Athens is a city that looks one way and feels another. When you first walk around Athens you are almost taken back by the amount of graffiti everywhere. The street signs, the buildings and statues covered in graffiti to the point you wonder where you are and if you are safe. Walking the streets of Athens feels like you are stepping back in time at one point and fully in the present at the next. You can look up and see the Acropolis looming over the city while enjoying live music and great food. At first we were a bit worried when we started exploring Athens.
We had heard of travelers being pick pocketed on the streets and trains rides. Seeing the graffiti I was worried that maybe we should stay in and not explore on our own. Thankfully the city of Athens arranged a street party for us to attend and it truly showed the magic that is Athens. We found ourselves embraced by the Athenian people and the culture. Standing on a street corner looking up at the Acropolis while live music plays and locals and visitors dance in the street. This was one of the moments when we remembered why we travel and step outside our comfort zones. One of the moments you can’t help but smile and try to bottle the memory up as much as you can.
The Athenian people were nothing but welcoming and friendly to us. We found ourselves in conversations with shop owners about their products and their love of Athens. We had locals thank us for visiting and share with us that they hope that Athens is visited more often. They want to share their city with the world.
Athens truly is a city of diversity and misnomers. The city is portrayed as harsh and at times dangerous. We were reminded as we wandered the streets of Athens near midnight that this is honestly a city of people who love their culture and city. While there is pickpocketing on the trains and in the city we didn’t feel like it was out of the norm for any large city. There will always be people looking to capitalize on tourists and people unaware of their surroundings. If you pay attention and make sure you secure your items it is a city that is well worth exploring.
There is so much to see and do in Athens but one of the things that we have truly fallen in love with is the people. Their enthusiasm to showcase their city and culture truly makes us want to come back and spend more time in the city. Plus the food and music is pretty amazing on top of it all.