Athens Post 4: A Sprawling Blend of Ancient and New

Athens is packed between the Aegean Sea and mountains. We got a sense of the big picture of its size and landscape as we arrived by ferry from the island of Paros.

A few dramatic hills pop up on the mostly flat plain filled with buildings and roads. The Acropolis and other historical sights are located on these hills, and the views from these hills offer stunning views of this sprawling city. 

Athens is hard to pigeon hole. The different neighborhoods can be gritty, chic, or touristy. Pedestrians are under siege, it seems, as cars and motorcycles weave and speed by. People are in a hurry.

Areas in the old city are vibrant. Lots of people, good food, and very old buildings.

The food at this market in the city center was even more luscious than the one we saw the previous week in Pireaus. Veggies were super fresh and green!

Greek specialities! Olives! Feta cheese! Figs! So much fruit!

The street musicians we heard played traditional Greek music. 

We wandered into a peaceful place in the middle of the city. 

The National Garden in Athens is a lush, gorgeous park. It is not open, like Central Park and other American parks – it is dense and thickly planted. There are winding paths and secluded little nooks. 

Plants thrive in this climate so the park is lush.

Statues pop up here and there.

Old relics are tucked away in the park, as they are throughout this ancient city. Sometimes they are unnamed, 

And sometimes there is a marker with its history. This mosaic in the park was once a floor in a building complex here, dating from the 4th-5th century A.D.

The National Garden is a peaceful enclave in a busy city.

It seems people like their own personal enclaves, as well. Terraces are a big thing here; there are rows and rows of them on every residential building.

We had our own lovely terrace.

At night, after walking all day, we could relax on our terrace with wine and see the Acropolis lit up in the distance. It was a great way to end each day here.