BY SARAH GRAHAM
Everywhere you turn in Greece, everything is infused with the deep-seeded culture that has been present for the thousands of years that it has existed. The people, the streets, the structures all make Greece the country that people rave about and want to visit. There are so many places to visit in Greece that you could explore for the entire day without seeing the same etching in a post, or the same view, including the Greek Theatre, the Acropolis, and so on.
One experience that I had in Greece that really stood out to me as an incredible part of the culture was my experience in Athens. But it wasn’t my walk around the Acropolis that topped my list—it was my stroll around Athens in the evening in the Plaka district. By just looking at the view above me of the Acropolis lit up at night, I knew that Athens was a special nighttime treat.
Where else but in Greece are the streets paved in marble tiles? Where else but in Greece can I get a gyro any time that I want to? Plaka is a big tourist district, located right below the Acropolis, and it definitely satisfied my “tourist needs”. In Plaka, there were shops galore filled with everything, from all things Greek, to dresses and more. The architecture of the Plaka shops looked especially intriguing at night, with the contours of the buildings being electrified in the shadows.
One of the things that I found most interesting about Greece and Europe itself is the difference in the perception of time compared to the US: everything starts earlier and ends later—the sun plays tricks on you! I loved that I would not eat until nine at night (because that’s when the sun sets) and would still be out until at least midnight. It was thrilling for me that there would still be so many people awake and just as curious about Athens as I was. Athens is so lively!
Moreover, there is just something electric about an outdoor market. The warm, Mediterranean air makes for a welcoming atmosphere in which stores and restaurants can have their doors wide open. They lay, hospitable, waiting for customers to browse through their little trinkets and souvenirs. No matter where you are in the world, an interesting city during the day has an entirely different and inviting feel to it at night. It pulls you to explore at all hours of the day. When you’re traveling, it’s hard to sleep because there’s always something to do, especially at night in the Plaka district of Athens!
**Author’s note: Due to the current financial situation in Greece, while it is an intriguing time to be wandering around Athens, nighttime is also a dangerous one. Make sure you are always wary and travel with a friend.