on the seafront and the staff were wrapped up in coats and scarves, drinking tea, smoking cigarettes and complaining of the cold.