THE OLD ATHENS METRO
We used to
call it 'the train to Pireaus' or the 'subway',
even though there's only 3 or 4 stops that are
actually underground. But the giant moles (known
in Greece as the Metromouse) they used to dig the
English Channel Chunnel have been hard at work
under the streets of the city, digging through
Now the new metro is up and running. You
click here and to read my review of Athens new
see the photos of the most beautiful metro station
in the world at Syntagma square, or you can
continue reading about the intrigue of collecting
info about the new metro.
The original metro was useful for getting from Monistiraki to the ferries in Pireaus, or going in the other direction to the cool breezes of Kiffissia. On the way there are stops at the new Olympic Stadium, the town of Amaroussi, and you can even take it to Omonia or Victoria Square. To get to the metro just go to the construction site that used to be Monistiraki Square. It's the building with the clock. After buying and validating your ticket in the machine or by human being, go down the stairs on your right and get off at the last stop. If you walk straight out the front door of the station the Ferries to the Islands are directly in front of you.
A True Story of Travel Writer EspionageTime was running out. I scanned the crowd for any face that might possibly be that of the mysterious woman we knew only as Ana. I looked at my partner, David Willett, as unlikely a partnership as Nick Nolte and Eddie Murphy in '48 Hours'. David was employed by Lonely Planet and was in essence 'the competition'. His writing on Greece rivaled my own in both knowledge and wit, and the millions he was being paid by 'the corporation' gave him an unfair advantage in the battle to provide the travelers of the world with information about the country. But Ana had made it very clear that we were both to meet with her if we wanted her to pass the information that she had taken from the top secret vaults of the Athens Metro. At first I had protested. Ana knew of my reputation and that I always worked alone. But the same could be said of Mr. Willett, were it not for the minions who answered only to him as they scoured the islands, cities and countryside of Greece, picking up bits of information, none of which was considered too insignificant for Lonely Planet. And now our fates were inextricably bound together from that first moment when in a state of drunken revelry we vowed to get our hands on the secret plans that this mysterious Ana was supposedly bringing to us.
But now there were complications. I had a boat to Sifnos to catch. My family was waiting and if I were not back at the hotel soon they would be suspicious and come searching for me. Were they to find me cavorting with the enemy I would be disgraced, unable to look them in the eyes again. I thought of my daughter trying to cope with the taunts of her friends: "Your daddy gets his info from Lonely Planet!" It was too painful to think about. Even if it were slightly true.
Finally I could wait no longer. I looked David in the eyes. Could I trust him? More importantly would Ana trust him to share the sensitive info with me, or would it be only for the privileged readers of Lonely Planet's Greece Guide? I had no choice. It was trust him or kiss my marriage goodbye. As we shook hands I detected a wry smile on his lips. Was it the look a gladiator has when he knows his opponent is beaten? Or was it a smile of friendship?
It was not until I returned to Athens a week later
that I had the answer. There waiting in my mailbox
at the Adams Hotel was an envelope with the
familiar emblem of the Athens Metro. In that
moment I knew that David Willett had come through.
With courage and cunning he had been able to do
what many before had tried unsuccessfully. And it
is because of his honor, his cleverness, and most
of all his friendship that I am able to reveal for
the first time
Secret of the Athens Metro.
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