“Closed my eyes. When no one was talking, it gave me the illusion that I was back in Taipei.”
In one of the postcards for my friends, I wrote down the sentence. Yes it is. It’s my first time to Athens, a place I’ve been dreaming for so long, however, and I got such a weird impression. The hot weather, yellow taxis all around the city, high and low concrete buildings, all these seemed to be far from what I’ve imagined. However, unexpectedly, a sense of friendliness where I could find nowhere in Europe was there. Strangely, for me who am far away from my homeland, it’s giving me a comforting feeling.
Really… when I closed my eyes, I was back in Taipei.
Many old buildings were destroyed to provide space for new constructions in the 70s in Athens, in response to housing needs.
When Mirto and I visited the Venice Biennale of Architecture in 2002, she’s come to Italy for her study and didn’t go back to Athens for a while. When we entered the Greek pavilion, she was impressed. “They are so honest! Look, it is exactly how Athens look like.” Concrete buildings all around without planning and order, it was such a shock for me.
After I arrived Athens, surprisingly, I’ve found a very familiar and friendly feeling in such a foreign place for me. Athens gave me a big hug. Walking in the crowd, I didn’t feel lonely though I was all by myself. Instead, I seemed to walk in downtown Taipei.
Getting lost can be fun during a trip.
Plaka is the most preserved area in Athens. This is an area full of tiny little streets. Due to its popularity and the tourism industry, many places are converted into shops and restaurants. However, if you turn towards a less popular area without too many shops around, the quietness can still be found and enjoyed. You turn to see a charming corner of town, or raise your head to discover a beautiful window. Under the sun, I wandered in this old part of Athens. All by myself, I enjoyed the fun of getting lost.