Atena – Capul Sounion

RO: Daca tot internetul iti spune ca una dintre cele mai mari probleme ale Atenei este traficul, apoi s-o crezi si sa nu faci pe Toma necredinciosu’ pentru c-ai dat de cateva semafoare sincronizate si cateva stradute laturalnice care parca-parca spala renumele orasului. Dar hei, dunga aia rosie de pe Google Maps nu ne sperie, ca doar cat om sta in trafic sa iesim din Atena prin sud, la ora 10 dimineata cand s-au dus deja valurile de corporatisti la munca?! Ei bine, om sta suficient de mult cat sa ne-apuce pandaliile ca s-o luam prima la dreapta, oricare o fi drumul si oriunde o duce. Si ce sa vezi, cum lucreaza el Mercurul retrograd ca sa ne trimita taman intr-o increngatura dubioasa de drumuri intortocheate si-o mare hala abandonata drept in fata. Nici urma de drum paralel cu cel principal, iar GPS-ul urla din toti rarunchii sa intoarcem “cand avem posibilitatea”. Si-asta si facem numai ca heeeeei, in fata e indicator spre Terminal 1. Si-n spatele lui parca zarim un amarat de turn de control, mai mai sa cada de atata rugina si fiaratanii atarnate. Si-o ditamai parcarea inconjurata de palmieri verzi, uriasi cat casa, pesemne singura urma de viata de prin zona. Si stai asa! Sa vezi si sa nu crezi! Am dat din pura intamplare de fostul aeroport din Atena, aeroportul Ellinikon, cel care a fost inchis in urma cu aproape 20 de ani si care acum este complet in paragina! Mai sa fie!

EN: If the entire internet tells you that one of the biggest issues in Athens is the traffic, then you’d better believe it and not get over enthusiastic because you bumped into a couple of synchronized traffic lights and some collateral roads that seem to clear Athens bad reputation. But hey, that red line on Google Maps does not frighten us, how much time could we possible loose in traffic to get out of the town through the southern part of the city, at 10 o ‘clock in the morning when all the waves of corporate people are already at work? Oh well, just enough to go crazy and to turn right on the first road, no matter where it goes. And what do you, how to retrograde Mercury conspires and sends us right in the middle of a weird ……… of roads and an abandoned building just in front of us. There seems to be no parallel road with the main road and the GPS is simply shouting at us to turn around. And that’s exactly what we want to do but heeeeey, we just spotted a road sign indicating towards Terminal 1. And behind it there seems to be a shaky control tower, almost falling apart from all that rust and iron hanging from it. And a huge parking surrounded by green palm trees, tall as a house can be, the only trace of life around. And wait a bit! Believe it or not, we actually bumped into the former Athens airport, Elinikon airport, the one that has been closed 20 years ago, nowadays completely abandoned! Well what do you know!

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RO: Terminalul de plecari fix in fata, o pista plina de buruieni si gunoaie, birouri de checkin abandonate si cativa dulai care fac legea locului. Parca nu-ti vine a crede ca in urma cu cativa ani misuna pe pista 747-le de la Olympic Airways. Sau ca mai ieri (prin martie 2016 mai exact), peste 4000 de refugiati traiau care cum puteau in cladirile aeroportului. Sau ca prin 2004, la Jocurile Olimpice, parte din aeroport a fost transformat in terenuri sportive pentru olimpiada. Cert e ca pentru moment, toata zona e in paragina si arata dupa cum e de asteptat, deplorabil. Insa de la jumatatea anului acesta pare ca va incepe un nou proiect prin care toata zona aeroportului va fi transformata intr-un hotel-mastodont. Constructiile cica ar incepe la vara si prin 2020 ar fi gata. Acum nu stim ce sa spunem… ne-am bucura nespus, dar cu atatea cladiri incepute si abandonate prin toata Atena si imprejurimile ei, sa speram ca nu se duc si planurile acestea pe apa Sambetei. In orice caz, acum ca ne-am facut lectiile si stim care-i treaba cu aeroportul dubios de la marginea Atenei, parca i-am mai face o vizita in curand, nu de alta, dar tare am vrea sa vedem si terminalul Olympic Airways (mai la vest) si interiorul aeroportului. Cumva cumva se poate ajunge in interior, si tare ar mai merge o sesiune foto

EN: Departures terminal just in front of us, a runway full of grass and garbage, abandoned check in offices and a couple of stray dogs that rule the place. Seems to be hard to imagine that a couple of years ago, the 747 from Olympic Airways was wandering the runway up and down. Or that recently (in March 2016 to be more precise) more than 4000 refugees were living as they could in the airport buildings. Or that in 2004, at the Olympic Games, part of the airport was transformed in sportive fields, for the Olympics. One thing is for certain, at this moment everything seems to be abandoned and it looks simply deserted, as expected. But there are good days ahead, seems that at the middle of this year, a new project will be started and all the airport will be transformed in a huge hotel. The reconstructions will start this summer and in 2020 they plan to have it ready. Now what can we say… we would be very happy if this will happen, but will all these abandoned buildings all around Athens and its surroundings, we just hope that they will manage to complete these plans. Anyway, now that we know what’s going on with this place, we’re quite tempted to visit it again, as we would really want to see the Olympic Airways Terminal as well (a bit more to the West) and the interior of the airport. Somehow you can get inside and a photo shooting there would be just lovely!

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ellinikon-airport_athens_3RO: Bun, dar scopul zilei este sa ajungem la Capul Sounion. Si oricat de tentant ar fi sa zabovim ceva mai multa vreme prin aeroportul abandonat, la 4 avem avion inapoi spre Bucuresti. Asa c-o luam rapid spre sud, sa vedem templul lui Poseidon. Cel trist si amarat ca a pierdut suprematia Atenei si Acropolelor 😀 Dar hai ca n-a iesit atat de rau c-un templu ridicat in cinstea lui taman pe-o stanca din cel mai de la sud punct al peninsulei Attica. Na uite ca s-au aranjat astrele bine si pentru bietul zeu al marilor si oceanelor 😀

EN: Ok, but the purpose of our day is to gen to Cape Sounion. And no matter how tempting would it be to wander the abandoned airport a bit more, we have to be back at 4 PM for our flight to Bucharest. So we’re heading to the south, to see Poseidon’s Temple. The disappointed god that lost the supremacy of both Athens and the Acropolis. But hey, it ended up quite well for him, as he has a temple raised in his honor right on a rock from the southernmost point of the Attica peninsula. Oh well, the planets were quite well arranged for the poor God of Seas and Oceans 😀

poseidon-temple_greece_5RO: Drumul de coasta, din Atena pana la Sounion, e chiar spectaculos. Privelistile sunt deosebit de frumoase, intreaga zona e plina de plantatii de maslini si viata rurala, si ici pe colo cate un satuc autentic si complet adormit. Probabil pe timp de vara intreaga zona e mai animata si plajele pline de sezlonguri si turisti galagiosi, insa pe timp de iarna, cand bate-un vant de te trimite-n zbor pana la Templul lui Poseidon, toate casele par abandonate, obloanele trase, terasele in paragina, barcile puse-n huse si parcate in vreun garaj de pe marginea drumului. Nu-i tipenie de om si-abia daca vezi vreo masina pe drum. Dar nu-i bai, parca ne amintim de road trip-ul din Sao Miguel, din Azore, cand toata insula era numai a noastra.

EN: The coastal road, from Athens to Sounion, is indeed spectacular. The views are incredibly beautiful, the entire area is full of olive groves and rural life, and here and there you can find an asleep authentic village. Probably during summertime the entire area is more alive and the beaches are full of sun beds and noisy tourists. But during wintertime the wind blows so hard that it can take you flying to Poseidon Temple, all the houses seem to be abandoned, the curtains closed, the terraces deserted, the boats wrapped in …….. and parked in some garage on the side of the road. You can barely see a human being or a car on the road. But that’s not a problem, this reminds us of our road trip from Sao Miguel island, in the Azores, when the entire island was just for us.
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road-trip-athens-to-cape-sounion_8RO: Si daca tot veni vorba despre maslini, e o-ntreaga nebunie in Grecia cu maslinii. Si totul vine de departeeee, de la “rafuiala” lui Poseidon cu Atena. Pare-se ca darul lui Poseidon (un izvor de apa sarata ce izvora din Acropole) nu a impresionat populatia la fel de mult ca darul Atenei – un maslin. Asa ca ce sa vezi, maslinul cel cu frunze argintate a devenit simbolul orasului si inca de pe atunci si pana in zilele prezente, grecilor le cum nu se poate mai drag. Si pe buna dreptate! Pai nu degeaba e renumit uleiul lor de masline si nu degeaba consuma grecul peste 30 de litri de ulei pe an. TREIZECI!

EN: And speaking of olives, there’s a total olive madness in Greece! And everything started long, long time ago, from the “quarrel” between Poseidon and Athens. Seems that Poseidon’s gift to the people (a salted spring at the Acropolis) did not impress the Athenians that much as the gift from Athena did – an olive tree. So what do you know, the silver leafed olive tree has become the symbol of the city and up until present times, Greek people cherish it as much as they can. And they have reason to do that, as their olive oil is renowned all over the world. And one Greek person consumes 30 liters of olive oil per year. THIRTY!
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olive-trees-greece_3RO: Bun, si dupa ce ne simtim si noi olimpici fara de coroana printre plantatiile de maslini, si dupa ce ne ia vantul pe sus de nu stim incotro sa mergem, o luam la sanatoasa inspre Capul Sounion. Si-ajungem numaidecat la templul lui Poseidon din varf de stanca, la capat de peninsula Attica. Ce-i drept, templul este renumit pentru apusurile superbe vazute de sus, dar nici in timpul zilei privelistea nu-i mai prejos. Saizeci de metri deasupra marii Egee, un vant de-ti taie respiratia si… coafura care nu rezista. Macar nu-i tipenie de om in preajma si templul-i doar al nostru. Si uite-asa am reusit sa vedem doua dintre cele trei temple care formeaza Triunghiul Sacru al atenienilor. Primul e Partenonul, al doilea Templul lui Poseidon, iar cel de-al treilea este Templul Aphaia de pe insula Aegina. Pe Aphaia o lasam pentru data viitoare, nu de alta, dar mai avem putin si pierdem avionul cu atatea vestigii din lumea antica 😀

EN: Ok, and after we’re fooling around in the olive groves as the Olympic athletes without a crown, and after we’re facing the though wind blowing into our faces, we’re heading towards Cape Sounion. And we get there in no time! Temple of Poseidon, the one perched high above the sea, at the end of Attica peninsula. Honestly, the place is famous for its gorgeous sunsets seen from up above, but the view during the day is not bad either. Not at all! Sixty meters above the Aegean Sea, the wind blowing so much that you can barely breathe and… de cautat expresia din reclama….. At least there’s no one around and the temple is just ours. And that’s how we managed to see two of the three temples that form the Sacred Triangle of the Athenians. The first one is the Parthenon, the second one the Temple of Poseidon and the third one is Aphaia Temple from Aegina island. We’re leaving Aphaia for next time, as we’re almost missing our flight with so many ancient ruins 😀

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poseidon-temple_greece_2RO: Un lucru e cert. Poate ca Grecia inseamna plaje frumoase, mancare buna, peisaje scoase din revista. Si poate ca Atena nu se incadreaza mai deloc in tiparul acesta de “tipic grecesc”. Insa indiferent de cat de reprezentativa sau nu e capitala pentru Grecia, e musai sa o vezi. E musai sa urci pe Acropole, s-ajungi pe Lycabettus sa vezi toata Atena intinsa cat vezi cu ochii, sa te plimbi pe strazile inguste din Plaka, sa te pozezi in Anafiotika, sa negociezi un magnet in Monastiraki si evident, sa te indopi cu tzatziki, souvlakiuri, gyrosuri si ouzo. N-ai ce face, Atena trebuie vazuta, indiferent de ce spune internetul. Ca e prea turistica, ca e prea comerciala, ca e prea betonata si-alte cele. Atata doar de avut in vedere ca orasul este intr-adevar murdar, sunt multi hoti de buzunare si din pacate in ultima perioada de timp, e plin de refugiati. Insa cu rabdarea (si mai ales cu grija :D) treci si marea. Fie ea Egeea sau oricare alta 😀

EN: One thing is for certain. Maybe Greece is all about beautiful beaches, good food, postcard landscapes. And maybe Athens is not fitting in this “typically Greek” pattern. But no matter how representative or not the capital is for Greece, it is a must to see it. You have to go up on the Acropolis, to get to Lycabettus and look at the city stretched as much as the eyes can see, to wander the narrow streets from Plaka, to photograph yourself in Anafiotika, to bargain for a fridge magnet in Monastiraki and obviously, to fill your belly with tzatziki, souvlaki, gyros and ouzo. There’s no doubt that Athens should be seen, no matter what the internet might say. That it is way too touristy, too commercial, to much concrete and other similar stories. You have to see it, but you have to bare in mind that the city is indeed filthy, there are a lot of pick pockets and unfortunately, in the last period of time is full of refugees. But hey, just be patient and give Athens a chance to prove you that it worths a visit 😀

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