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Athens: a quick visit - Part 1 - Orlando / Florida Guide

Florida Guide > Travelling

If you have time to just have a quick visit to Athens then it can be hard to decide what to do. There are many guide books which offer advice but it can also be like a child in a sweet shop, with so much on offer that a decision is hard to make.

Athens is so much more than the Acropolis. The Greeks' greatest art, it has been said, is that of living. Their love of beauty can be seen everywhere. To experience this art you must wander through the streets of the Agora and Plaka sections of Athens.

The modest hotel room we stayed in had one outstanding luxury. From its window was a commanding view of the Acropolis. This is not unusual, the Acropolis can be seen from just about anywhere in Athens. Even in the polluted air, the Acropolis gleamed honey white in the stark Athenian sun. Walking around Athens, it was a constant reminder of the city' s brilliant past. The only blot being the increasing amount of graffiti that is now common in cities.

The Plaka is situated on the north side of the Acropolis. This area, reminiscent of the way all of Athens once was, contains traditional taverns, churches, and residences. There have been residents here since prehistoric times. In the tavern you can sample the relatively inexpensive mezes; appetizers consisting of olives, cheese, tomatoes, dried fish, and octopus. You can also drink the national libation, ouzo, an aniseed flavoured liquor. More adventurous types might try Knockouts, lamb heart and liver wrapped in intestines and roasted over a grill. Many of the shops close at 2 p. m. , when workers go home for lunch and a siesta. They open at about 4 p. m. , when customers again fill the cafes, sipping Retina, a wine flavoured with resin, and twirling ' worry beads. '

The Agora, or marketplace, is northeast of the Acropolis. This was the commercial centre of ancient Athens. The chariots of the Anathema Festival passed through the Agora on their way from the Diploma Gate, the ancient entrance to Athens, to the Acropolis. The raised circular floor of the Thomas, the seat of ancient Athens government, can be seen here. Nearby, free meals for life were given to any winner of the Olympic Games. The Stoa of Attalus, reconstructed in the 1950' s and consisting of 134 columns, is also in the Agora. Socrates and the other great philosophers of the day held their discussions here.

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