Athens, Greece

The City That Perpetuates the Metropolis

The church of Saint Demetrius Loumbardiaris
Changing of the Guard at Syntagma Square
Two Greek Ages
Figures of Time
hellenic shaft
Discussion with Acropolis View
Hellenic Winds
The Old Panathenaic Stadium
Clogs, skirts and pompoms
The Great Port of Piraeus
Greek Corner
Athenian twilight
After three and a half millennia, Athens resists and prospers. From a belligerent city-state, it became the capital of the vast Hellenic nation. Modernized and sophisticated, it preserves, in a rocky core, the legacy of its glorious Classical Era.

Like any other foreigner who enters the Greek capital, we feel the expected anxiety of admiring its most iconic set of monuments.

Fences near the Akropoli metro station prevent us from seeing it.

Even dazzled by the intense light of the almost Mediterranean summer, we noticed an unexpected sign, we reoriented ourselves and advanced along the southern slope of the plateau that housed the ancient citadel.

We wander into a forest of olive trees, stone pines and cedars. The Dionysiou Areopagitou trail reveals secrets kept by the foliage and time: the Roman cistern, the access road to the amphitheater Odeon of Herodes Atticus, hidden by the vegetation.

After the junction with via Rovertou Galli, the Sacred Church of San Demetrius Loumbardiaris, isolated in a providential clearing.

An Orthodox-Christian Morning

On this Sunday morning, life germinates like never before in the Acropolis forest. Being the orthodox Lord's Day of the week, the priest of the temple has hardly enough hands for the planned baptisms.

Believers, family members and guests enter the chapel, all of them in a trademark elegance that contrasts with the ascetic blackness of the priest.

Light candles.

This reinforces the light that yellows the images of saints and martyrs that adorn the brick walls.

When a new baptism leaves the temple to the pine cone, we feel in excess. We are back outside, green and fresh. And to the starting point.

A few meters to the south, the prison of Socrates remains, so named because it is believed that the philosopher was held there before his trial and execution by poisoning, in 399 BC, accused of rejecting the gods praised by Athens and of morally corrupting youth from the city.

We reverse. we get in the way Theories. Moments later, we find the plaque that exposes the sermon that the Apostle Paul gave to the Council and Supreme Court that functioned on the same hill of Ares that we were looking for.

It was 51 years after the birth of Jesus Christ. Paul spoke determined to make the Athenians exchange the idolatry in their idols for the Faith in God and the Savior. Some time later, as we had just seen in the Sacred Church of Saint Demetrius Loumbardiaris, his intention would be fulfilled.

The trail that leads to the rugged top of Areopagus proves to be slippery.

At last balanced and stable, we let ourselves be dazzled by what the hill reveals to us.

Acropolis of Athens, and the View to Classical Greece

To the east, highlighted above a wave of vegetation, overshadowed by dense but white clouds, loomed the Acropolis: the Parthenon temple, the sanctuary of Zeus, the temple of Athena and other sanctuaries and buildings that make up the historical core of Athenian civilization. .

A front of houses almost as white as the clouds invaded the adjacent forest.

It allowed us to understand what surrounded the Acropolis in almost all other directions: the modern houses of contemporary Athens, home to more than 600.000 citizens, if considered a mere municipality.

More than three million, if we take into account the urban area that surrounds it and that fills the region of Attica.

Satisfied with the new achievement, we returned to the foot of the Acropolis.

Plaka and the Neighboring and Discordant Neighborhoods of Athens

We point to the annexed and almost pedestrian neighborhood of Plaka, the best preserved in the Greek capital, a picturesque and colorful part of Athens that lifts the veil to what any visitor to Greece will find on the Greek islands of the Aegean and Ionian Seas.

There we come across a first showcase, not touristy at all, of the alphabet, architecture, gastronomy, moussakas, fasoladas, the other smells, colors and even tones of voices characteristic of the Hellenic nation.

This, noting that Crete to Macedonia, such characteristics multiply and differentiate in countless variants.

In the less polished times of the 70s, instead of cafes and restaurants, souvenir shops and the like, the Plaka neighborhood concentrated Athens' nightlife, full of suspicious and noisy nightclubs and nightclubs.

Too noisy and repellent for the reception strategy that the authorities outlined, aiming for a pleasant and harmonious city, grandiose, up to the age-old heritage that almost all outsiders yearned to contemplate.


This time, the authorities got the upper hand. Such triumphs are not always easy in Athens.

Echárchia, an Always Dissatisfied and Leftist Dominion

From what we know, over time, the Athenians – especially their young students – became contentious and irascible. Satisfied with the bougainvillea, the stairs, the terraces and the cheerful decorations of Plaka, we let ourselves go.

We move on to the neighborhoods of Monastiraki and Echárchia.

The streets become darker, dirtier and oppressive. Creative murals give way to fight paintings. We cannot remember any other place on Earth with such a concentration of graffitied protests.

For a long time now, Echárchia has welcomed the city's out of touch and nonconformist souls and minds. It preserves an old reputation as a leftist, socialist, anti-fascist and often anarchist stronghold. Unsurprisingly, it also became the preferred domain of Athenian intellectuals and creators.

During the 2008-2009 financial crisis, when Greece succumbed to its gigantic debt, suffered opposition from the countries of northern Europe and found itself in the controlling arms of the IMF, Echárchia and its residents and children, remained more active than Never.

Greece is still struggling to get around these times. She is guided, as always, by the European City of Wisdom and Reason. The city of Socrates, Pericles, Sophocles and Plato.

And of Athenian democracy, the form of government that allows the people of Echarchia, Monastiraki, Akadimia and beyond, to disagree, debate and often even – facts beyond any value judgment – ​​to exaggerate and damage Athens and the Greek state.

Ascent to the Historic Heights of the Acropolis

As a tribute to the respectful form of government in which we had the privilege of growing up, we undertake a new ascension. We had already admired the Acropolis from a distance. It was time for us to attend.

We go around the plateau again, this time along the Peripatos path, and along its northern foothills. We go up through the Portico Beulé, to the terrace between the temple of Athena Nice and the Monument of Agrippa.

We cross the monumental entrance to the Propylaea. The Doric and Ionic columns of the supreme temple of Athena, ordered by Pericles, appear.

At the opposite end of the plateau, in front of the Temple of Rome and Augustus, we notice that the stripes on a visitor's T-shirt almost emulate the blue and white stripes on the Greek flag.

We approach the wall that surrounds the rocky platform.

From there, we go back to praising the endless dirty white houses of Athens, as if pierced by the forested protuberance of Mount Lycabettus (277m), the zenith of the city.

And the Conquest of Mount Lycabettus, the Zenith of Athens

We would also conquer it, cheating on the convenient funicular that departs from half a hill in the Dexameni district.

Athens may not have seven hills, like Rome, the rival of the Classical Era, or like Lisbon. It has, however, ups and downs that keep us exercised, eager to mussaka and Hellenic specialties that are equally or more caloric.

The view from Mount Lycabettus reveals part of the old Panathenaic stadium, site of the pioneering Olympic Games of the Modern Era, in 1896. It reveals the north face of the Acropolis.

And, halfway down, the surreal view of the Parthenon overlooking a community of buildings carved into dozens of flowery balconies, protected from the sun by matching white and cream awnings.

Syntagma Square and the Most Famous Choreography in the City

Without quite knowing how, the descent leaves us at Syntagma Square.

We enter the political and social core of Athens and, consequently, of Greece, where, since 1934, the Parliament occupies the old, sumptuous and neoclassical Royal Palace, surrounded by the national gardens.

Over there, next to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, the Presencial Guard carries out a unique changing of the guard, Greek and Hellenic to the very marrow of the bones. military who have the privilege to execute it.

The choreography is repeated from hour to hour. Lucky, we have little to wait.

Soldiers protected from the sun by caps with pendants, tucked into black-gold waistcoats, in white tunics-skirts that sway above high stockings and ocher shoes, with pom-pom tips, repeat steps, standing upright and angled shotgun.

One towards the other and then back to their lairs.

After the ceremony, in a marathon of exploration that we insisted on winning, we passed by Hadrian's Arch and the Olympic Temple of Zeus that Hadrian dedicated to the Father of the Greek Gods.

The next morning, we set sail from the port of Piraeus to the archipelago of the Cyclades.

Aware of the urgency of the return and of how much Athens still had to unveil.

Mykonos, Greece

The Greek Island Where the World Celebrates Summer

During the 1960th century Mykonos was once just a poor island, but by XNUMX Cycladic winds of change transformed it. First, at the main gay shelter in the Mediterranean. Then, at the crowded, cosmopolitan and bohemian vanity fair that we find when we visit.
Iraklio, CreteGreece

From Minos to Minus

We arrived in Iraklio and, as far as big cities are concerned, Greece stops there. As for history and mythology, the capital of Crete branches without end. Minos, son of Europa, had both his palace and the labyrinth in which the minotaur closed. The Arabs, the Byzantines, the Venetians and the Ottomans passed through Iraklio. The Greeks who inhabit it fail to appreciate it.
Thira Santorini, Greece

Fira: Between the Heights and the Depths of Atlantis

Around 1500 BC a devastating eruption sank much of the volcano-island Fira into the Aegean Sea and led to the collapse of the Minoan civilization, referred to over and over again as Atlantis. Whatever the past, 3500 years later, Thira, the city of the same name, is as real as it is mythical.
Nea Kameni, Santorini, Greece

The Volcanic Core of Santorini

About three millennia had passed since the Minoan eruption that tore apart the largest volcano island in the Aegean. The cliff-top inhabitants watched land emerge from the center of the flooded caldera. Nea Kameni, the smoking heart of Santorini, was born.
Chania to Elafonisi, Crete, Greece

A Crete-style Beach Trip

Discovering the Cretan west, we left Chania, followed the Topolia gorge and less marked gorges. A few kilometers later, we reach a Mediterranean corner of watercolor and dream, that of the island of Elafonisi and its lagoon.
Chania, Crete, Greece

Chania: In the West of Crete's History

Chania was Minoan, Roman, Byzantine, Arab, Venetian and Ottoman. It got to the present Hellenic nation as the most seductive city in Crete.
Balos a Seitan Limani, Crete, Greece

The Bathing Olympus of Chania

It's not just Chania, the centuries-old polis, steeped in Mediterranean history, in the far northeast of Crete that dazzles. Refreshing it and its residents and visitors, Balos, Stavros and Seitan have three of the most exuberant coastlines in Greece.

Jabula Beach, Kwazulu Natal, South Africa
Saint Lucia, South Africa

An Africa as Wild as Zulu

On the eminence of the coast of Mozambique, the province of KwaZulu-Natal is home to an unexpected South Africa. Deserted beaches full of dunes, vast estuarine swamps and hills covered with fog fill this wild land also bathed by the Indian Ocean. It is shared by the subjects of the always proud Zulu nation and one of the most prolific and diverse fauna on the African continent.
Thorong Pedi to High Camp, Annapurna Circuit, Nepal, Lone Walker
Annapurna (circuit)
Annapurna Circuit: 12th - Thorong Phedi a High camp

The Prelude to the Supreme Crossing

This section of the Annapurna Circuit is only 1km away, but in less than two hours it takes you from 4450m to 4850m and to the entrance to the great canyon. Sleeping in High Camp is a test of resistance to Mountain Evil that not everyone passes.
Visitors at Talisay Ruins, Negros Island, Philippines
Architecture & Design
Talisay City, Philippines

Monument to a Luso-Philippine Love

At the end of the 11th century, Mariano Lacson, a Filipino farmer, and Maria Braga, a Portuguese woman from Macau, fell in love and got married. During the pregnancy of what would be her 2th child, Maria succumbed to a fall. Destroyed, Mariano built a mansion in his honor. In the midst of World War II, the mansion was set on fire, but the elegant ruins that endured perpetuate their tragic relationship.
Totems, Botko Village, Malekula, Vanuatu
Malekula, Vanuatu

Meat and Bone Cannibalism

Until the early XNUMXth century, man-eaters still feasted on the Vanuatu archipelago. In the village of Botko we find out why European settlers were so afraid of the island of Malekula.
Christmas scene, Shillong, Meghalaya, India
Ceremonies and Festivities
Shillong, India

A Christmas Selfiestan at an India Christian Stronghold

December arrives. With a largely Christian population, the state of Meghalaya synchronizes its Nativity with that of the West and clashes with the overcrowded Hindu and Muslim subcontinent. Shillong, the capital, shines with faith, happiness, jingle bells and bright lighting. To dazzle Indian holidaymakers from other parts and creeds.
patpong, go go bar, bangkok, one thousand and one nights, thailand
Bangkok, Thailand

One Thousand and One Lost Nights

In 1984, Murray Head sang the nighttime magic and bipolarity of the Thai capital in "One night in bangkok". Several years, coups d'etat, and demonstrations later, Bangkok remains sleepless.
Tsukiji fish market, Tokyo, Japan
Tokyo, Japan

The Fish Market That Lost its Freshness

In a year, each Japanese eats more than their weight in fish and shellfish. Since 1935, a considerable part was processed and sold in the largest fish market in the world. Tsukiji was terminated in October 2018, and replaced by Toyosu's.
Impressions Lijiang Show, Yangshuo, China, Red Enthusiasm
Lijiang e Yangshuo, China

An Impressive China

One of the most respected Asian filmmakers, Zhang Yimou dedicated himself to large outdoor productions and co-authored the media ceremonies of the Beijing OG. But Yimou is also responsible for “Impressions”, a series of no less controversial stagings with stages in emblematic places.
Spectator, Melbourne Cricket Ground-Rules footbal, Melbourne, Australia
Melbourne, Australia

The Football the Australians Rule

Although played since 1841, Australian Football has only conquered part of the big island. Internationalization has never gone beyond paper, held back by competition from rugby and classical football.
Christmas in Australia, Platipus = Platypus
Atherton Tableland, Australia

Miles Away from Christmas (part XNUMX)

On December 25th, we explored the high, bucolic yet tropical interior of North Queensland. We ignore the whereabouts of most of the inhabitants and find the absolute absence of the Christmas season strange.
Unusual bathing

south of Belize

The Strange Life in the Black Caribbean Sun

On the way to Guatemala, we see how the proscribed existence of the Garifuna people, descendants of African slaves and Arawak Indians, contrasts with that of several much more airy bathing areas.

Sunset, Avenue of Baobabs, Madagascar
Got2Globe Photo Portfolio

days like so many others

Willemstad, Curacao, Punda, Handelskade
Willemstad, Curaçao

The Multicultural Heart of Curaçao

A Dutch colony in the Caribbean became a major slave hub. It welcomed Sephardic Jews who had taken refuge from the Iberia Inquisition in Amsterdam and Recife. And it assimilated influences from the Portuguese and Spanish villages with which it traded. At the heart of this secular cultural fusion has always been its old capital: Willemstad.
Montserrat island, Plymouth, Soufriere volcano, path to volcano
Montserrat, Lesser Antilles

The Island of the Volcano that Refuses to Sleep

In the Antilles, volcanoes called Soufrière abound. That of Montserrat, re-awakened in 1995, and remains one of the most active. Upon discovery of the island, we re-enter the exclusion area and explore the areas still untouched by the eruptions.  
Reindeer Racing, Kings Cup, Inari, Finland
Winter White
Inari, Finland

The Wackiest Race on the Top of the World

Finland's Lapps have been competing in the tow of their reindeer for centuries. In the final of the Kings Cup - Porokuninkuusajot - , they face each other at great speed, well above the Arctic Circle and well below zero.
shadow vs light
Kyoto, Japan

The Kyoto Temple Reborn from the Ashes

The Golden Pavilion has been spared destruction several times throughout history, including that of US-dropped bombs, but it did not withstand the mental disturbance of Hayashi Yoken. When we admired him, he looked like never before.
Serra Dourada, Cerrado, Goiás, Brazil
Serra Dourada, Goiás, Brazil

Where the Cerrado Waves Golden

One of the types of South America savannah, the Cerrado extends over more than a fifth of the Brazilian territory, which supplies much of its fresh water. Located in the heart of the Central Plateau and the state of Goiás, the Serra Dourada State Park shines double.
Sheki, Autumn in the Caucasus, Azerbaijan, Autumn Homes
Sheki, Azerbaijan

autumn in the caucasus

Lost among the snowy mountains that separate Europe from Asia, Sheki is one of Azerbaijan's most iconic towns. Its largely silky history includes periods of great harshness. When we visited it, autumn pastels added color to a peculiar post-Soviet and Muslim life.
Enriquillo, Great Lake of the Antilles, Dominican Republic, view from Cueva das Caritas de Taínos
Natural Parks
Lake Enriquillo, Dominican Republic

Enriquillo: the Great Lake of the Antilles

Between 300 and 400 km2, situated 44 meters below sea level, Enriquillo is the supreme lake of the Antilles. Regardless of its hypersalinity and the stifling, atrocious temperatures, it's still increasing. Scientists have a hard time explaining why.
Thingvelir, Origins Democracy Iceland, Oxará
UNESCO World Heritage
Thingvellir National Park, Iceland

The Origins of the Remote Viking Democracy

The foundations of popular government that come to mind are the Hellenic ones. But what is believed to have been the world's first parliament was inaugurated in the middle of the XNUMXth century, in Iceland's icy interior.
Earp brothers look-alikes and friend Doc Holliday in Tombstone, USA
tombstone, USA

Tombstone: the City Too Hard to Die

Silver veins discovered at the end of the XNUMXth century made Tombstone a prosperous and conflictive mining center on the frontier of the United States to Mexico. Lawrence Kasdan, Kurt Russell, Kevin Costner and other Hollywood directors and actors made famous the Earp brothers and the bloodthirsty duel of “OK Corral”. The Tombstone, which, over time, has claimed so many lives, is about to last.
El Nido, Palawan the Last Philippine Border
El Nido, Philippines

El Nido, Palawan: The Last Philippine Frontier

One of the most fascinating seascapes in the world, the vastness of the rugged islets of Bacuit hides gaudy coral reefs, small beaches and idyllic lagoons. To discover it, just one fart.
Solovestsky Autumn
Solovetsky Islands, Russia

The Mother Island of the Gulag Archipelago

It hosted one of Russia's most powerful Orthodox religious domains, but Lenin and Stalin turned it into a gulag. With the fall of the USSR, Solovestky regains his peace and spirituality.
Executives sleep subway seat, sleep, sleep, subway, train, Tokyo, Japan
On Rails
Tokyo, Japan

Tokyo's Hypno-Passengers

Japan is served by millions of executives slaughtered with infernal work rates and sparse vacations. Every minute of respite on the way to work or home serves them for their inemuri, napping in public.
Ditching, Alaska Fashion Life, Talkeetna
Talkeetna, Alaska

Talkeetna's Alaska-Style Life

Once a mere mining outpost, Talkeetna rejuvenated in 1950 to serve Mt. McKinley climbers. The town is by far the most alternative and most captivating town between Anchorage and Fairbanks.
Coin return
Daily life
Dawki, India

Dawki, Dawki, Bangladesh on sight

We descended from the high and mountainous lands of Meghalaya to the flats to the south and below. There, the translucent and green stream of the Dawki forms the border between India and Bangladesh. In a damp heat that we haven't felt for a long time, the river also attracts hundreds of Indians and Bangladeshis in a picturesque escape.
Howler Monkey, PN Tortuguero, Costa Rica
PN Tortuguero, Costa Rica

Tortuguero: From the Flooded Jungle to the Caribbean Sea

After two days of impasse due to torrential rain, we set out to discover the Tortuguero National Park. Channel after channel, we marvel at the natural richness and exuberance of this Costa Rican fluvial marine ecosystem.
Full Dog Mushing
Scenic Flights
Seward, Alaska

The Alaskan Dog Mushing Summer

It's almost 30 degrees and the glaciers are melting. In Alaska, entrepreneurs have little time to get rich. Until the end of August, dog mushing cannot stop.