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Where the Olympic Torch is Lit・オリンピックの聖火が灯される場所・点燃奥运火炬的地方

Updated: May 18, 2023

@Athens, Greece

My next stop after Sofia, Bulgaria was Athens, Greece.

From Athens International airport, it takes about an hour and a half one-way to get into the city center. This random fact is definitely something to keep in mind if you decide to visit this beautiful place known as the City of Gods.

I purchased the 3-day tourist ticket, which cost around €20 (~$23) and can be used on all public transportation. It doesn't look like a card that you can scan, but I promise that you can. Just make sure to hold it up to the Wi-Fi looking mark for a few seconds. In Athens, you only need to scan when you get on the bus, not when you get off.

My initial thoughts were that bus drivers in Athens drive a little like maniacs. The bus headed to the city center was so crowded, I had to stand the entire one-hour-and-a-half bus ride, almost flying through the bus every time the driver slammed on his brakes.

The buses did not run on time and people did not give up their seats for others, they just put their luggage on the seats instead. When I finally got to sit a little bit, the seats were terribly hard. It made me truly appreciate countries that provide efficient, clean, safe, and comfortable public transportation.

The next day, after a breakfast including some delicious Greek yogurt, I ventured off to check out the Varvakios Central Municipal Market, Monastiraki Square, Metropolis Cathedral, Hadrian's Library, and the Hellenic Parliament. If you love cobblestone streets and adventuring between the little shops that make up these historical neighborhoods, then don’t forget to check out the Plaka area.

The oldest Orthodox church in Athens, the Panagia Kapnikarea, can be found in the middle of the famous shopping street, Ermou street. It is a rare sight where old Byzantine architecture has been preserved while new and modern buildings line the streets surrounding it.

I participated in a free walking tour and got to see the city from an Athenian perspective, which was really cool. My tour guide was very curious about where I was from based on my name and told me that if I added an "s" to my last name, it would become a Greek name.

I learned many interesting facts like how Zappeion was the first Olympic village, 1896 is the year when the first Olympic games were held, and how the Panathenaic Stadium (where the Olympic torch is lit), entirely made of marble, fits 50,000 people. Greece's official name is the "Hellenic Republic” and there are over 3000 islands in Greece with a little over 200 of them inhabited.

My tour guide was very adamant to warn us that if someone on the street offers us a rose or anything else, to not take it. There are apparently lots of pickpockets who work together with these kinds of people.

In the evening, a rooftop bar in the Psyri area gifted me with a gorgeous view of the Acropolis of Athens and the Parthenon. I studied art history when I was in high school, so it was surreal looking at the Parthenon in person rather than in a textbook. The panoramic view looking down on the Old Town as well as the sunset was one of the most beautiful views I have ever seen.

Random thoughts:

A travel adaptor is a must, especially in many European and Asian countries. Make a universal travel adapter part of your travel essentials so that you’ll have it whenever you need it.

Bring a small travel pack of laundry detergent with you (or put some in a small Ziplock bag). It can be a lifesaver when you need to wash some clothes or something unexpected happens.

Next stop: Istanbul, Turkey























雅典最古老的东正教教堂Panagia Kapnikarea,可以在著名的商业街Ermou街中间找到。这是一个难得的景象,古老的拜占庭式建筑被保留下来,而新的现代建筑则在它周围的街道上鳞次栉比。

我参加了一个免费的步行之旅,从雅典人的角度看这个城市,这真的很酷。导游基于我的名字很好奇我来自哪里,并告诉我,如果我在我的姓氏上加一个 "s",就会变成一个希腊名字。

我了解到许多有趣的事实,比如扎培翁是第一个奥运村,1896年是第一届奥运会举办的年份,以及完全由大理石制成的帕那辛纳克体育场(点燃奥运火炬的地方)是如何容纳5万人的。希腊的官方名称是 "希腊共和国",希腊有3000多个岛屿,其中只有200多个有人居住。







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