by - October 16, 2020

Europe's capital cities are always on my bucket list and I've crossed many of them off. What I've come to learn is that even though they all have their own distinctive identities, the similarities are uncanny. However, Athens felt more like a Middle Eastern city to me with a fusion of Eurocentric spaces. It looks more Middle Eastern than Istanbul, just exchange the orthodox churches with the ottoman mosques. Unfavourable opinion, I know! Besides the old town, the part of Athens we visited wasn’t in great shape, but nevertheless had its own charms. We stayed walking distance from Acropolis and could see it from our rooftop room/terrace. 

I am posting this in the middle of a pandemic and perfectly aware of travel restrictions & bans...but I hope that doesn't everyone from having a travel bucket list? I surely hope we can travel freely once this whole thing is over. 

If you follow me on Instagram, you may have noticed I share my travel locations on there with the exact location tags. If you wish to know exact locations, then I recommend you to check the hashtag I've created for each city I travel to. In this instant it would be #thezirkus_athens

Now to the main sight, bare in mind we’ve only stayed in Athens for three nights, made the most of it and didn’t venture beyond the main touristic sights. We did our typical checklist but ventured around without a plan. We have not taken any public transportation (besides the train to and from the airport) and the electric scooters; which come by very handy! We did most of it walking, as we both enjoy wandering around foreign cities! If you’re only there to see the main sights, then walking suffices. 

(Wearing Dior scarf, Celine sunglasses, Zara dress & bag)

I've always been fascinated by the Greek and their history, though I have to admit, my knowledge is very much limited and on the surface. I admire the Ancient Greek philosophers, their influential work into modern societies and of course I had to see some of the ruins for myself. Considering how old the Acropolis and it's surrounding area are (over 2460 years!), it's astonishing to witness history in present days.

Ideally I should be able to give some insider of what it is like to travel as a Muslimah, but in reality I travel with my friends, my partner or siblings, even when I travelled solo, I would have friends to hang out with at the given destinations. To be honest, I don't really notice other people's behaviour towards me when I travel, because at the end of the day I am a tourist at the given location and it's never reflective of the experiences Muslims face residing in those cities. In Athens for instance, I did not notice any out of the ordinary behaviour towards me or the headscarf, also most people there look Middle Eastern haha! 

If you are travelling with someone, it is pretty safe and people are generally welcoming and friendly! 

Most sights have guides and information, also English seems to be widely spoken. In regards of navigating the city, it is pretty straightforward and easy to be honest. We visited Athens in May and it was warm, perfect temperature actually! 

Our host was friendly and recommend us to stay away from the tourist trap restaurants, as they dilute the flavours of Greek food in favour of a “universal appeal”. In other words, a little more bland and a little more overpriced. That’s no different to any other touristic destination. Our Airbnb host recommended “The Tradition” that served delicious local dishes. We got feta salad, chicken skews and tatziki...the flavours were unexpectedly good and we honestly didn’t not anticipate a block of feta cheese on top of the salad. Supposedly that’s how it’s served and you break it into pieces & mix it with the rest of the salad. The chilly peppers that accompanied the chicken skews were SPICY! Crazy hot! I’m not a food critic, but I genuinely have a very healthy relationship with food and love food. My taste buds aren’t that of a connoisseur but they’re definitely advanced. How do I even write this without sounding even a little bit arrogant? Haha doubt that’s possible. So anyhow, I highly recommend this place. It’s not far from the main sights and it’s in close proximity to local bars. 

Speaking of bars, we just hopped to the bar next door on our first night. Which looks like it may be a cafe during the day. Plenty of decorative plants and definitely an instagramable place (perhaps they had that in mind). If you’re interested in having a mocktail, it’s a nice place with a good vibe but you won’t miss out if you don’t go. 

I would definitely want to visit some of the Greek Islands next time, but would I visit Athens again? Not really, I've seen enough of the city and enjoyed what it had to offer. I love Greek food, certainly I would be able to eat that on the Islands for my next trip? And can I just say, I had two missed opportunities to visit Samos Island...I literally stayed in Kusadasi (2hrs away from Samos by ferry) twice for a long period of time! First time I was lazy...second time was in August 2020, no ferries due to the pandemic...

(Wearing Vintage scarf, Celine sunglasses, Arket t-shirt, Zara jeans, Roland Mouret bag, Louis Vuitton sandals)

(Photography by Zinah & Cesar)

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