Against popular advice by all and sundry, we decided to stay in Piraeus, the port of Athens, located to the south-west of this major, capital city. It was reputedly dirty, busy, a little dodgy and not many had a good word to say about the place.
Well, we do.
Getting away from the Metro station and walking down to the harbour, some of what is said is true. It is a little seedy; a little grimy and the traffic is full on. However, we felt safe and secure and by the time we had wandered past the docks, we saw lovely green parks full of traditional orange trees and wonderfully ornate and striking churches.
We found our hotel, the aptly named Piraeus Dream City Hotel and were taken to a very comfortable and large room, which will be home for the next nine nights. Despite being a little weary from our five hour plus transfer from Thessaloniki (and through a cracking thunder and lightning storm) we dropped off our bags and had a quick scouting mission to get the lie of the land.
The main high street is for pedestrians only and has all the usual main name stores in abundance. The little side streets off the main drag hold all manner of fascinating eateries and bars and as one meanders down to the Marina, the warm night really enhances the mood and reminds you you are no longer in central Europe and some where a little more tropical. Prices at first glance also appear a little keener than our experience in Thess; thankfully.
And of course, with the main city of Athens available a short Metro ride away, the full pleasures are still to come...