The transition from Athens to Hong Kong has been tough.
First you have to get over the jet lag, which took us nearly a week. Then you have to adjust to the new time zone (I often have to work two shifts in a day so I can speak to my colleagues in the evening). Then you have to get used to the change in pace – 4 crowded trains to and from my office per day is exhausting.
So it’s taken me nearly a month to summon the energy to open my laptop on an evening and try and collect my thoughts about Athens. If I wait any longer I’ll forget the details!
“Athens is an unfriendly city. By that I mean the infrastructure is against you.”
These were the words of our host the day after we arrived. I don’t think that was really our experience though. Yes, the roads are mental, and it’s no fun standing on a tiny bit of pavement between 6 lanes of traffic. If you’ve got a mobility issue, don’t live in the centre of Athens – you’re not catered for.
But otherwise things seemed to work as they should. And Athens is by no means an unfriendly city. People on the whole were very friendly. And for me, I never tired of being among the historic setting and amazing architecture of the ancient city. My walk to work took me past relics, through the market, with the Acropolis in view the whole way. And Roobs and I did our 1k run outside the venue of the very first Olympic stadium!
Our accommodation was probably the best we’ve stayed in so far. An apartment just outside the main city, it was somehow tucked away so you didn’t get the constant noise of the main road only 150 metres or so away. It had two bathrooms – one of which had two showers in it! And best of all, a rooftop where you could sit on an evening and enjoy a view of the Acropolis as it is lit up.
So while I can still remember, here are the things I liked about Athens:
- The little family-owned taverna just outside our apartment. Amazing home cooked food – moussaka, greek salad, and some amazing desserts which luckily for my belly I only discovered in the last few weeks.
- All Greek food was really good, in fact. I was pleasantly surprised.
- My co-working space, Impact Hub – an oasis in the centre of Athens, gated off from the chaos outside.
- Meeting Chris at Impact Hub and striking up a friendship. We went to a football game together.
- Going to the Athens Mini Maker Faire and seeing R2D2.
- Seeing Roobs thrive at the Lego Mindstorms workshops.
- Going to the mega-posh Glyfada area on a lazy Sunday.
- Inventing the “Gourmet Burger Kitchen” game.
- The Acropolis – just wow. And the fact that I had 4g reception while I was up there so I could Skype my dad and share the moment with him.
- Having dinner with some new friends from Iraq.
- Most of all – seeing Suewan and Roobs teach English at a school for refugees. Knowing that Roobs stood in front of a classroom full of young adults and gave a talk, and then helped in the class.
- Smashing the plates after every meal.
Αντιο σας, Athens.
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