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Mike's Odyssey to Greece - 2005

Part 7: Athens

At this point, I want to change streams a little bit and show you some of the things that make Athens unique from other European cities.

First, I discovered that the Communist party is alive and well.  You can imagine how shocked I was by this, especially considering how despised the Communists were in Poland during my visit there.

Communists
The Communists (or is it Kommunists?) in the Omonia municipality of Athens.

Athens is a crazy town to get around in.  To do so, we needed to travel by bus, taxi, or train - anything that would help us from having to drive there ourselves.  (And driving, while crazy, is nothing compared to Italy, which I think has the craziest drivers in the world.  But, what makes Athens so bad is the lack of places to park, thus leading to much frustration and resourcefulness that we, as American visitors, chose not to engage in.)

Subway
One of the subways we regularly rode on to downtown.


One of the artistic designed subway stations.

Mike on subway
Yours truly on the subway.

Mike on bus
On the bus after much ouzo!  OPA!

We took the trip to Larisa Station to buy tickets on the Diakofto to Kalavytra cog train, and passed a bus station in which everyone was Albanian.  I nicknamed it "Little Tirana."

Little Tirana
Little Tirana.  All of those trucks, cars, and buses had Albanian plates.

Larisa Station
Larisa Station.

Now, one of the extremely unusual things about Greece is how they construct their houses.  In the US, we get a mortgage to buy our house, move in, and then spend the rest of our lives trying to pay it off.  Not so in Greece.  In Greece, they construct their houses bit by bit, paying for them as they go.

Frame Mold
Here is the wooden mold being set up for when they pour the concrete frame.

House under construction
Frame is complete and walls are in, only plumbing, windows, doors, insides to go...

House being built
Note the rebar sticking out of the roof on the house next door.

Concrete frames
Concrete frames everywhere.

Level 2 being built
A different approach.

In the house above, there is a slightly different approach.  In this case, you build the frame of the two or three story house, and then complete the first level.  This way, you can move in and begin living as you raise money to pay for the subsequent completion of the other levels.

Rebar house
Rebar sticking up from the roof of a house.  Not a very unusual site in Greece.

After visiting Larisa Station, we went to Omonia Square and walked around for a bit.  Then, with tickets in hand, it was off to Diakofto to visit the gorge.

Continue on to Part 8: Diakofto (or "Making friends with stray animals")