You cannot travel far across the land in Greece without meeting the sea or far across the sea without meeting one of it’s roughly 2000 islands. Greece has 9387 miles of coastline, more than any other country of its size in the world. The sea is everywhere, not on three sides but on every turn. Natural beauty, sharp clear sun light, archaeological treasures and islands (lots of them!) make Greece one of the most inviting destinations. And the year 1993 brought me to Greece.
My late uncle used to work as the airline cabin crew and he frequently visited Greece on his way to Paris. So, one sunny afternoon when he was visiting us, he asked me whether I would like to go with him to Greece. I was surprised at this offer and nothing but a big “Yes” was on my face. I asked him to talk to my dad, who will sponsor my trip. As if Almighty Allah, wanted things to happen quickly, so, it took micro seconds for my dad to agree and display his approval. Hurrrrrrrray!
I got the paper work done for the visa, tickets and traveler’s cheques.
All set ready to go!
I wrote about this trip on a daily basis during the trip in a diary, I print from the diary pages verbatim.
Hellas Calling – Day 1
I am on the road again, this time it’s Athens. The PIA flight took off from Karachi International Airport at 12:00 pm and it will take approximately 6 hours to reach Athens. I got the window seat (again!). The route this flight will take is over Iran and Turkey at an altitude of 35000 ft.
The flight landed at 6:25 pm at Ellinikon International Airport (Helleniko). Since I was traveling with the airline crew, so I had to wait for them, once cleared from immigration, to join them to ride to the Hotel Caravel. It was a bit cold and windy that day. The room number allotted to me was 344. After placing my stuff in the room, I got a map of the city from the reception and went out for a walk to check the surroundings.
The evening was pleasant and quite. The streets are very green, i.e. flowers, grass and lots of trees. Traffic is fast and fluent. I later came to know that I have come here during the Easter Holidays and for the next day or so all tourist attractions will be closed.
As I walk down the street I came across a stadium, the Panathenaic Stadium, built on ancient design it has a running track, lot of sitting capacity, many flag poles and the center is marked for several athletic sports.
A postage stamp was also issued depicting the stadium.
On the other side of the street is a zoo and a very big garden. On the rear side of this garden you’ll see the traditional Greek guards guarding an army office. I walked up to the guard post and asked the sentry on duty about them, he replied very politely, he said they are called “TSOLIAS” or “EVSONAS”.
My evening walk came to an end when I decided to head back to the hotel. So, far it looks very good to me and I am very excited.