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Athens 16th-19th January 2015

When planning the trip to Athens it became obvious that I couldn’t just watch back-to-back football matches. The city is many things, a cradle to democracy, to arts, drama and architecture.

I really couldn’t miss out on visiting the Acropolis, the Parthenon, and Hadrian’s Gate, but the photographer in me thought I’d find myself winding back the lens to wide-angle for the iconic sites.

That happened, the view from the Acropolis needs you to do just that, but the longer I lingered, the more I looked at the smaller things; the cats and dogs that seemed to guard the antiquities, the pigeon casting a hungry eye on my souvlaki, or even the goods on offer at the flea market. I’d have loved that Zenit camera, and the retro music centre, but airlines restrict hand baggage these days!

I loved the metro stations, some old, some new even if you do have to watch your step on the marble floors when it rains, and the bouzouki player was weaving musical magic as I ate one evening.

As always on my travels it was the people that impressed me most, from the waiters that always seemed to produce honey and yoghurt as a complementary sweet after my meal, to the woman who saw me reading a map of the metro and offered her guidance; they were a credit to their city.

It was clear that Greece has real economic problems, and with a snap general election this coming Sunday the campaigners and posters were in evidence. Whether whoever wins will be able to solve the issues isn’t clear, but from an outsider looking in I’d like to wish everyone I met the very best of fortunes, whatever the result.