Visitors to Athens usually come for the banquet of history, only to find themselves dazzled by the city's current state. Olympia and The Odeon of Herodes will whisper stories of days gone by, and the Acropolis Museum and Parthenon will jolt with a reminder of how many humans have gone before us. But all this ancient history hasn't stopped the Greek capital keeping up with modern times, it treads a careful line of holding onto the old whilst embracing the new. From watching the Arctic Monkeys in a nearby forest at Rockwave Festival to devouring the fried cheese dish of Saganaki on a sunny rooftop terrace, there's never a dull moment in Athens. The most concentrated example of the city's modern persona can be found in the neighbourhood of Gazi, a transformed industrial gasworks district offering pokey bars, boutique shopping and plenty of multicultural flair. And don't forget to time your trip with the city's Open-Air Film Festival, Art-Athina or International Comics Festival. Those keen to soak up Greek cuisine in Athens will not be left hungry, with hearty moussakas, spanacopita pastries and warming fish soups proving this country's culinary scene means more than souvlaki and salad. All of it best enjoyed under an umbrella beside an overflowing bush of pink bougainvillea in the Plaka area. Be sure to fill your to-do list with all the ancient monuments and archeological wonders of Athens. Just don't be surprised when it's the unassuming alleyways and chance encounters that see you truly connecting to the Greek capital.
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