These days now are about counting; how many days before I leave, how many days before I leave the apartment; how much should I sell various items of furniture for? Counting the people to invite for that last coffee the day before I leave. Counting the number of times I visited the Acropolis – I lost count at 22.
In the winter months, November to March, it’s free to go to all the open air museums on Sundays but I’d still have benefited from a season ticket to that old rock because of the number of guests I accompanied. I still prefer viewing the Parthenon from a distance but I also love standing up there and looking down at the city, spread out like a concrete quilt. The only colour comes from Ikea over by the National Road and, on a clear day, the sea down at Pireaus.
No one could really describe Athens as a beautiful city but despite it not being pretty it has style, flamboyance and confidence. If Athens was a woman she would be the one who doesn’t go for beauty treatments, eats what she wants when she wants and doesn’t wear fashionable clothes. If you look only for the attractiveness of the conventional then you’ll be disappointed by her but under-estimate her at your own risk.
I’ve seen Athens from the top of Ymitos, Pendeli, Parnitha and Tatoi. On clear days from Ymitos you can pick out the trio of the Hill of Lycabettus, the Acropolis and the hill of Philopappou. Now from these points I can pick up the roads, Pireaus Street, Kifissias, Sofias, Parliament. The Hilton Hotel with its curves lends some help to the geography.
It can be hot, dirty and chaotic. When the rains come the roads become rivers. People shout and will push you on the metro. It’s a crazy place but it’s fun.
And maybe it is a beautiful city. You just have to reconsider the conventional.