Yes, of course there was a strike today. It’s public transportation again. Taxis were there but who would be stupid enough to jump into a cab at rush hour? I was lucky though, I went to work on a vespa. I have to admit there’s something perversely exciting about zooming past long lines of cars stuck in traffic.
The weather was great, so on my way back I decided to walk half the distance. Just when I exited the office and turned right on Syntama square – the main square of Athens – there was one of the protesters’ groups chanting the usual anti-austerity slogans in front of the Finance Ministry. Suddenly I saw a middle-aged tourist posing for a picture in front of them, wearing a t-shirt that read: “I survived the strikes in Greece 2011” and making the victory sign. The back of his t-shirt had the same slogan in Greek. I laughed, of course, but how embarrassing.
On Vasileos Georgiou avenue I saw three female tourists sticking band aids on their ankles. Probably one of the side effects of having to walk for hours in uncomfortable shoes.
In front of Kallimarmaron stadium, the bottleneck continued. I’m happy to see more and more Athenians using bikes to travel around town. Only six years ago there was hardly a biker in sight. Only people who were considered health freaks and the odd university student would be seen pedaling along main avenues. But with crippling strikes hitting the city every other day, rising fuel prices, lower wages and an increased health awareness, Athenians are slowing catching up on the trend.
In this year’s Athens guide, I’ve included a section on how to get by with less. Check out this site for bike rentals in Athens:
I must remember to inflate the tires of my bike.
[This post was written on Thursday 13th, but published today]