Traveling Classroom Foundation
Saturday November 18th 2017

First Day in Athens

After checking into the Hotel Cecil, our first order of business is sleep. The journey from Seattle to our hotel room took about 30 hours, during which we managed only snatches of sleep in the terminals and aboard airplanes. We are exhausted and irritable, and entirely unable to continue without rest. Later in the day, rested but still suffering from ‘jet lag,’ we explore our neighborhood. Our hotel is located on Athinas Street, just few blocks North of the Monastiraki Metro station and the Plaka, and a short distance South of the Central Market where you can buy every manner of produce, from flowers and fruits to cheeses and octopus and meats. The buildings along our street are mostly neoclassical structures built around the turn of the 20th century, when the old city of Athens (which was mainly the Plaka and the areas aaround the Acropolis) began to grow. Many of these old buildings, including our hotel, have been restored to their original beauty. However, many more are neglected and rotting away in the upper floors. It is an odd sight: the ground floors of these buildings house thriving stores while the upper levels are empty … settled only by pigeons. In the evening we go to the Plaka in search of food. The shopping district (agora) of old Athens, the Plaka is still a bustling merchant district — although it caters mostly to tourists now. It is interesting that the crowds are smaller than usual this year, probably because of the terrorist attack last year. We find our favorite gyro place and settle down to eat and watch the steady procession of people passing by on Metropoleon Street.

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