Stay tuned to our new posts and updates! Click to join us on WhatsApp L&C-Whatsapp & Telegram telegram Channel
L&C-Silhouette Subscribe
The L&C-Silhouette Basket
L&C-Silhouette Basket
A hand-picked basket of cherries from the world of most talked about books and popular posts on creative literature, reviews and interviews, movies and music, critiques and retrospectives ...
to enjoy, ponder, wonder & relish!
Support LnC-Silhouette. Great reading for everyone, supported by readers. SUPPORT

Amazing Athens

July 25, 2020 | By

The historic city of Athens with its towering ancient monuments has an old world charm. Ramendra Kumar and his wife Madhavi give us a glimpse of the lively, awe-inspiring experience they had there.

Odeon of Herodes

Odeon of Herodes

When we stepped out of Athens airport we were greeted by an impeccably dressed man in formals who turned out to be our taxi driver. We got talking and learnt a bit about life in Athens.

I was in Athens to attend the 36th IBBY (International Board on Books for Young People) World Congress. With me was Madhavi, my lucky charm!

The city looked like any two tier Indian city – Pune or Vizag, except that the roads were far less crowded and cleaner. Forty minutes later we checked into our modest hotel and after a bite, decided to take a walk.

There were pedestrian crossings all over and the respect shown to people who were walking, was nothing short of awesome. One disconcerting note was provided by the two-wheelers who raced around at crazy speeds, with their silencers removed. The cacophony they created was the only dissonance in an otherwise near perfect ambience.

Next morning we were picked up from our hotel for a sightseeing tour of Athens. We headed straight for the Panathenaic Stadium.

Panathenaic stadium

Panathenaic stadium

“This is the only stadium in the world built entirely of marble. It is the finishing point for the Annual Athens Classic Marathon and also the last venue in Greece from where the ‘Olympic flame handover ceremony’ to the host nation takes place,” I told Madhavi. She turned to me, “I know. You are not the only person who dipped into Wiki before coming here.”

Our over-garrulous guide whose accent, if you didn’t follow very closely, was rather difficult to comprehend, was in full cry, “The Panathenaic Games were held in the stadium in the times when a single olive branch was the visitor’s most esteemed prize. Later the Romans polluted the game’s cultural identity turning a place of friendly rivalry into an arena for contests between men and animals. Over time the stadium went into decay. However, when Olympics were revived at the initiative of Baron Pierre De Coubertin, the Panathenaic Stadium was once again restored, and hosted the first modern Olympics in 1896.”

What I found most impressive in the stadium were the sparkling toilets. I decided to take a pic and send it to the Indian Government  requesting it to take the washrooms as one of the paradigms for India’s Swachha Bharat Campaign.

On the way to our next stop, the legendary Acropolis, our guide pointed out to a huge statue made of layered glass. Named Dromeas or The Runner, the statue is a tribute to the athlete who ran the original marathon.

At first glance the Acropolis turned out to be a cluster of monuments. It was built in the second half of 5th Century BC and dedicated to goddess Athena, whom the people of Athens considered their saviour. It is regarded as the most important surviving building of Classical Greece.

Acropolis Athens

A view from the Acropolis

As we walked up, I realised I should have been wearing sports shoes rather than the leather ones. The latter are okay for my daily encounter with the CEO, but to navigate the steps of the Acropolis I needed to be on a firmer footing. The time was around 12, the sun was unsparing, and the climb seemed almost endless. The crowd was thick, and with so many guides unleashing their wisdom in different languages, it was virtually  a Babel of voices.



We were taken to Parthenon which stands at the centre of the Acropolis. The Parthenon is regarded as a lasting symbol of Ancient Greece and thriving democracy and one of the world’s greatest cultural monuments. It is an impressive structure which is under restoration by the Greek Ministry of Culture.

I can’t resist quoting from our motor-mouth guide here, “From the most ancient of times Athena taught her citizens freedom, respect for human rights, belief in democratic principles. At times when a major part of the human community existed under the veil of intolerance and slavery, the Athenians enjoyed the advantages of a vibrant democracy.”

Porch of Caryatids

Porch of Caryatids

There are several other monuments such as the Temple of Athena Nike, Temple of Rome and the Roman emperor Augustus Octavius, the remarkable Porch of the  Caryatids which includes statues of maidens, the stone theatre which is called  Odeon of Herodes Atticus, et al. Each structure has its distinct mythology or history or  is a delightful  blend of both.

Our guide ‘kindly’ gave us a break for taking pics. One thing I noticed was the way the monuments were maintained. Even though the vagaries of war and weather had impacted the buildings, the average visitor had not disrespected them.

‘If Acropolis had been in India it would have been decorated with existential statements like ‘Munna loves Pinky’ embellished by some lewd graphics’, I thought wryly to myself.

By the time we reached terra firma we were bone tired and famished. A little respite was provided, as we were leaving the Acropolis, by a middle aged man who was selling cobs (bhutta). We grabbed two and dug into them. They were absolutely delicious – fresh, soft and juicy.



Our next stop was the Acropolis museum, which we were told is an award-winning repository, housing around 4,000 priceless artefacts found on the slopes of the Acropolis. These relics apparently are from the Bronze Age to the Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman periods. We got a chance to view an important archaeological site through the transparent floor and the floor-to-ceiling windows.

Acropolis Musuem

Sculptures based on Greek Mythology in the Acropolis Musuem

Finally, there was a change of baton and a young woman in her late twenties took us to Cape Sounio, our next destination. After a pleasant bus ride of around ninety minutes we reached the place.

Acropolis Athens

A view from the top of the Acropolis

“This is the “sacred promontory” of Sounio, as Homer called it in his Odyssey. On the highest point of this isolated Cape are the ruins of the Temple of Poseidon, which is one of the major monuments of the Golden Age of Athens. It is dedicated to the God of the sea in Greek Mythology,” our guide said, pointing to a structure of assorted columns.

Temple of Poseidon

Temple of Poseidon

We went up to the temple which was by no means impressive. However, the view from the top was breathtaking. The azure blue sea on three sides, with its placid waters punctuated by ripples – it was an awesome sight. If the sea could be surreal at six, this was it.

A view from the temple of Poseidon

A view from the temple of Poseidon

I went around exploring and sat on a rock, at the very edge and struck some cheesy Travolta poses, with Madhavi doing the honours with the camera.


Desi Travolta in pardesi setting!

We had an uneventful ride back to our hotel. Madhavi wanted to visit Plaka the downtown area famous for its quaint ambience. We then managed to locate an Indian restaurant: Indian Chef. It had a neat ambience, reasonable rates and great food.

We then walked down to Plaka which was close by. It was lined with coffee shops, restaurants offering more substantial fare and tiny establishments selling souvenirs. As we walked soaking in the ambience,  we heard a shout.

“Indian lady, Indian lady,” and two girls around 13 years of age came up to us and started singing, “Pardesi, pardesijaananahin…” in heavily accented Hindi. One of them was even playing a banjo in perfect sync.

I always wait for an opportunity to get Madhavi to sing and egged her on.

She sang a line and the girls exclaimed, “She sings so beautiful(ly) – she has a lovely voice.”

One of the girls tugged her arm, pleading her to join.

Finally Madhavi condescended to lend her voice to the balmy evening and the ‘international band’ belted out the chart buster – ‘Teri meri, meri teri, prem kahaani hai mushkil, do lafzon mein bayaana ho paye…..’

The global band

The global band

Later we chatted with the two pixies and came to know they are refugees from Albania and sing in the streets to supplement their family income. They saw a lady in a salwar and rightly guessing that she was an Indian started singing a Hindi song.

“Where did you pick up Hindi songs?” Madhavi asked.

“YouTube!” They declared.

We gave them a generous tip and they scampered off, impish smiles in place.

The next morning as we flew down to Santorini I refreshed the play back button. It had been a memorable day at Athens –  the city where  mythology and history, art and technology, east and west blend so seamlessly, where one could eat  Greek souvalakiand  Indian biryani and jive to the traditional Nisiotika as well vintage Bollywood. I could almost imagine Athens singing to us – ‘Pardesi, pardesi, janaan ahin…..hamein chodkar, hame chodkar….”

(Picture Credit: Madhavi Kumar)

More to read

The Old World Charm of Montreal and Quebec

The Kiwi Country: New Zealand

Aurora Borealis: Amazing Natural Illumination In Norway

Holiday Vacation – Europe Calling!

Ramendra Kumar (Ramen) is an award-winning writer, performance storyteller and inspirational speaker with 49 books. His writings have been translated into 32 languages and included in 26 textbooks and many anthologies in various countries. Ramen has written across all genres ranging from picture books to adult fiction, satire, poetry, travelogues, biographies and on issues related to parenting and relationships. His writings have been published by the major publishing houses in India. His books brought out by National Book Trust (NBT), India have notched up sales of more than 4.9 lakh copies in just one year. Ramen has been invited to several international literary festivals as well as Indian events such as Jaipur Litfest and seminars organised by Sahitya Akademi and IGNOU. The author has won a total of 41 awards in the competition for writers of children’s literature organised by Children’s Book Trust (CBT) over the years, which is among the highest by any writer. Ramen was chosen as the ‘Author and Storyteller of the Year’ (2022), on ‘Talking Stories’, London, UK’s number one Radio Programme dedicated to the art of storytelling. He was nominated as a Jury Member for the Best Children’s Author Category of The Times of India’s ‘Women AutHer’ Awards, 2020. Ramen was also selected as a mentor for the Scholastic Writers Academy. An alumnus of the prestigious Hyderabad Public School (HPS), Ramen is an Engineer & an MBA. He and his inspiration, his wife Madhavi, were General Managers at SAIL, when they took Voluntary Retirement to pursue their respective passions. Their children are bonsai celebrities in their own right. While Ankita is a youth icon and a travel blogger with an Instagram following of 296 K, Aniket creates cool Apps and designs covers for his dad’s books. Ramen is now a Cancer warrior and an inspiration to many. His website is and he has a page devoted to him on Wikipedia.
All Posts of Ramendra Kumar

Hope you enjoyed reading...

... we have a small favour to ask. More people are reading and supporting our creative, informative and analytical posts than ever before. And yes, we are firmly set on the path we chose when we started... our twin magazines Learning and Creativity and Silhouette Magazine (LnC-Silhouette) will be accessible to all, across the world.

We are editorially independent, not funded, supported or influenced by investors or agencies. We try to keep our content easily readable in an undisturbed interface, not swamped by advertisements and pop-ups. Our mission is to provide a platform you can call your own creative outlet and everyone from renowned authors and critics to budding bloggers, artists, teen writers and kids love to build their own space here and share with the world.

When readers like you contribute, big or small, it goes directly into funding our initiative. Your support helps us to keep striving towards making our content better. And yes, we need to build on this year after year. Support LnC-Silhouette with a little amount - and it only takes a minute. Thank you

Support LnC-Silhouette

Creative Writing

Got a poem, story, musing or painting you would like to share with the world? Send your creative writings and expressions to

Learning and Creativity publishes articles, stories, poems, reviews, and other literary works, artworks, photographs and other publishable material contributed by writers, artists and photographers as a friendly gesture. The opinions shared by the writers, artists and photographers are their personal opinion and does not reflect the opinion of Learning and Creativity- emagazine. Images used in the posts (not including those from Learning and Creativity's own photo archives) have been procured from the contributors themselves, public forums, social networking sites, publicity releases, free photo sites such as Pixabay, Pexels, Morguefile, etc and Wikimedia Creative Commons. Please inform us if any of the images used here are copyrighted, we will pull those images down.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Today’s Motivation

<div class=at-above-post addthis_tool data-url=></div>One should control one’s thoughts carefully so as to direct the life towards the positive and let our thoughts shape our life. One should think constructive and work towards it and should refrain from developing and nurturing negative thoughts.<!-- AddThis Advanced Settings above via filter on get_the_excerpt --><!-- AddThis Advanced Settings below via filter on get_the_excerpt --><!-- AddThis Advanced Settings generic via filter on get_the_excerpt --><!-- AddThis Share Buttons above via filter on get_the_excerpt --><!-- AddThis Share Buttons below via filter on get_the_excerpt --><div class=at-below-post addthis_tool data-url=></div><!-- AddThis Share Buttons generic via filter on get_the_excerpt -->
One should control one’s thoughts carefully so as to direct the life towards the positive and let our thoughts shape our life. One should think constructive and work towards it and should refrain from developing and nurturing negative thoughts.