After our weekend of driving and wine tasting, we spent 5 nights in Athens, in a clean, non-descript hotel in a bad part of town – or so people said. We chose the hotel because it was cheap and convenient: located near Viktoria Station, a metro stop on the same line as the school where we took our Greek classes. While I wouldn’t describe the area as seedy exactly, it was fairly charmless (other than the nearby Pedion Areos, one of the largest parks in Athens), and there were always quite a few young men wandering around for no discernible reason. Greeks we met told us it was a good spot to get pickpocketed, but we never had anything resembling trouble, there or anywhere else.
Our favorite part of Athens was Plaka, the historical neighborhood near the Acropolis, particularly Monastiriki Square, which was great for people watching and bargain hunting (it reminded me of Canal Street in NYC). It was very touristy, of course, but still fun to explore. Prices were fairly good on the whole, but not as low as we’d expected, given what we’d read in the news. We also visited the area around the university, which in most cities is a lively, fun part of town, but in Athens it was nothing special.