A few months ago a short piece I wrote in the Daily Telegraph about cycling in ” my” hills in Italy won me a prize, 6 nights in Athens.
Staying in a hotel with a pool on the roof and a view of the Acropolis was marvellous, but I couldn’t have predicted the perfect October weather; 25 and blue skies every day. Athens has so much more than the archaeological sites, although the Agora is a great area to wander around. The museums are stunning, many with lovely outdoor good-value cafes. I learned about Cycladic art and wondered how I’d managed to live so long without knowing anything about the simple (almost modern-looking) figurines of 3000BC.
Poor Athens is suffering economically: the evidence is all around. Graffitti everywhere, broken pavements, ill-lit streets at night, smaller museums permanently closed, and quite a few seedy areas. Despite all, it was a magical stay, culminating in a dinner on the terrace of a taverna just in front of the floodlit Acropolis on my birthday.