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Lycabettus and Kolonaki

One of my first rides when I wanted to test the potential of the electric bike was to go to Lycabettus. I was there before on foot, on a motorbike and on a regular bike, but nothing felt like riding up with my eBike.

Some experts say that the name comes from the ancient Greek words LYKI and VANE which means the hill is the first to see the sunrise. Another opinion supports the name origins of the native hops (Lykiskos)

It was never green, it was a great planting effort in 1900 and also in 2008.In the first phase, the saplings were not able to grow because the goats ate on the hillsides. From there the shepherds came down and sold milk to the city.

Τhe ascent to the peak and the church of St. George is like freezing time. The hustle of the city suddenly stops. The short but steep road passes through pines, cypresses, eucalyptus, olive trees, locusts and rocks that strongly exemplify the age-old landscape that has dominated Athens for centuries.

At the top, which I arrived on the eBike much sooner than I expected, the view of the city is breathtaking. It is the second tallest hill in Athens with 280 meters altitude. I strongly  recommend visiting before sunset. From the café restaurants overlooking the bay of Faliro, the view is magical, I say it surpasses the sunset of Oia Santorini.

Riding down on the east road, take a look at the outdoor theater that was built in record time in the ’60s and symbolically put an end to the rock quarrying that was still going on from antiquity to modern times.

Kolonaki stretches at the south foot of Lycabettus. The name is due to an ancient pillar used by citizens over sacrificial sites and spells they made during an epidemic. After the evil was done, they put a pillar on top to hold it captive. The pillar is where the central square is today.

Kolonaki, due to its proximity to the former palace, in the 19th century became a district of wealthy and prominent bourgeois who wanted to be close to the palace. It still retains its glory and has been inhabited by great artists, writers, poets such as Elytis, Papadiamantis, Kazantzakis and others.

In the upper neighbourhood is the known-unknown reservoir (Dexameni). Part of the Hadrian Aqueduct in Athens, the reservoir has been supplying water to the city since antiquity, and part of its network was used until World War II. Today, though relatively abandoned, visitors can admire the ancient technology and see some new additions to the east. There lies a small hidden oasis of Athens.

In Kolonaki one can also visit the sturdy Monastery of Petraki surrounded by a cool courtyard with garden, patios and beautiful archaeological finds. Its history dates back to the 10th century but its name dates back to 1673 when the Peloponnesian doctor Petros Papastamatis became a monk and renovated the abandoned monastery.

A ride in Kolonaki does not end without a visit to the classic café at the square or the Dexameni, with the homonymous summer cinema. There are all kinds of commercial activities and shops in Kolonaki as well as haute couture brands. You will find places with Greek products and flavors, some of the city’s gourmet restaurants and traditional Athenian-style restaurants.

#athens #travel_blog

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