Atena – Piraeus

RO: Toate ca toate, dar cand vine vorba despre Atena, ne gandim la doua lucruri: o data la Acropole, ca doar de, sunt peste tot pe interneti si carti postale, si-apoi la insule minunate, plaje, vreme frumoasa si peisaje fix de pus in rama. Atena e un fel de escala de vreo doua zile catre arhipelag. Ca pana la urma… nu degeaba or fi 3000 de insule in Marea Egee si peste 100 dintre ele locuite si gata sa primeasca oaspetii de peste mari si tari, doritori de tzatziki si ulei de masline peste branza feta πŸ˜€ Dar nu despre insule vrem sa vorbim, ci despre Piraeus, un fel de poarta dinspre Atena catre insulele din jur, pentru ca ce sa vezi, oraselul acesta este cel mai mare port din Grecia care transporta in fiecare an peste 20 de milioane de pasageri.Β Nu-i de mirare ca e plin de vase-gigant si feriboturi, gata-gata sa plece spre insule la orice ora din zi si din noapte.

EN: All in all, but when it comes to Athens, we’re thinking about two things: on one side about the Acropolis, as we find them everywhere on the internet, and on the other at the gorgeous islands, beaches, nice weather and picture perfect scenery. Athens is a kind of a two days stopover towards the archipelago. As in the end… there are plenty of islands to choose from in the Aegean Sea (3000 more precisely) and over 100 of them are inhabited and ready to receive guests Β coming from all around the world, all of them wanting to try the tzatziki sauce and some olive oil on top of feta cheese πŸ˜€ But hey, we don’t want to talk about the islands, but about Piraeus, a so called gate from Athens towards the surrounding islands. And what do you know, this city is the biggest port in Greece which transports over 20 millions passengers. No wonder the harbor is full of gigantic ships and ferries, ready to leave towards the islands at any hour of the day or night.
RO: Si acum e-acum. Pentru ce ai merge in Piraeus daca n-ai nicio treaba cu mers pe alte insule? Cam asta era dilema de actualitate in cea de-a treia zi in Atena, dupa ce vazusem deja orasul si dupa ce incercasem deja enspe mii de restaurante si “gyroserii”. Pai ce sa faci intr-un port comercial si industrial? Tadaaa, si aici intervine Sfantu’ DK, care ne spune ca la carte: avem o parte centrala a portului, acolo unde te trimite Google Maps cand scrii Piraeus Port. Si unde da, e-adevarat, nu ai ce face altceva decat sa te imbarci pe vreun vas si s-o iei la sanatoasa prin Egee. Dar mai suntΒ alte doua parti mai mici ale portului,Β unde parca-parca iti amintesti asa usor de-o Coasta de Azur in miniatura. Una se cheama Marina Zeas sau Pasalimani mai degraba, iar cea de-a doua Mikrolimano.

EN: And here comes the best part. Why would you go to Piraeus if you’re not planning to visit other islands? That was our dilemma on the third day in Athens, after we’ve seen the city already and after we’ve tried tons of restaurants and gyros-makers πŸ™‚ What could you possibly do in a commercial and industrial harbor? Tadaaaaa, and that’s when the Holy DK Travel Guide comes into place, to tell us by the book: we have a central part of the harbor, where Google Maps sends you when you write down Piraeus Port. And where, yes, indeed, there’s nothing else to do, just to hop on a vessel and start running through the Aegean Sea. But there are also two other smaller parts of the harbor, where you can see some resemblance with a miniature Cote d’Azur. One is called Marina Zeas or Pasalimani, and the other one Mikrolimano. Β 
RO: Si-acum sa detaliem! Pasalimani e portul de bogati, cu iahturi care mai de care mai fitoase si mai ostentative, ancorate in buza portului, la fix cat sa fie pozate si admirate de trecatori. Blocuri colorate, umbrelute la ferestre, portocali pe marginea drumului, promenada pe marginea marii si o atmosfera de vacanta, pe care in Atena n-o prea vezi. Pasalimani eΒ mai aerisit si mai relaxat, mai linistit si mai dichisit. Mai putine betoane, mai multe terase, mai multa voie buna. Cu alte cuvinte, Pasalimani e varianta mai “fensi-trensi” a portului Piraeus, in vreme ce Mikrolimano (Portul Mic) e la polul opus.

EN: And now let’s detail a little bit! Pasalimani is the rich harbor, with beautiful and fancy yachts, ostentatiouslyΒ anchored in the port, to be admired and photographed by the passers-by. Colorful buildings, umbrellas at each window, orange trees on the sideways, promenades along the seaside and a holiday atmosphere, that you don’t find so often in Athens. Pasalimani is more airy and relaxed, more tranquil and fancy. Less concrete, more terraces, more cheerfulness. In other words, Pasalimani is the fancy version of the Piraeus port, while Mikrolimano (the small harbour) is exactly the opposite. Β 
RO: Mai mititel, mai linistit, mai de localnici. Iahturile sunt inlocuite de barcute colorate de pescari, terasele vin pana-n buza apei, cu privelisti dementiale catre port si mare, iar sus in deal, cocotate pe trepte abrupte, e o dragalasenie de cartier, numit Kastella. Cica cea mai pitoreasca regiune din Piraeus, cu casute autentice intinse pana sus pe deal, strazi inguste, flori la ferestre, Β o zona rezidentiala plina de cafenele si restaurante. Foarte adevarat de altfel, insa per total zona nu este extrem de ingrijita. Sunt multe cladiri abandonate, multe gunoaie, multe case murdare, ruginite sau poate chiar parasite. N-o fi vrednicia cea mai reprezentativa calitate a grecilor, insa parca-parca e o nota oarecum dezolanta. Sau poate asta e senzatia pe care ti-o lasa portul Piraeus pe timp de iarna, cand nu sunt nici turisti prea multi, nici localnici in casele de vacanta, iar cladirile abandonate sau constructiile lasate in voia sortii nu prea te-ajuta sa iti faci alta parere.

EN: A bit smaller, a bit quieter, a bit more local. The yachts are replaced by colorful fishermen boats, the terraces are alignedΒ to the waterside, the views towards the port and the seaside are amazing and up the hill, perched on steep stairs, there is a lovely district called Kastella. They say it is the most picturesque region in Piraeus, with authentic houses scattered on the hill, narrow streets, flowers at the windows and a residential area full of cafes and restaurants. And we totally agree that it is indeed picturesque. But overall, the area is not so well taken care of. There are lots of abandoned buildings, garbage, filthy houses, rusted or even desolated. Maybe the Greeks are not the handiest people in the world, but all this area has a touch of desolation. Or maybe that’s how Piraeus looks like during winter time, when there aren’t so many tourists, or locals in their holiday houses, and to be honest the abandoned buildings or the unfinished constructions are not helping in changing our impression.Β 
RO: Bun, dar lasand dramele sentimentale la o parte, ca doar bietii oameni n-or fi trecut degeaba prin recesiune economica, problema zilei esteΒ unde sa iei pranzul πŸ˜€ Fie la restaurantele din port, unde e greu sa dai gres, dar poate ca sunt un picut cam prea turistice. Fie la vreun local ascuns printre blocurile din Piraeus, despre care uneori nici localnicii nu au auzit! Mergem pe mana blogurilor de mancare, c-or stii ele de ce recomanda masaΒ la Yperokeaneion. Si adevarul e ca fructele de mare sunt senzationale! Si nici tzatziki-ul picant si plin de usturoi nu-i de colo!

EN:Β Ok, but leaving the sentimental dramas behind, as they did face some serious problems during the recession, the main issue of the day is where should we have lunch πŸ˜€ Either at the restaurants from the port, where the chances to fail are close to zero, the only problem being the fact that they seem a bit too touristy. Or maybe we should goΒ to a hidden gem somewhere between the buildings from Piraeus, that sometimes not even locals know about it! WeΒ trust the food blogs, as they probably know best why they recommend a meal at Yperokeaneion. And the truth is that the seafood is amazing! And that spicy and full of garlic tzatziki is not bad either!

RO: Si-acum ca suntem satui si de seafood, si de tzatziki, suntem gata sa infruntam traficul ‘al faimos din Atena. Si nu ne dezamageste! Bara la baraΒ pe stradute intortocheate si inclinate la vreo 45 de grade, cat sa te minunezi de cum reusesc bolizii grecilor sa se plimbe-n sus si-n jos fara sa-si zgarie vopseaua. Si uite ca-n final ajungem si la ultimul punct de pe lista, si-anume stadionul Panathenaic. Cu alte cuvinte, stadionul unde s-au tinut primele Jocuri Olimpice din epoca moderna, in 1896. Stadionul facut din marmura alba, a nu se confunda cu Stadionul Olimpic construit special pentru Jocurile Olimpice din 2004. Noo,Β nu-i aceeasi Marie, si nici aceeasi palarie!

EN: And now that we’re up to here with seafood and tzatziki, we’re ready to face the famous Athenian traffic. And it doesn’t prove us wrong! Waiting in lines on the sinuousΒ and 45 degrees inclined streets, just enough to wonder how are the Greeks able to wander up and down with their 4×4 without scratching their paint. And here we are, on our last point in the itinerary, which is the Panathenaic Stadium. In other words, the stadium where the first Olympic Games in the modern era were held, in 1896. The stadium is made of white marble, and is not to be confused with the Olympic Stadium built for the Olympic Games from 2004. Nope, totally different thing! Β Β 
RO: Si doar n-o sa parasim incinta si-o sa ne intoarcem acasa, pe melegeauri natale, fara sa fi mers pana sus pe deal, la Lycabettus! Ca daca nu ne-a ajuns privelistea Atenei de pe Acropole, s-o vedem si din cel mai inalt punct al orasului πŸ™‚ Si fie ca mergi pe jos, prin tot labirintul de scari de te-apuca tremuratul genunchilor cand ajungi in varf, fie ca iei funicularul sau dai vina pe timp (nu pe conditie fizica), ca subsemnatii, si-o iei cu Fiat 500-le la goana pe drumul sinuos, privelistea vazuta de sus e cu adevarat dementiala. Abia aici realizezi cat e de mare mastodontul acesta de oras si cat se intinde de nu-l poti cuprinde cu ochii. Si-acum… ii spunem “sarut-mana” zeitei Atena, ca de nu scapa din greseala roca in drum spre Acropole, nici c-aveam asa priveliste la final de vacanta in Atena πŸ™‚ Dar hei, pana una alta maine mergem sa vedem si Templul lui Poseidon, nu de alta, dar daca tot s-au razboit zeitatile, macar sa stim de partea cui suntem! πŸ™‚

EN: And hey, we’re not leaving this place without going up the hill at Lycabettus! As if the view seen from the Acropolis is not enough, we need to see the one from the highest point in town πŸ™‚ And even if you walk through the maze of stairs that make your knees shivering when you get to the top, even if you take the funicular or if you blame the lack of time (not the poor physical condition :D), like the subscribers here :P, and drive the sinuous road with a Fiat 500, regardless of what transportation option you choose, the view is truly incredible. Just when you get up here you realize how huge this city is. And now… let’s thank goddess Athena, as she was the one dropping the rock by mistake on the way to the Acropolis, otherwise we wouldn’t have had such a view at the end of our trip to Athens πŸ™‚ But hey, as we all know about the quarrels between Athena and Poseidon,Β tomorrow we’re going to see Poseidon’s Temple, as we have to decide on which side we are! πŸ™‚Β