I took a short trip to Greece with little to no forward planning and experienced Athens like a real tourist. This is my Greek experience in 3 days! My plan for Greece started off with a hotel selection that was not my choice, but I went with it. For my 3 days in Athens, I wanted to visit the Acropolis and Plaka; with that limited time, I managed to get a taste of Greek food and talk to the world-renowned Greek artist Takis Moraitis.
I stayed at a hotel called Divani Caravel Hotel and off the top I will say I didn’t have the best experience in this hotel. It claimed to be a FIVE STAR hotel, but it was more like a 3 Star. We paid almost 400USD per night for this stay, so there was a presumption that the stay would be decent. The first thing to note is that upon walking into the lobby there was a smell of cigar, smoke, old carpet, and age. It just had a look and smell that reminded me of an older Las Vegas Hotel. Everything in the hotel seemed like a façade nothing was real, there was always a layer of paint, curtain, or potted plant covering up the cracks and age of this place. Our request was for a room with a queen or king-size bed but instead, we got two twin beds jammed together in a standard room. The hotel offered a buffet, but it gets hectic, so I would suggest going early or close to the end of the breakfast buffet. The room we stayed in on the 5th floor was not soundproof as you could hear people in the other room or talking in the hallway. While there, we listened to their cleaning staff argue in the hallway while cleaning and prepping rooms. The staff were uncaring, there was construction in the building, and the hotel seemed to care about convention and business meeting attendees than actual hotel guests. I have nothing good to say about this place; it was a rip-off, and the hotel rooms didn’t look anything like the pictures they presented on several sites. No, I am lying I have to take that back. They did look like the picture, but 2 decades outdated. I would say book at your own risk, it wasn’t worth almost 400USD per night.
For such a short stay we decided to visit the Acropolis, Acropolis Museum, and Plaka. I did this all in one day, my trip to these areas started with finally seeing the Acropolis in person. I braved the crowded steps and slippery rocks making it to the beautiful Acropolis. While it was a very crowded place, it was absolutely magnificent against a sunny clear blue sky, and the view of Athens from this spot was breathtaking.
The Acropolis Museum & Plaka
After seeing the Acropolis, I visited the Acropolis Museum. The museum, just like the actual monument, was jam-packed and filled to the brim with people. Our visit there was short-lived as it got so busy that we decided to head to Plaka before the crowd followed us. The walk to Plaka was not far from the Acropolis Museum. Plaka was described to us as a popular shopping area, but it is also the oldest section in Athens. Plaka was a tourist shopping destination with many shops, bars, market, art galleries, cafes, live entertainment, picture opportunities, and other indulgences.
Plaka is a bright and lively place, within the first few minutes of walking the streets we ran into an art studio. The artist’s name was Takis Moraitis, and his shop is located in Plaka at 129 Andrianou Street. The studio was packed with colorful painting in very brilliant colors, and in his basement, he had a sizeable ancient urn that he unearthed.
While in the studio I spoke to Takis; he was inviting; he spoke about his work and had a frankness to him. He seemed to be living the creative life and was very expressive, but super casual and welcoming. After leaving Plaka that day I took the time to research him and found that he was a very accomplished person who has showcased his work all over the world. It was indeed an absolute pleasure to meet him in person. For information about see the link https://gallery.gr/en/artist/panagiotis-moraitis
Walking the streets of Plaka was an adventure, as I wandered around I found pockets of beautiful scenery. Below I took this picture while walking pass an open market selling fruits.
My food experience in Athens was joyous, it’s a coastal city, so that means SEAFOOD. There were several restaurants close to the hotel that never disappointed when it came to the food. During the few days I was there, I had piles of shrimps, prawns, octopus, mussels, oysters, and fish. The one restaurant that I visited that shockingly served an excellent all-round meal was Milo’s Restaurant at the Hilton in Athens. Just look at some of these dishes. Below are a few dishes from Milo’s.
If you are opposed to having your food look at you then do not order the prawns or shrimps for most likely they will all arrive at your table like this.
The food in Greece is very diverse, if you are not into seafood there are a number of steakhouses, Asian style restaurants, classic Greek eateries, and so much more.
I would say my trip to Greece was too short, so I plan to revisit this country, but this time I hope to go island hopping and to Corfu. Corfu was my original destination, but I lost the bet and ended up in Athens.