“Travels to A Different Time” : 5August2000: Athens, Greece: Interesting Hotel in Athens Besieged by Shady Albanians

Last breakfast in Samos at the hotel. Horrible bickering amongst the hotel staff. If it continues that chef is going on a stabbing rampage! The taxi driver with the bum ticker picked me up and off to the airport. A beautiful last glimpse of Samos but the two rusting cars at the side of the road are a bit strange considering the strict municipal building codes in effect to maintain the architectural integrity of the towns on Samos. Yet why are these two rusting cars sitting on the shoulder of the road?

The check in process was disorganized and the Olympic flight (as usual) was delayed for 40 minutes. Allotted a crappy room at the Hotel Stanley but argued up to the top floor. Room 816 with a view of the Acropolis! The area is somewhat in decline with shady looking characters lurking about mostly Albanians. After the 1992 collapse of communism thousands of Albanians streamed in Greece many illegally. They managed to control the narcotics trade in Athens in short order. Petty thievery and cons abound. Break and enter crimes have soared over the past few years and the Albanians are blamed for it by many Greeks. I even had one Albanian guy offer to sell me a fake passport. Hotel Stanley is $150 USD a night half the rate of the Grand Bretagne and is a find but in a depressing district. They have rooftop bar and pool with a stunning view of the Acropolis. Speaking of the Acropolis headed out to see it again as I saw it last in 1970. It is still an amazing sight and the approach to through Plaka is interesting like being in a small Greek village with small winding streets. The view of Athens from the Acropolis is just about as spectacular as the Acropolis itself. Dropped into the Acropolis Museum. Back at the hotel for a rooftop pool swim. Although I try and avoid hotel restaurants given the seediness of the area had a dinner at the rooftop restaurant at the Stanley with a view of the Acropolis. The dinner was excellent and the service very well timed. Cretan white wine was bold and crisp. Complimentary dessert of peaches and watermelon.

The taxi driver that took me to Hotel Stanley from the airport said it was a great hotel in a bad district. At night he would not drive in it.

Published by Robert K Stephen (CSW)

Robert K Stephen writes about food and drink, travel, and lifestyle issues. He is one of the few non-national writers to be certified as a wine specialist by the Society of Wine Educators, in Washington, DC. Robert was the first associate member of the Wine Writers’ Circle of Canada. He also holds a Mindfulness Certification from the University of Leiden and the University of Toronto. Be it Spanish cured meat, dried fruit, BBQ, or recycled bamboo place mats, Robert endeavours to escape the mundane, which is why he has established this publication. His motto is, "Have Story, Will Write."

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