A stop-over in Athens is, of course, a great idea for culture-keen visitors en route to Skopelos (especially with the establishment of the latest low-cost Athens to Skopelos route - see previous blog).
However there is so much more to the city than the grand tourist attractions. Behind the screen of tourism, there is the life of Athens of the Greeks.
On my recent trip, I headed away from the commercial centre of Syntagma square and the Plaka, to the last stretch of Ermou. This area is an extension of the fanous flea market, but much more engaging and characterful. Collectibles, eclectic second-hand clothes, one-of-a-kind pieces of furniture, plus much more are displayed and sold here.
You can discover a wide array of interesting paraphernalia, from simple potato-peelers to intricate hand-crafted jewellery. If you start a conversation with a vendor - or one of the cronies who keep them company - you'll find that Greeks love to share their stories and most of these people certainly have interesting stories to tell!
Meandering through the narrow pathways and crowded streets of the central market you might easily forget that you are in Athens, until that is, you look up and see the Acropolis above, majestic and supreme.
Sofe's Top Athens Travel Tips!
1. If possible, visit the new Acropolis Museum, which rates amongst the 25 best museums in the world.
2. Arrange to go on one of the historical walks on a given subject. These are organised and guided by intelligent, informed and entertaining young Athenians students and other professionals.
An Athenian street vendor, with cronies!
A Romany vendor, working the streets of Athens
A student-led Athens history walk (firmly recommended)