Monday, October 28, 2013

Athens



The noise does NOT come from grandma moving on crutches, as a passerby suggested. My skis and poles are just noisy on the concrete. I realize that it is an impropable material to ski on, but it is what I have. The view to the brightly lit Parthenon temple and the Acropolis in front of me make up for the lack of powder snow. Skiing in Athens!

The concrete is actually quite skiable. Contrary to expectations, it is almost too slippery. I am on the pathway down from the 277 meter Mount Lycabettus, the highest peak in Athens. The pathway is made from smooth concrete, making it it quite slippery for my plastic skis. I'd love to be on a high-speed run on a slippery surface, except for the stairs; there are plenty of stairs on the way, and I am afraid to ski them. I have not been here before, and there are both individual steps as well as longer groups of stairs. Too dangerous at speed.



I am at Lycabettus to have a dinner with a friend. Mark and I had some work stuff to go over, but it was also great to see him. Not to mention the fact that he always manages to find the best dinner and bar spots... this evening being no exception.

When coming to this trip, I had no idea if there'd be any opportunities for skiing, but took my small miniskis with me just in case. And as I learned that we'd go to a mountaintop restaurant, I took them with me for the evening. You never know what happens. And indeed, a skiable path opened before our eyes as we were descending back from the restaurant!


It is autumn in Athens, but it is still hot during the days. The skiing happens closer to midnight, however, and a jacket is necessary. I hear that in the winter there may even be some snow here. I need to come back - I recently learned that Greece has a number of real ski areas. Skiing on real Greek snow in the winter would indeed be fun.

Here's the "ski lift" in Lycabettus:



If the restaurant is not sufficient before-ski entertainment, the city is full of good after-ski bars. Sadly, bad economic times have made the city very quiet on weekdays. This is in stark contrast to at least my previous visits here. In any case, we enjoyed more excellent views at the roof bar on Hotel Grande Bretagne.



Photo and video credits (c) 2013 by Jari Arkko and Mark Townsley

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