Greece Athens/Piraeus

Note:

We’ve never listed such things before on this website but it seems relevant here.

The crime level in Athens is astronomical. Pick pockets are rife on the transit system.

Friends we know who have fallen foul of this system include:

  • retired man  – all documents stolen on metro (cash, identity cards, passports, tickets)
  • elderly retired couple – mugged and left on metro platform, all documents stolen (cash, identity cards, passports, tickets), spent the next 6 weeks back on boat getting documents re-issued, police “could no nothing although they knew who the perpetrators were” despite security cameras capturing the complete event
  • retired couple who caught pick-pocket in wife’s purse on metro, called police, couple were held for 3 hours by which time the pick-pocket had been released without charge
  • retired woman pick-pocketed on metro – wallet with bank card and cash taken
  • woman in crosswalk brushed by (i.e. almost hit by) car which had run red light with driver on mobile phone, 4 policemen were at the far end of the crosswalk with motorcycles and did nothing

THESE ARE ONLY THE PEOPLE WE PERSONALLY KNOW AND THE EVENTS OF ONE 6-MONTH PERIOD IN ATHENS.

Maringret has had nothing stolen in all these years of cruising and to witness such thievery (including to ourselves) is completely different from anywhere else we have been.

Athens has a population of 4 million people. There are lots of tourism guides available and so this does not try to be one. Instead we cover two things:

  • a yachtie’s guide to the transit of Athens
  • a yachtie’s guide to the chandleries of Athens

If you think they are unrelated then you haven’t try either in Athens.

We are going to try and combine the two using KML/KMZ files as Athens addresses can be real brain twisters. Well, we just found out WordPress doesn’t allow us to provide KML or KMZ files for download. So this puts us on Plan B, which isn’t yet obvious…

Transit

The Athens transit system is one of the aspects of the city that functions the best. It is chaotic to determine where the busses go as the busses often go from area to are where one or both areas are residential locations and not focal points for business or interchanges with the metro. As of 2017 the transit system is converting to a electronic card based system – it was due to go live as of January 1st but as of February is still not installed. At that point riding will be based on a machine readable card that can be topped up at various machines in stations. One distinction made is between busses and trollies (i.e. electric trolley busses). It’s the first city we’ve seen a distinction made and as Athens has busses that are propelled by diesel or electric , it leaves one confused as to whether they revert from a bus to a trolley bus when they raise their poles to the electric catenary. The tickets are integrated across the different modes and so you can get off and on as required on the same ticket (assuming it is valid for the period in which you are traveling).

  • for English language information on the Athens transit system, click here
  • for an Android App that displays the routes and schedules of the various transit routes (and works offline), click here

Chandlery

Most chandlery is concentrated in the Piraeus suburb of Athens. Although local chandlers on the islands may carry some stock, most large items are ordered from Piraeus. That does make it hard to see what you are ordering before you purchase, the catalogues are often non-existent and the online descriptions often outdated (or non-existent). We found that many chandlers in Piraeus also do not have stock on hand – it always seemed to be “in the warehouse” or “coming next week”. Chandleries in Greece are typically catalogue order operations with the sales staff often seeming to have little concept of what function the part will perform on a sailing boat. Many boat owners drive down to their boat for the season and load their cars up in their home country with boat parts. Others use online chandleries from their home countries (often saving 30% in the process).

Assuming one has arrived at the Pireaus Metro Terminus:

  • from the exit facing the water, turn left (south) and walk to “Dim Gounari” which is a major street running inland at 45 degrees and climbing up a hill. A lot of the chandleries were located between this street and the Metro terminus.
  • from the exit turn right and walk north along the edge of the harbour, turn left at the corner of the harbour and head west. The 4 or 5 streets located on the slight hill to the right as you walk west have various chandleries, industrial operations focussing on boats. There are also a couple of chandleries in this area. The businesses range from national mail order chandleries, to industrial operations (e.g. stainless workers) who specialise in the marine trade, to family run businesses selling chandlery and servicing life-rafts.
  • if you continue west, take a pedestrian bridge over the railway tracks, you will reach a Lidl food store.

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