Picture this, it’s 6am, I’ve been awake for 25 hours and I’ve just strolled back into my hotel with one shoe off and my friend hanging off my leather jacket. It’s not the prettiest sight, but it’s the most representative of this trip. What started as a casual, fun weekend away in Athens, ended up being a sordid, wild, strobe-light induced hangover holiday that led to the best Friday night of my entire life!
We departed London at 5am for our flight to Athens, I loaded my tablet with the first season of Big Little Lies (come thru Laura Dern) and settled in with my three friends and a very large coffee. Expectations were high, this was our first trip of 2018, and each of us wanted to start the year off right.
Athens greeted us with a much warmer welcome than anticipated, but it looked no sunnier than London. A strange welcome, but welcome at least. We geared up and headed out for our first stroll through the streets of Plaka and down to Syntagma, taking in the cobbled streets and the cute little shops strewn aimlessly around us.
I was surprised to find the streets of Athens had an oddly clashing foundation, aside from the ancient Greek marble sitting side by side with modern city structures, the contrasts ran deeper. You’d fine grand homes, chic in their design adjacent to crumpled churches covered in graffiti. Designer stores flanked by souvenirs stores and Gyro stands. Anywhere else I would’ve found this layout a little haphazard but in Greece it seemed like the perfect fit.
Our first night in Greece was definitely the one I was looking forward to the most. The reason we flew out was too see one our favourite Greek musicians, Anna Vissi. This period of the year is known as Bouzoukia season, Greek Cabaret, all the big (and little) stars take up a residency at a venue and perform to packed crowds every weekend from November til the start of Easter. Hotel Ermou was the venue of choice for the legendary Anna Vissi, an intimate venue, decked in deep purple lighting and leather sofas, and this night will remain in my mind til I am no longer of this earth. With a career spanning 4 decades the night was filled with hit after hit of classic Greek music. The show kicked off at midnight and ran through til 5:30 in the morning. We were mesmerised. We were transported. We were enraptured by the entire production, and in all honesty, we were trashed! I felt as though the restraints of our day-to-day routine were lifted and we were given this brief period in time to release our inhibitions. Time was fleeting here, we had five and a half hours to be free and every second was filled with euphoria. The five of us drank heavily, danced for hours, sang our hearts out and lived our best selves. I even ended up leaving the place with someones number. I haven’t text them.
And so, cut to me at the hotel, worn out and overjoyed with the nights events. I crawled into bed and crashed, only to be rudely awoken by the alarm I set for the next day. I was f*cked! My body shut down and I couldn’t operate. I lay there in my onesie contemplating the last 25 hours of debauchery, attempting to figure out if I had the strength to climb up the Acropolis.
I did not. But I did it anyway. If ever there was a good time to pray to the gods for strength, this was it because I had a killer hangover. I genuinely believe Athena heard me and granted me the plate full of eggs I prayed for.
Following our trip to the heights of the Acropolis, we made the trek down and took a seat a Dionysos Zonar for dinner, with the most fabulous view of the entire Acropolis and the Parthenon looming large just out the window. The food here was wonderful, perfectly grilled Octopus, salmon that had us salivating and a steak so tender it was like running a knife through butter.
I was still feeling rough at this point but I knew I had to power through, because tonight we were planning to do it all over again, and see Kostantinos Argiros at Fantasia Live. And boy was it worth powering through. I stuck around til 3:30 in the morning and watched the single most handsome man I have ever seen in my entire life dominate a stage and then some! I hopped into a cab to get back to my hotel for some much needed Zzz’s before my flight home, because it just so happened a mass march was shutting down all the streets of Athens the day we were flying home. My cab driver was kind enough to fill me in on the reasons why and then asked me “why my greek is so good for a foreigner?”, one of the better compliments of my trip.
Though our time in Athens was short it was definitely memorable, and I’ve come home with some of the most wonderful memories with me and my friends. A big thank you to each of these girls for making this such a wonderful trip.
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