Europe

Clubbing with Diplomats in Athens, Greece


Saturday, May 29th, 2004: Athens, Greece

We start off with a very low-energy approach to the day – we sleep late and then enjoy a leisurely breakfast, which is, as is normal in Asian and continental European hotels, included in the price of the hotel. Breakfast in Turkey was always delicious, but always the same: fresh white bread, cherry jam and honey, tomato and cucumber slices, feta cheese, hard boiled eggs, black olives, and çay or instant coffee (called nescafé, as in much of the world). Today we come to breakfast and find all of the above, plus fresh-squeezed orange juice, yogurt, stewed prunes, dakos salad, fried and scrambled eggs, bacon, sausages, sliced processed meats, many different cereals, many different cheeses, many different breads, many different jams and a huge bowl of Nutella free for the taking. We savour the experience (and skip lunch as a consequence).

Work!

After breakfast we head off to an internet café, to update the web, catch up on some emails, pay some bills and do a bit of research. We find a very nice place, with a bit of space to spread out (which is unlike most internet cafés, where they cram you in as tightly as they can). Greg updates the web while I go off in search of the Herald Tribune, and, having found it, sit reading it as we both sip cappuccinos. Somehow, 3 hours pass, quite pleasantly. We decide that the Parthenon will have to wait until tomorrow, and spend the afternoon sitting on the terrace of our room, 6 floors up from the chaotic traffic, reading and enjoying the sunshine.

Checking Menus in Monastiraki

About 9 p.m. we head out for dinner, walking south to the Monastiraki area. When we arrive, we find many interesting looking cafés, and we spend at least 30 minutes walking around, checking menus, before we decide on a place – its menu is Greek, but with a bit of a twist, unlike most of the others which seem content to offer the usual fare. The meal is excellent.

Clubbing with Diplomats

At 11:00 p.m. we meet up with Michael, a friend of a friend, who has told us that there is no point in going out any earlier in Athens. He brings along another friend, Derek, who is also visiting Athens. We start at a quiet café on one of the many pedestrian-only streets. After a quiet hour, we head to a disco in Gazi, the converted gasworks area. We are definitely early – there are only a few people there when we arrive – but shortly after the place begins to fill, and soon it is crowded. Soon after, the smoke gets to us, particularly the cigar smoke, and we head out to another club, a taxi ride away in Makrigiani, behind the Acropolis.

This place is going full tilt when we arrive, and we stay until about 4, when we decide that it is time for bed.

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