Hi, my name is Eva, welcome to my travel blog.
I travel since I was a kid but seriously started to discover other continents and more countries in 2006, first in Europe, then in Central America and Africa.
Currently I live in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

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My First (=Best) Athens And Greece Experience - Part 1

9 August 2019

Do you sometimes have times in life that you are feeling so enhausted, dull or simply bored of too much work, daily routine, every day problems or tiring people around you that you cannot stop thinking about getting out to somewhere nice, to rest or enjoy free time and careless moments? That you cannot stop thinking about adventure?

Well, I was in such a moment - it was when I had just bought a property, had too much stuff on my head related to refurbishment, house decoration and settling down. At the same time I had too work overtimes at work because of a few urgent projects that I barely had time to sleep and eat someting quickly and that was pretty much every day back then. This lasted almost half a year - yes - six months erased from social and any pleasurable life because I had taken too much on my shoulders.

Every year I used to escape ever cloudy English winter to a sunny country but this time was stuck to my duties and in early spring I finally said enough... - I need to go on holiday and get some breath... I can't remember how I decided about the destination but for sure I wanted to go to a place I had never visited before. And cheap. And sunny. The house investment emptied my pocket so it would need to be low budget escape too.

I found low price ticket to Corfu and quite cheap return from Athens. The ancient Greece was always at the top of my list yet I never had a chance to go there before. I was so excited! Of course I wanted to visit more than that in Greece but since I could only spare 10 days for the entire break I decided that it's better to focus on and enjoy one or two places more thoroughly than loose time for communting and jumping from place to place.

I booked only 1 night in Corfu and purchased a bus ticket to Athens. Since the money was a problem and I expected that such a famous city and the country's capital would be expensive I decided to look for a couchsurfing stay. This is where I got problems...

Either people weren't replying to my requests or they were refusing because they were going away for the time I wanted to spend there... What was going on? This is how I realised why my return flight ticket was so cheap - I booked it exactly on the orthodox Easter Sunday! No wonder everyone was going away - to visit relatives and family during the holiday.

One reply was different though. I cannot even remember what was the name of the guy (yes, I know, shame on me). He simply replied - "Sorry, I cannot host you in Athens because I'm going away..." (surprise surprise...) "but... I can host you in Meteora where I am going to spend the Easter break". Oh, what?! Yes, yes, yes!!!

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Meteora was also on the top of my top Greek places to visit but when planning my trip I simply crossed it out of the list because I thought it'll be too much hassle to get there, accommodation wasn't cheap and I would loose too much time and not see much in hurry. So the sudden invitation from the couchsurfer was like a godsend.

The best bit was this: he was a rock climber and Greek rock hotheads have a rally every Easter in Meteora to exercise and socialise in such a beautiful and challenging area. The accommodation he was offering was... a tent. The climbers were invading a campsite in Kastraki and exploring the rocks from there. He later wrote a comment for me in CS that I was his first tent-surfer. Indeed - this was my first such experience and the last so far. Not only for this it was the most memorable and unique of all my Greek experiences (I was yet about to travel to Greece again but this is another story).

Athens

The initial plan was to travel from Corfu straight to Athens and return from there so I had to modify it now. I still went to Athens but then to Meteora for 3 days and back to Athens again to cathc my flight. I still had a challenge to find a couch in the capital but isnce I was going for Easter to Kastraki, I finally found a stay through workaway for a few days before my trip to the north.

That was also interesting... The couch was located in a neighbourhood of Metaxourgeio. I wasn't familiar of the city's topography, located it on the map close to the old historical center. It indeed happened to bo close enough and within 30mins walking distance from Acropolis and other most important sights. Perfect.

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My host was keen to promote the neighbourhood and hired me as photographer to take pictures of the area and adding a few reviews for the attractions located there. As I never droped my camera during my travels and would take pictures anyway that seemed perfect. Not only I would be doing something I always do, I would get a free accommodation in exchange. I could hope for better deal.

Metaxourgeio was surprisingly beautiful, even more surprisingly it was a shabby and mostly abandonned and ruined neighbourhood, with poor people and drug addictics around. But it was also becoming trendy and artistic and I could see the sights of revitalisation. It looked to me as a place with great problems but also with amazing potential.

My photography gallery Forgotten Athens will show you the ugly side of the neighbourhood. Don't be put off though as it had many cafes and hippie bars where young people and artistic life thrived. Personally I would be keen to revisit the area after a few years to see how it changed and how it looks now.

Having said that I obviously didn't forget to visit the historical centre of Athens together with Acropolis Hill and Parthenon. The city deserves a good full day tour but it's best to stay there longer to appreciate and enjoy more attractions.

Meteora

TBC