Visit to the Greek Maritime Tradition Park - George Averof Battleship Museum (pt.1)

Greece has always been a maritime nation, as its geographic location dictated, and you may check out a small sample of its maritime history at the "maritime tradition park"; a small port at the coastal area of Paleo Faliro / Flisvos which hosts a number of ships of historical significance. Chief among them is the "Georgios Averof Battleship"; an armored cruiser built in 1911 which has played a pivotal role in establishing Greek sovereignty over the Aegean Sea and has been turned into a museum since 1984.

George Averof Battleship, as seen from the street at the Maritime Tradition Park, Paleo Faliro, Greater Athens area, Greece
The ship was built in Livorno, Italy in 1908-1911 and was the admiralty ship of the Greek Navy for 30 years. More than a third of its cost was covered by the fortune of the late Greek benefactor Georgios Averof, on the condition that it would take his name, as it happened. An interesting twist in the story is that the ship had initially been commissioned by the Italian government, along with two similar ones but the 3rd order was cancelled and Greece, thanks to Averof's donation managed to make a bid for it and secure the purchase, before the Ottoman Turks could. It's worth noting that back at that time, Greece was only a small state, half the size of what it is today. During the Balkan Wars of the early 20th century and under the command of Admiral Pavlos Kountouriotis, son of an historic maritime family, the ship managed to single-handedly defeat the Turkish fleet in two sea-battles in 1912 and 1913 thanks to its superior speed and cannons. In 1941, the ship managed to escape the occupation of Greece by Nazi-Germany and, after undergoing some re-engineering work, also took part in WWII by patroling the Indian Ocean for the Allied Forces.
Statue of Admiral Pavlos Kountouriotis - Maritime Tradition Park, Paleo Faliro / Athens, Greece

The stern of the ship, as seen from the coast.
The ship was decomissioned in the 1950's and restored and turned into a ship-museum in the 1980's. It sits at Faliro bay for the last ~30 years  and can be visited every day except Monday. I can tell you that a visit here is really worth your time and can easily be combined with a walk in the coastal promenade of Faliro. I spent about an hour exploring the ship and if you're a history buff, intent on reading every single item on exhibition, you could easily spend just as more. Besides the deck there are 3 sub-decks and sections / exhibits of interest are scattered throughout the ship. There are explanatory signs in Greek and English and a short film (4-5 mins) in Greek about the history of the ship.

Deck of the George Averof Battleship

George Averof Battleship - Ship bell

George Averof Battleship - Non-Commissioned Officers' kitchen

George Averof Battleship - TV screening room and stairs taking you to the lower decks

George Averof Battleship - Lifebuoy

George Averof Battleship - Canons pointing to Faliro and the modern-day "Peace and Friendship Stadium"

George Averof Battleship

George Averof Battleship - Piraeus in the background

George Averof Battleship and other ships in the maritime tradition park, Paleo Faliro (Greater Athens), Greece

George Averof Battleship - Kitchen and tables listing sailors' portions and daily schedule

George Averof Battleship - Various uniforms of the past

George Averof Battleship - An amazing computing machine, for calculating distance to the target / enemy ship

George Averof Battleship - More from life in the lower decks

George Averof Battleship - Various Memorabilia

George Averof Battleship - Painting and various memorabilia

George Averof Battleship - More stairs, taking you even lower...

George Averof Battleship - Lowest deck open to visit. Mind your head here...

George Averof Battleship - Junior Officers' Room

George Averof Battleship - Admiral's Quarters

George Averof Battleship - Back up to the deck, with a view towards the "Marina Flisvou".

Stern of the George Averof Battleship at Paleo Faliro Bay, Greece

For the rest of the ships sitting in the Maritime Tradition Park read this.

Visiting hours: Tue-Fri:9:00am-2:00pm, Sat-Sun, Holidays:10:00am-5:00pm (update 2013-09-09)
Admission ticket: 2 Euros, Students: 1.5Euros, Free entrance for children younger than 6y.o. and people 65 and over.
Getting there: By tram: Trocadero Tram Stop (Tram Lines 3 and 4, departing from "Syntagma Sq.", "Peace and Friendship Stadium" and the southern suburb of "Voula"). 
By busOulen Bus Stop (Buses Β2 (departing from Panepistimio Metro Station), A1, B1, 217 departing from Piraeus). By taxi-cab: Get a taxi-cab from anywhere in Athens to minimize your travel time. The tram especially can be quite slow! (read comments below).

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A Greek book suggestion - Vassilis Alexakis

I was planning on writing a restaurant presentation today. I liked the concept of the restaurant (and still do), I liked the food (both times we've been to this place), I liked the waitresses' behavior. Yet, somehow the place managed to convey a kind of disrespect for clients; in several ways... I won't get into details; maybe I'll give it another shot in the near future.

For the moment, I think it's a better idea to provide a suggestion on a Greek book and a Greek author. Perhaps as an idea for some summer reading. Take a look at "Foreign Words"; the first (and so far the only) novel of acclaimed Greek-French author Vassilis Alexakis to be translated into English.

You may read the reviews and buy it from Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk. If you're a French-speaker there's a good chance you're already familiar with the work of Alexakis, but if not, I highly suggest checking him out.

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