Although many of the rooms at the Grand Bretagne have balconies, mine did not. No Coffee and Croissants overlooking the city. I did know that it would end one day. Still, breakfast at the Roof Garden Restaurant with a great view of the Parthenon is nothing to complain about; and the coffee was very good.
Rather than taking today’s tour, I instead decided to walk around Athens and get a feel for the city. I spent most of the day walking the Pláka district, the old historical neighborhood of Athens clustered around the northern and eastern slopes of the Acropolis, and incorporating labyrinthine streets and neoclassical architecture.
The Pláka is built on top of the residential areas of the ancient town of Athens. It is known as the “Neighborhood of the Gods” due to its proximity to the Acropolis and its many archaeological sites. The Monmartre of old Athens, narrow streets lead to jewelry, souvenier, leather and fur shops. The area has many sidewalk cafes, restaurants and picturesque squares.
Although touristy, this part of the city has great architecture and history. I wander on and off the busy lanes stopping for coffee, having lunch at a local sidewalk café and watching the tourist and local Athenians. It is a relaxing and pleasant way to spend the day after two weeks of touring. The freedom to set my own pace anonymously is welcome.I walk other sections of Athens this evening paying more attention to life in the city than to its monuments, although the Mosque of Mehmet the Conqueror is stunning. I seek out neighborhoods and local shopping streets of grocery stores and other retail venues for my entertainment. A small dinner at a local restaurant where english is spoken by a friendly waiter. A little quiet time…I’m through with tours, cruises, and being good company, for awhile.