My dream came true and I’ve lived for a year and a half, almost two years now, in Athens. After all this time, I can safely sum up the perks and the pitfalls of this city! So, there you have it. The 3 worst things you have to tolerate and the 7 best ones you’ll get to enjoy, which makes us, the 10 things to know if you want to live in this big city.
The worst a.k.a. why you’ll possibly want to have a break from time to time.
1. It’s dirty. And it stinks sometimes. There are ALWAYS going to be places that stink that you forget about and eventually pass by, leaving annoyed at yourself every time. Using the public transport for long commutes, especially in the summer, will eventually have you a bit grossed out if it’s crowded. But you have to do, what you have to do.
2. Almost everyone’s in a hurry. What this means is that you’ll often have to endure being shoved by strangers or being asked to hurry up and get out that door as soon as possible. Also, some citizens are rude. There will be a lot of situations when you’ll have to be very very patient with people because there will always be a grandma that gives you The look the moment you have just sat on a seat after 10 hours of university lectures or a teenager that decides to shout at his phone right by your ear. Oh! And last week a man next to me on the bus fell asleep. It was weird having to wake him up, I’m not gonna lie.
3. The noise. It’s almost never quiet and this is what personally gets me tired the most. The sound of the cars is nearly inescapable. It makes it very hard to zone out and focus when you are very stressed out and it’s one of the main reasons why studying in the centre of the city gets you very tired, very easily.
Now the exciting part, I’ve been anticipating to write about!
THE BEST-a.k.a. why you’re not planning on leaving this place anytime soon
4. There’s always a free event somewhere in the city every day of the week. I’m talking about cool cultural happenings from free classical music concerts on weekdays or free entrance in some of the best sight-seeing in the world to street parties and yoga sessions in the park. If you want to have fun for free, you know there’s going to be something for you.
5. And if you’re not an event-going, overly social type of person, you can just sit in a square or wander in a cute neighborhood doing some people-watching. It never gets old and you probably won’t see notice the same people every time. It’s even funnier when you have a friend around; that way you can take turns guessing what the lady in the orange jumpsuit does for a living.
6. No one knows you; so you might as well do what you want (unless it’s illegal). You’ll most likely never see again those people walking down the street next to you . Why not take that opportunity and be your goofiest self? No one will care and they’ll probably won’t even notice.
7. The public means of transport. If you don’t have a car, the metro is the best way to get around the city. Plus, it is very affordable and on time. Strikes on the metro are quite rare and the air conditioning is comforting during the hot summer months when you’re dreading the heat.
8. Job opportunities. Athens is the biggest city in Greece, which means that the city serves as a base to the biggest firms in the country, cool start-ups, factories, shops and everything in between. While the province offers plenty of chances for young people to work, it is a lot easier to land a part-time or full-time job in Athens. However, the city is simultaneously in the center of the financial crisis and the number of people applying for the same job interview is usually high.
9. You’re in the center of everything. When you live in Athens, you are literally in the centre of Greece. There is no other city that can offer you the excitement of living where the news happen and all the big decisions are made. It’s fun and exciting and full of tourists.
10. The city (almost) never sleeps. The centre of Athens is busy non-stop 365 days a year and it’s the best place for a night out. Kolokotroni, Agias Eirinis square, Kolonaki, Gazi and Exarcheia are the hubs of the Greek night life that can satisfy everyone. Clubs, bars, cafés, restaurants and concert venues are going to satisfy anyone that finds his way to this beautiful city.
Athens is not a perfect city. It is, though, beautiful in a unique way. If you’re planning on moving here or taking a short trip, I suggest that you bring your biggest smile and enjoy everything the city has to offer!