Friday, May 20, 2011

From Cairo to Athens

It's always interesting to visit new places and then share your experience with others. I visited Jordan three years ago and blogged about it. I also visited Santiago, Chile and London recently, but I was lazy to write about my trips there. So, here I am writing about my recent trip to Greece.

I was invited by two Greek newspapers, Konteiner and Re-public, in order to give speech about the Egyptian Revolution and the effect of Social Media on it. The event was called "Networked Revolts", and you can find the slides of my presentation here, and here is the video recording for my speech there.


Well, let's go back to the main aim of my post which is writing about the trip itself. It all started in the aeroplane. The man sitting beside me, who was by all means not less that 40 years old, was about to sell his kidney in order to have the window seat, he kept on annoying me till I swapped my seat with him. Also on my way back there was another guy who told us that he went there on a boat without visa and stayed for two years working there, and apparently they now found him and he was forced to go back to Egypt. So, if those are the kind of people to go there, I think the reputation of the Egyptians in Greece is not the best.

I learnt just few Greek words during my 5 days stay there. My favourite is Kalimera, which means good morning. There is also Kalispera, which means good afternoon. Efkharisto, thank you. and finally Yasso for hello.


I was staying in a hotel in Panepistimio street, so I took the metro to Sintagma station, and walked from there. It's an 8 Euros special ticket when you are going to or from the airport. There is another metro line that can take you from Sintagma to Panepistimio, but I preferred to walk to see the city. Sintagma or Syntagma Square, which means Constitution Square, is located in central Athens. The Gre Parliament is there, and it also is the frequent site of political demonstrations. So in brief, it is their own Tahrir Square. The square is also like an open area with seats and stairs where there were many people just sitting there enjoying the sum, some guys were trying some tricks with their skateboards. Later on I found a shop than only sells skateboards in another area called Monastiraki, which I might talk about later.

Prayer Beads in Athens

The next day I went to the Acropolis. On my way, I went to the Plaka, Monastiraki square and nearby streets. The shops there are very much like Khan El Khalily in Egypt. They do even sell similar stuff. Never imagined to see praying beads and blue eye other where outside Egypt. It's the same are where I ate roasted corn after fancying it without finding it anywhere in Egypt since a month.

Sleeping Dog

Also in the same area I ate Baklava, in Diodos. I found it less sugary then ours though, yet it was very delicious. And while eating it I met that scary dog, which came out to be so calm and peaceful especially when it slept. In fact the streets of Athens are full of dogs and motorbikes, but the dogs are all peaceful, and the motorbike drives are way better drivers than the ones here.

Aegina Port

On Sunday all the shops were closed, so I decided to go to one of the near by islands. I walked down Athens street (which is so much like, well, may be Sidi Bishr area in Alexandria). Took the metro from Monastiraki metro station to Piraeus, which is like the port of Athens, and apparently the famous Greek bank is named after it. I then took a boat to an island called Aegina.


I didn't have much choice in selecting which island to go, I arrived late to Pireaus and its was the only one that fitting my schedule, yet I believe the best photos I took were there. So, I believe if I had chance to go there again, I will visit the other islands which I hear are even better.

Temple of Zeus

Despite the huge fame of the Acropolis, I liked the temple of Zeus even more. May be because Zeus is surrounded by green fields, or may be because the Acropolis looks like it's under construction all the time with all those cranes and metal cages surrounding it.


Then I went to what they call the Anarchists district. There were lots of graffiti in the streets, leftist posters, a building for the Communist Party (KKE). Graffiti and beggers who play music instead of those who follow you asking for money, are two things I'd like to see here in the Egyptian streets some day. Any way, in Athens there were the two styles of beggers, the musical ones as well as the Egyptian-style beggers.

Keynes and Nietzsche

I think the books sold in the streets of any country help you understand how the people of that country think. And books about John Maynard Keynes and Friedrich Nietzsche are rarely sold in the streets here in Egypt. May be in big book-shops but not on the pavement!

Lady of the Balloons

Finally, I think Greece worth a future visit if I had chance to in order to discover the different parts of it. And I'll leave you now with more photos I took there.

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