An aviation security work conference provided a travel opportunity to visit Athens and a local island to get a little flavor of what the country was about. It was in November 2003, as I recall, that we were visiting. It was a new experience never having traveled to this part of the world.
We were staying (very nicely) at the Hilton Athens Hotel with positioning close to Athens City Museum, the Agora and Gazi with a fantastic outlook over the city to the acropolis. The property opened in 1963 and features minimalist architecture but had been updated just prior to our arrival to be prepared for the 2004 Olympics. It was nestled in the heart of Athens and a 10-minute walk from National Art Gallery of Athens train station. Just 2 km from the center of Athens known for Kolonaki, National Gallery and Benaki Museum.
Aside from the work conference we spent a few days exploring the city, its sights and a nearby Island. Athens is the capital of Greece and constitutes a vibrant economical , cultural and administrative center of the country. Athens got its name from Athena the Goddess who was its protector. Athens today is modern city but famous as well due to the fact that back in antiquity it was a mighty powerful city -state and a most significant cultural center. It is considered to be the most historical city in the entire Europe. Long considered as one of the world’s oldest cities with records of its written history accurately dated to be around 3,400 years, Athens is highly regarded as the birthplace of democracy and the cradle of civilization in the Western world.
We admired its charm and vibrant, friendly local populace. Here are a few pictures from the experience around Athens.
We also took a day boat trip out to Hydra to see a Greek island. Hydra located in the Aegean Sea between the Saronic Gulf and the Argolic Gulf. In ancient times, the island was known as Hydrea (Υδρέα, derived from the Greek word for “water”), a reference to the springs on the island. There is one main town, known simply as “Hydra port” (pop. 1,900 in 2011).
It consists of a crescent-shaped harbor, around which is centered a strand of restaurants, shops, markets, and galleries that cater to tourists and locals (Hydriots). Steep stone streets lead up and outward from the harbor area. Most of the local residences, as well as the hostelries on the island, are located on these streets. Other small villages or hamlets on the island include Mandraki (pop. 11), Kamini, Vlychos (19), Palamidas, Episkopi, and Molos.