The first time I had heard about Greece was because of a musician. I still distinctly remember, in 1994 on channel 33 in Dubai – my mum was watching a show. It had just started and I walked into the room and was looking at the TV. Suddenly the show took a dramatic turn with lights, music, and a more dramatic setting.
I was so curious, I kept asking my mother questions about why the stage was broken. So my mother sat me down with an encyclopedia and showed me the Acropolis (one of the must-see ruins in Athens). And introduced me to Yanni, the man that first had me curious about travelling with music. He is the only musician to have played at the Seven Wonders of the World and with Greece being his homeland – I soaked in every bit of knowledge about the place until I grew up (you never know – I could’ve met him on the streets).
A Historical Trip Through The Ruins of Athens
To take you on a trip through Athens, you have to strap on your shoes and imagine yourself to be a soldier in Alexander the Great’s army. It would be the best way to go about it.
I assume you have a picture of yourself as an officer in your head because as I keep describing things – you will fill your walk. As you look down on your walk you will see the cobble and stone roads that are distinctly Roman (overlapping traditions and architectural styles). If you are painting a picture – Greece is the perfect combination of elegance and edginess. As a soldier you had the exposure to so many different cultures that heritage, tradition and social life is surrounded by authenticity. When your friends come back you’ll have debates while walking in the city that has beautiful buildings, temples and most importantly beaches.
The Greek gods have been a huge part of your life, because there isn’t anything that doesn’t have a god. From wisdom to metalworking – the Greek gods are a good competition to the Indian gods. The respect you have for them is noticeable around the city with different temples and statues. And now, because you are a soldier, you have a craving for good food and amazing wine – Greece is just the place. You have cafes and restaurants that have views unlike anywhere else. Calamari and Moussaka are the dishes you have to indulge in – its traditional, its home and it’s very comforting.
Honestly, when I was there that (being a soldier) is how I saw everything. You know when you walk around a place taking a certain character it brings the place to life even more. Art galleries, museums and cityscape completely engulf you into the country that brought to some of the most fascinating stories (Olympics, democracy, western literature, political science to name a few).
Through the night in Athens, pop-up bars linger in the city for hours, letting you celebrate any moment with the locals who are extremely generous and friendly. This is a place for those who believe in the story of the gods and humans co-existed. Because if you do then when you visit the temple of Zeus you will feel like Hercules for the first time in your life.