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  • tracyjensen2

Athens, Greece

After a week in Athens, I am now on the train headed north to Greece's number 2 city, Thessaloniki. It was amazing to see the ancient history again. It still impresses me what the Greek's accomplished millenia ago and how deep the history is. Just last year they celebrated the 2500 year anniversary of the Greek victory over Persia in 480 BC. (Unfortunately, a war that involved the first destruction of the Parthenon.)

For anybody that would llke to visit Athens but hasn't been there, it is an incredibly easy city to navigate for tourists. Most of the primary sites are all close to each other in the center. There is a lot of infrastructure set up for tourists, and almost everybody around tourist areas has at least a basic understanding of English.

Yes, the steets are winding, and you will get turned around at some point, but that is part of the fun. You will likely just stumble across more ruins, an enchanting neighborhood, or a 1000 year old church.

Public transport is pretty plentiful, but I found it to be slow as compared to most cities. For example, I would find a route that took 20-25 minutes by bus, but 30 to walk. So, I always chose to just walk. But, once in the center, you won't need to walk far at all. Often, just 3 to 5 minutes to the next site you want to see.

Currently, Covid restrictions in the country are minimal. Mostly, just masks indoors and vaccinations or a test to enter the country. There are a couple island hotspots that do have curfews and nightclub restrictions.

But, the real probem at the moment is the fires. All of the park areas lilke the Hill of Muses, The National Park and Mount Lycabettus are all closed due to fire danger. As I left, I could see the smoke rising from the uncontrolled fire 30 miles outside of Athens. Luckily, the smoke has been blowing away from the city so the air has been good.

And, the prices are great compared to western Europe! I took taxis twice (6 and 7 dollars). My 2 bedroom Airbnb just outside the center cost $76 per night including fees. Bottled water right in the tourist center costs 60 cents. And, my train ride from Athens to Thessaloniki cost $62 (for the Express train).

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