A brief guide for the gay visitor to Athens on a winter weekend getaway




Some suggestions of where to go and what to do during a short “city break” in Athens.

 Part 3 – More eating out, another bar and Kolonaki.

Continuing the saga of a four day ‘city break’ in Athens makes us need a bit of a break and as many of the gay bars/clubs are closed on Mondays we can do so without feeling guilty!

After the usual afternoon sleep I head to Goody’s in the center of town. Goody’s is the Greek answer to MacDonalds, the system of ordering at one desk and walking to another to pick up your food is confusing, none of the staff speak English but you can always point can’t you? The food is good and there’s plenty of it, but it’s not cheap. But if you want a good burger, you have to pay for it.

Monday is a much quieter night around Monastiraki and Psirri, I find the bar called Inoteka in Platia Avisinias which hosts the flea market. This bar is listed as ‘gay friendly’ but I can’t say for sure because I’m the only person there. I can tell it’s interestingly decorated and warm and welcoming, maybe if someone else goes there they can tell me. However, I can imagine spending the night there.

Moving on, I find a seat at a restaurant bar on Miaouli Street, near Platia Iroon, called Rebekka. Normally you can not enter these places as they are full but it is Monday. As I sit down with a large bottle of beer (3 EUR) and start to write my notes, the most brilliant lightning I have ever seen occurs, followed by magnificent thunder, torrential rain and hail for the next twenty minutes. It doesn’t matter that it’s warm and dry under this canvas awning.

Tomorrow is my last full day and I want to make the most of it, so I go to bed early.

Tuesday arrives and another sunny day arrives, apart from the occasional downpour I have had a pleasant time but I need a coat and a sweater especially at night.

My plan is to visit Kerameikos, which is on Ermou street near Thissio station. This area used to be very run down, but is now a nice pedestrian area, but watch out for scooters. The archaeological site is actually ancient cemeteries where the good and the great of ancient Athens were buried. I expected that it would only take me thirty minutes to go around the site, by the time I had circled the museum I had stayed three hours!

Grabbing a spinach pie on the way through Monastiraki, I make my way to Ermou towards Parliament House. The streets are packed with shoppers as the January sales begin today. Arriving at Syntagma Square I check the post office to see if it is still as busy and chaotic as ever. This. (There are other less busy post offices near Omonia Square and opposite the National Bank in Athinas Street Square).

Pausing to take a photo of one of the guards at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, I continue on to Kolonaki, which is the most expensive area of ​​Athens and is home to many of the foreign embassies and government buildings. Here you will find all the well-known designer stores and most of them have sales. There is also the usual number of street cafes where the rich, famous, beautiful and not so beautiful of Athens come to play.

This tea place to have a coffee and so I do. At my chosen cafe, the menu is new and wonderfully produced on thick, glossy paper. The price of a cup of coffee is so close to EUR5 that it is not worth taking the change, and if you also have something to eat, the prices are cleverly calculated to be enough above EUR9 that it is not worth taking the change . has a EUR10 bill! My coffee is called something like ‘espressocaccia’ and I choose it because it has more ingredients than anything else! When I leave I take the menu with me but I leave it in my hotel.

Tonight is my last night and I am staying in the city at the Euripides Hotel to reduce the travel time to the airport the next day. I intend to sleep again early, without alcohol, since I don’t travel as well as I used to.

The owner warns me that they have the worker to do some renovations but I don’t mind as I want to get up pretty early.

For lunch I head to Monastiraki and to the street by the railway, where a burly Greek ‘komaki’ has already tried to sneak me in three times (sorry folks, I lost my card and don’t know the name). Having ordered and gotten to the Greek salad, I realize I’ve left my money at the hotel and take a quick walk back to pick it up. The Greek salad is big enough for three, there’s half a loaf of bread, and when they arrive the meatballs are huge with rice on the side. Another case of two eating as cheap as one! Two Greek musicians serenade me, since I’m the only person in the place, I buy them a pitcher of raki and a bottle of beer. They ask me where I’m from and laugh when I say ‘Krhth’ as ​​I’m obviously English. But of course they have a relative in Crete. I pay the 23 EUR bill in total, a bargain considering I couldn’t finish the whole meal, but managed to drink the half liter of wine!

On the way back to the hotel I pass by Aleko’s hoping it’s open for a drink, it’s closed so I decide to head back to the hotel for an early night.

I don’t know about you, but when I walk past a bar playing Boney M, which turns into the Village People, my interest is piqued. Well, it’s still early days and a Metaxa and Cola will be fine. The bar is called Cosmopolis and is located on the corner of Agatharchou and an unnamed street very close to the hotel. I walk in and sit at the bar, it’s busy and the bartender is pouring a big round. For a Greek he seems to be tall and I think maybe the floor behind the bar is raised, standing up I check but no he really is that tall and it’s an absolute dream watching him work that’s what else did you do ? I think it could mean? Now he’s pouring a round of tequila shots, I look around the bar as I wait, the bartender taps me on the shoulder and pushes a shot towards me then points to a crowd of late 20’s Greek men standing behind from my. Obviously, this is a celebration of some kind and, being a person who never refuses to drink, I clink glasses with everyone before drinking it in one.

I order my Metaxa and Coke, the bartender seems a little bewildered and has to open three fridge doors before finding the Coke, the Metaxa is huge! The drink is handed to me along with a large glass of water, strange? It’s hot in here, the music and the mood of the place are infectious and one thing is for sure, it’s NOT a gay bar, but I can drink anywhere.

As I sip my drink and enjoy the music, I watch the bartender and realize that none of the liquor, which seems to be the only thing they sell, has a mixer. Even the huge glasses of gin come straight out! But why not? Everyone has a big glass of water that fills up frequently, no wonder the bartender seemed bemused when I ordered Coke, he couldn’t remember where it was! Of course after another drink the rot had set in and it was 3am before I went to bed, but with drinks of that size and only £5 each, who am I to complain? As always, it’s the unplanned events that are often the best!

I am woken up the next day at 9am by the sound of hammering and drilling, it seems the workers started at 7am and are amazed that I can still sleep.

Breakfast is included in my room price, 25 a night, and I need something solid. I go up to the seventh floor and the first thing I do is turn up the thermostat on the water boiler. (Remember I have stayed here before!). Breakfast here is a ‘Dutch’ breakfast with juice, cereal, cold meats, cheeses, croissants, dried and fresh fruit, jam and bread. A new addition is a toaster, which is very welcome as Greek bread is often very dry and toasting makes it edible. While I’m making toast the water boiler is now on full blast and I can make a decent cup of tea, don’t even think about trying the coffee here!

 

I return to my room, to find that the builders have already removed the doors, lucky I packed my suitcase before I left last night!

Handling my luggage back to the Monastiraki metro station, about 600 meters away, is a hard-headed challenge, but I get over it and soon I’m speeding my way to the airport. Thirty-five minutes and a €6 one-way ticket get me back to the airport in plenty of time for my flight back to Crete, and as the plane takes off I ponder whether I could really live in Athens and stay sane.

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