I’ve been to Athens twice where the first time I hated it and the second time I loved it. The first time, I was there briefly in passing on my way to the islands. Everybody I interacted with was aggressive and rude, somewhat jaded. I don’t blame them, as this place is so infested with tourists.. and here I am, just one more. The second time, I stayed away from ports and tourist attractions and got to walk around the residential neighborhoods, stumbling upon small hidden cafes and old bookstores. I even stumbled upon a Gladiator shoe maker, Melissinos, who’ll custom hand-make shoes for you, exactly like he’s done for the Beatles, Peter O’Tool and Barbara Streisand.
There were guards standing in front of a beautiful historic building in the middle of a residential area. It was hard to take these guys seriously with big poofs on their shoes and wooden rifles by their sides.
An old man sat at the side of the street, dedicating himself to selling old-school cameras — I wanted to buy all of them!
Walking down a little residential street, flowers of one of my favorite plants, in arabic called ‘Majnoone’ (I don’t know what it’s called in in English!), made me feel right at home — as this plant is native to the Mediterranean. And then I turn a corner, and there was ‘Polly’ hanging out comfortably on a fence, unattended.