Walking along Leoforos Alexandras (Alexandras Avenue) - part 1

As the weather gradually gets warmer I'll be doing some more "walking" posts for you, presenting streets and neighborhoods of Athens. This time it's Alexandras Avenue (Leoforos Alexandras), which is a major thoroughfare running in a west to east direction (and vice-versa, with 3 lanes each way), from the center (almost) of Athens to the neighborhood of Ambelokipi and Kifissias Avenue which then takes you to the northern suburbs of Psychiko, Filothei, Halandri, Maroussi and Kifissia. It acts as the northern boundary of the Inner Athens Ring Road.
Leoforos Alexandras (Alexandras Avenue) street sign

Alexandras starts at the intersection with Patission St. The road has a slight upward slope moving this way but the large sidewalks make it easy to walk. The first thing you see is the small Plateia Aigyptou (Egypt Square) that has been partly turned into a bus station (with a parking underground). Here, and in the adjoining Mavromataion St., is the Athens starting point for suburban buses traveling to Attica (the wider region of Athens) and destinations such as Cape Sounio, Marathon, Porto Rafti, Rafina, etc. [For transport directions to / from Rafina and Lavrio click here]
Suburban bus station at Plateia Aigyptou (Alexandras Ave. & Mavrommateon St.) 
On the left hand side you will also find a bust of famous late Greek poet 'Constantinos Cavafis', internationally known as C.P. Cavafy. If you haven't read any of his poems (his work is translated into many languages) I really recommend picking up one of his books or a collection [Check out  Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk]. I only remember a couple of poems from my high-school years and his ("Ithaka") was one of them. It may ring a bell to you that this was the poem read during Jackie Kennedy Onassis' funeral by her companion back in 1994. 

Next, on the left again, is the main entrance of Pedion Areos (a.k.a. Pedio tou Areos) ("Champs de Mars" in French...); the largest urban park in the boundaries of the city of Athens. It underwent a significant renovation a couple of years ago but has remained half-finished and management problems still linger. However, many people choose to come here for a weekend walk or for their kids to find a chance to get out of the apartment and play and when it's sunny it's a really nice place to be.
Pedio tou Areos park - Main entrance at Mavrommateon & Alexandras - Statue of former King of Greece Constantine
Across the street from the Pedio tou Areos, is the recently renovated Park Hotel, since 2012 a member of the Radisson hotel chain. At 26 Alexandras & Notara St. you will see the well-kept neoclassical building housing the Austrian Archaeological Institute of Athens.
Austrian Archaeological Institute in Athens
If you venture to the right you enter the neighborhood of Exarchia which is quite popular with students but has had its ups and downs as far as calm and safety are concerned. To your left is the other main entrance of Pedion Areos, with the Column of the Goddess Athena gazing proudly ahead.

At 50 Alexandras is a humble, local institution, at least for college students low on money. Ouzeri "Tiniako" serves ouzo, beer and a variety platter of mostly fried fare at very low prices. The upper floor houses (or used to house) the brotherhood of people originating from the island of Tinos (hence the name).

58 Alexandras has an impressive billboard full of mean looking characters, as it's an internet cafe and game zone. There are many narrow streets to your right and as the sun shines through the grey alleys you may catch some interesting views, like the one below towards Strefi Hill.
Graffiti in a narrow alley near Exarcheia
View towards Strefi Hill from Alexandras Avenue
Soon after, you reach a long strip of greenery that goes on for a couple of blocks on your right hand side, which is the Plateia Argentinis Dimokratias (Argentine Republic Square). It has, appropriately, a statue of Argentinian General Jose de San Martin at the upper end and a statue of the founder of the Greek Scouting movement, Athanassios Lefkaditis, at the lower end. These are no "sights" by any means, but I thought you might be curious to know about them if you've ever been a Scout ...or an Argentinian! The last Athens mayor surely wanted us to know, as the statue of Lefkaditis, erected in 1967, has an additional white marble plaque glued on it with the name of the 2008 mayor...! That was probably the last time this statue was cleaned and I wouldn't be surprised if City Hall threw a cocktail party to celebrate their achievement!

Plateia Argentinis Dimokratias - Bust of Athanassios Lefkaditis, founder of the Greek Scouting movement

Plateia Argentinis Dimokratias - Playing dominoes 
Plateia Argentinis Dimokratias - Kids playing around a fountain

Plateia Argentinis Dimokratias - Bust of  Argentinian General Jose de San Martin 

Plateia Argentinis Dimokatias (to the left) and Alexandras Avenue, looking back towards Patission St.
Next is an interesting apartment building, across the street, with something like a "roof garden" or "green roof" or whatever you want to call it. I probably wouldn't have noticed it if I hadn't been out shooting pictures for the blog.
Athens block of flats with roof greenery - Alexandras Avenue
I'll end this first part with an unusually interesting graffiti found above a gas station, right after Plateia Argentinis Dimokratias.
Athens graffiti above gas station - 100 Alexandras Avenue
For the second part of Leoforos Alexandras make sure you come back in a week [click here for part 2].

Why don't you follow me on twitter?

No comments:

Post a Comment

This is where you leave your messages / comments. Any and all feedback is most welcome and appreciated!