02-22-10 Urban Maze – Athens, Greece

For the traveler who has been to western European capitals such as London, Paris, Berlin and Madrid, Athens can be more than a little jarring. It is a little less polished, and a lot more congested than those other capitals. There are 11 million Greeks and 4 million of them live in Athens. Many of them seem to have cars!

But I love Athens, partly because it is so different from other European capitals and partly because if you grow weary of the modern city, all you have to do is step to a location where you can see the Acropolis and the Parthenon. Then you are reminded of the fact that in so many ways – our politics, our aesthetics, our view of human possibilities – Percy Shelly was right: “We are all Greeks.”

This photo is a bit misleading in that there are green spaces in Athens. But the uniform color of the city visible here is accurate, though the brightly colored awnings of the many apartments is hard to miss.

Another view of Athens and the suburbs

A view of the Acropolis and the Parthenon from our hotel

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