Saturday, 3rd September 2022
Yesterday’s bakery breakfast was a cheap and satisfying way to start the day, so I made the same trip after waking up just before 8am. I brought the croissant and coffee back to the apartment to continue working on the YouTube video I’d started for Aegina. Unfortunately, I got so distracted with the video that I forgot to eat most of the croissant! By the time I’d realised, it had gone hard and wasn’t very nice.
It’s another travel day today: I’m leaving Agistri and heading back to the mainland, where I’ll be spending three nights in Piraeus until my girlfriend arrives on the 6th, and we head to the final island of my trip… can you guess where it is? During my time in Piraeus, I plan to visit central Athens, as it’s been on my Greece bucket list for a while now, and it seemed like the right opportunity to tick it off.
I had plenty of ferry options as there’s a regular service between the Saronic Islands and the mainland. 11:15 suited my plans, so I checked out of the apartment at 10:30 and wheeled my case to the port in search of a ticket office. As expected, there was a kiosk at the end of the harbour, and I had no trouble getting a ticket for the boat I wanted.
I waited in the shade until Marine Traffic indicated the boat was approaching the island, then strolled towards the end of the harbour as it docked. Many people were disembarking – being a Saturday; I suspect Agistri is popular with locals as a weekend getaway from the mainland. I waited patiently for the boat to empty, then boarded with a few other passengers.
The journey back to Piraeus took about 1:45 minutes, including a stop at Aegina, where loads more people got on board. The mainland port was as busy as ever, but I’ve been here a few times now and knew my way around. My accommodation in Piraeus, Achillon Hotel, was just a few blocks east of Gate 9.
Hotel and Piraeus
The hotel room was much nicer than I expected (check out the review here) and I quickly got settled in, including a refreshing shower to rinse off the travel sweat! I hadn’t planned much for the rest of the day, so I chilled out in the room doing more YouTube content work for a couple of hours.
I wanted to explore the local area and, more importantly, top up my caffeine levels, so I stopped working and set out to see what was around the hotel. On the receptionist’s advice, I turned left from the hotel, then left again to head southeast towards the Pasalimani region of Piraeus. I zig-zagged through the blocks on the lookout for a coffee shop and noted any restaurants I spotted on the way. Coffee Berry was the first place I found, but it looked nice and had very positive Google reviews, so I went in and ordered a takeaway latte and bought a couple of cookies as well to keep me fuelled until dinner as I’d not really eaten lunch due to the ferry timing.
I continued southeast into Pasalimani, eating and drinking as I strolled down the busy streets of Piraeus. It had been quiet around the hotel, but I could tell I was heading into a more popular area now. I reached the corner of the large marina, unsure where to go. To avoid crossing the busy road, I turned right and walked south around the water. I spotted a Chinese restaurant that looked promising as a dinner spot, and next door was a large supermarket. Realising I needed water and supplies for the next couple of days, I bought protein drinks, biscuits and a couple of large waters.
Before heading back to the hotel, I crossed the road that ran around the marina and headed north, where I spotted a pedestrianised area that looked to be filled with restaurants. Sure enough, there were many food options, so it seemed like an excellent place to return for an evening meal.
Dinner in Piraeus
I was back in my room by 6pm. After a brief rest, I showered and contemplated where to go for dinner: back to Pasalimani or find somewhere closer. A quick exploration on Google Maps revealed a restaurant called Kebab & Curry Indian Restaurant on the same street as my hotel, a few blocks further south. It had decent reviews, and it’s been a while since I’ve eaten a curry so I figured it would be a welcome change from the Italian cuisine of the past few days.
I have a terrible habit of eating early compared to most Europeans, so it was again today – I was showered and heading out by 7pm. Given the positive reviews of the restaurant, I expected it to be quite busy, but I arrived to find it empty. Slightly disconcerted but hungry, I went inside and was quickly seated and presented with a menu. I needn’t have worried though: the food was excellent. I had my usual starter of poppadoms and mango chutney, followed by a chicken jalfrezi with pilau rice and a large Mythos to wash it down.
Planning for Athens Sightseeing
Back in my hotel room and feeling suitably stuffed, I sat down to plan an itinerary for the next two days in Athens. I knew I wanted to see the Parthenon, but I wasn’t actually sure which other sights to visit or where anything was. Luckily, I found a combo ticket on GetYourGuide that covered the main attractions. As I had two days to explore, I decided to spread the attractions across both days: visiting the Acropolis tomorrow morning and two or three remaining sights, then using the rest of the combo ticket the following day.
Having read that it’s best to arrive early for the Acropolis, I set my alarm for 6:30 – the first time I’ve had an alarm in weeks – so I could get there with plenty of time for when it opened at 8.