Athens my Athens
Day : 13 Wednesday 13 July 1974
We rode the over night train into Athens a little after 8 am. Tensions were high judge from the newsstand, a magazine showed a map of Cyprus draped in a Union Jack with a dagger stuck into it! I said to Larry right now we are Dutch! Obviously we were not popular owing to the UK stance and its policy of nonintervention. Luckily for me I had a St. George’s Cross on my backpack.
Athens railway station is the main railway station of Athens, and the largest station in Greece. Located in the central quarter of Kolonos, it resulted from the merger of the city's two main railway ...
Athens railway station
Athens railway station (Greek: Σιδηροδρομικός Σταθμός Αθηνών, romanized: Sidirodromikós Stathmós Athinón) is the main railway station of Athens, and the largest station in Greece. Located in the central quarter of Kolonos, it resulted from the merger of the city's two main railway terminals—the Larissa Station (Σταθμός Λαρίσης, Stathmós Larísis) of the Piraeus–Platy railway towards central and northern Greece, and the Peloponnese Station (Σταθμός Πελοποννήσου, Stathmós Peloponnísou) of the Piraeus–Patras railway linking Athens with the Peloponnese. It is still colloquially known as Larissa Station, which is also the name of the adjacent Metro station.
We walked the short distance to the National Archaeological Museum of Athens.
The National Archaeological Museum of Athens is the largest archaeological museum in Greece and one of the most important museums in the world devoted to ancient Greek art. It was founded at the end of the 19th century to house and protect antiquities from all over Greece, thus displaying their historical, cultural and artistic
We took a “bendy trolley bus” from the station in search of lodging.
I.L.P.A.P. (Greek: Ηλεκτροκίνητα Λεωφορεία Περιοχής Αθηνών – Πειραιώς Η.Λ.Π.Α.Π. - Electric Buses of Athens & Piraeus Area) was a public Greek company, part of the general Athens Mass Transit System, responsible for the operation of the trolleybuses network. ILPAP was founded on December 14, 1970, and since 1998 the company was owned by the Athens Urban Transport Organisation (Organismos Astikon Syngoinonion Athinon - OASA, Greek: Οργανισμός Αστικών Συγκοινωνιών Αθηνών - Ο.Α.Σ.Α.), a public company.
Seven hills of Athens
Athens is built on (at least) seven magnificent hills, where all of them include something unique you can gain from visiting them. Many of them are related to magnificent myths, such of this of Athena and Lycabettus, but we will not start from this one, but from Acropolis and Pnyx. The latter is the hill where democracy was performed, today an open air museum, a place with magnificent view where near you can enjoy a perfect dinner next to Acropolis, at Dionysus.
We headed for the area known as ELIKONAS (ATC), Hill, ATHENS.
70 Greek drachma a night
We quickly found somewhere to stay. It was a multi-storey lodging house full of Turkish workers who had been confined to barracks by the Greek Police because of the Cyprus Situation. The owner showed us to our room which was on the top floor. Each landing had Turkish men playing backgammon in the underpants! The room rate was the equivalent of £1.00 English Sterling (70 Drachma).https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greek_drachma
Day : 14 Thursday 14 July 1974
This was spent visiting the Agora, Pnyx, Acropolis, Parthenon and Flea Markets.
The day had coming when our goal was in sight It was loaded with emotion for me, Athens the cradle of democracy, well worth fighting for as Lord Byron did and dying for which he did.
We took the trolley bus to the agora and pnyx, paid our money and ascended by the ancient footpath up to the Acropolis. It was a red hot scorning day already. Will never forget our first view of the Temple of Athena Nike, I got this sense a I was truly home with capital H! Of course it has now been removed to save it for posterity, even in 1974 there was a problem with erosion due to to acid traffic fumes.
Ahead stood the bare bones of the majestic Parthenon, the sight of world shaking events. We toured the site all to briefly in the mid day sun. About 3 o’clock we descended to seek some lunch and headed for the Avissinias Square Flea Market north of the Acropolis.
There we found a bar and afterwards we found our Greek bags that we had spied on Calella Beach in Spain.
Job done we continued our tour of the market until it was time for eating our main meal, dinner. By then we were well and truly tried so we headed for the trolley bus to take us to our lodgings.
Day : 15 Friday 15 July 1974
Then it all kicked off.......,
On 2 July 1974, Makarios wrote an open letter to President Gizikis complaining bluntly that 'cadres of the Greek military regime support and direct the activities of the 'EOKA-B' terrorist organisation'. He also ordered that Greece remove some 600 Greek officers in the Cypriot National Guard from Cyprus. The Greek Government's immediate reply was to order the go-ahead of the coup. On 15 July 1974 sections of the Cypriot National Guard, led by its Greek officers, overthrew the government.
Makarios narrowly escaped death in the attack. He fled the presidential palace from its back door and went to Paphos, where the British managed to retrieve him by Westland Whirlwind helicopter in the afternoon of 16 July and flew him from Akrotiri to Malta in a Royal Air Force Armstrong Whitworth Argosy transport aircraft and from there to London by de Havilland Comet the next morning.
In the meantime, Nikos Sampson was declared provisional president of the new government. Sampson was an ultra-nationalist, pro-Enosis combatant who was known to be fanatically anti-Turkish and had taken part in violence against Turkish civilians in earlier conflicts.
The Sampson regime took over radio stations and declared that Makarios had been killed; but Makarios, safe in London, was soon able to counteract these reports. In the coup itself, 91 people were killed. The Turkish-Cypriots were not affected by the coup against Makarios; one of the reasons was that Ioannides did not want to provoke a Turkish reaction.
What to do next?
We were still the dark as regard the political situation. Larry and I decided to head for Patras to cross by ferry to Brindisi in Italy..... easy said than done.
After breakfast we broke camp and headed off to the railway station. We got supplies for the train journey ahead. It was a eight plus hour journey in those days. We left at 18:00 hrs. It was a journey into to the unknown.
Two things were memorable; crossing over to the Peloponnese peninsula (geographic region in southern Greece. It is connected to the central part of the country by the Isthmus of Corinth land bridge which separates the Gulf of Corinth from the Saronic Gulf) and the girl who whose boyfriend was threatening to kill her with a knife!
The evening journey had gone along very pleasantly indeed as we wound our way around the coast. Dusk fell and then all of sudden a girl about 20 years of age burst into our train carriage shouting in Greek, “ο φίλος μου πήρε ένα μαχαίρι που θα με σκοτώσει -
(o fílos mou píre éna machaíri pou tha me skotósei)”
We were sat midway down the carriage and being the only men she approached us and repeated the sentence shouting! Realising we were English she translated, “my boyfriend got a knife he’s is going to kill me!”
The stated of panic in her voice was I knew it was serious. Larry being chivalrous offered to take care of her. I on the other being more pragmatic decided to block the entrance way in the adjacent carriage from whence she had come.
Sitting on the floor my guitar I struck up a ballad -
I dreamed I met a Galilean
A most amazing man
He had that look you very rarely find
The haunting, hunted kind
I asked him to say what had happened
How it all began?
I asked again, he never said a word
As if he hadn't heard
And next, the room was full of
Wild and angry men
They seemed to hate this man
They fell on him, and then disappeared again
Then I saw thousands of millions
Crying for this man
And then I heard them mentioning my name
And leaving me the blamehttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ex0YEDcIZU8
Sure enough the boyfriend appear and ignore me stepped over me as I sat on the floor. I figured that if did kickoff I would rush in to restrain him. I checked on the situation. Larry and the girl had been joined by two other girl backpackers travel to Patras. They were giving him a tongue lashing!!! Losing face he back down and fled the way he had come. I smiled! Typical bully and went to resume my place.
The girls said we should report the incident to the Police once we got to Patras at 02:00hrs.
Day : 16 Saturday 16 July 1974
This we did. By now it was 03:00hrs and the girls went on their way. The desk Sergeant was very helpful and I pointed us to some lodgings of a man he knew along the road. We thank him and went our way according to the directions that he gave us.
He must telephone the owner because his was the only house lit up. We knocked and were immediately greeted and shown into to our room by the friendly owner.
Welcome to Patras I thought!
Inter-rail 1974 Part One
European Tour July 1974
Finally my 6 month gap year job working for British Railways ended in June, so I decided to take a busman’s or rather railman’s holiday.https://www.ravenecho.com/articles/46/598/
Inter-rail 1974 Part Two
Barcelona to Romehttps://www.ravenecho.com/articles/46/604/
Inter-rail 1974 Part Three
Rome to Venicehttps://www.ravenecho.com/articles/46/606/
Inter-rail 1974 Part Four
Athens my Athenshttps://www.ravenecho.com/articles/46/640/
Inter-rail 1974 Part 5
Patras to Athens, Paris, Homehttps://www.ravenecho.com/articles/46/641/