My Athenian travel
by Evans Yonson
(Note: Less than a month after I came back to Barcelona in 2008, I flew to Athens, Greece and spent a weekend among Greek gods and goddesses in Acropolis.)
barcelona – one of the very good things that spain has to offer to its legal residents is the long weekend holidays. the spanish people really plan their holidays very well. so in keeping with this tradition, a day after my arrival i booked myself a ticket to Athens, Greece. it was to be for the first weekend of December holidays (the 6th, Constitution Day and the 8th, Immaculate Conception).
arriving very early in Athens had its shortcomings, there were no frequent public buses and the bars were still closed or have closed for the night. good thing was the international hostel that i checked in to was opened. leaving Barcelona very cold, i brought my winter jacket and much to my dismay, Athens is relatively cooler for a late autumn weekend.
armed with lonely planet guide, i took the city as any ordinary adventurous tourist would have it his way.
first thing on the list was acropolis, that famous monument where the greeks started democracy, which was again unfortunately closed for the weekend. the workers suddenly called a weekend strike. later on, i was told that strikes and lockouts are common during december and summer months. i realized if i could not near i might as well go farther and get a better view of acropolis. and the sight was breathtaking. and the sunset hit acropolis and i was on fillypapous hill and boy, it was beyond any verbal, written or pictorial description. you have to be there to better appreciate what i have seen.
i went to the 2004 olympic stadium. i didn’t find it monumental in the greek sense of the word. barcelona’s stadium is a lot better and modern. the immensity of the stadium is there but the architectural drama does not leave any impression at all.
the greeks speak better english than their spanish counterparts. the olympians are probably the rudest people i have encountered in my life. ‘excuse me’ and ‘i’m sorry’ are probably foreign to these europeans. but what they lack in public etiquette, they compensate with their personal concern for their visitors. proof of that when the bloody riots occured killing a young student, my host asked me to stay away from potential disturbing places and i felt her concern for me.
as i walked through the laybrinths of Agora, i imagined myself being whisked into realm of Homer’s Iliad. listening to the sound of the Hellenic language made me hear the song of the blind Demodocus performing the poems, the “Quarrel of Odysseus and Achilles” and the love affair of Ares and Aphrodite. as i walked out of the Agora, i felt my Trojan War was over because i smelled McDonald’s from a distance.
burger and french fries are cheaper than Barcelona’s. anywhere in this McPlanet, you will always feel you’re back home. just look at the tumbler and there you will see, love ko ‘to.
on my last night in athens, i passed through a souvenir shop. i bought some stuff and chatted with the clerk. i asked him how old he was because i wanted to strike a conversation and tell him that Margie Moran won Miss Universe 1973 in Athens. but he was a lot younger in his early 20s. after paying, his parents came in and he introduced me to them. don’t ask what happened before they came in. his mom took a necklace from the counter and placed it around my neck. it’s the photo of Panagia (the Virgin Mary) and the Child Jesus. i got my greek family before leaving athens. call it my greek fat wedding…
Sas efharisto poli, Hellenas.