Thursday, February 9, 2012

Damien Hirst Spot Challenge: Quick Athens Spot Stop

I got the Athens spot today (yeah!) and I'm writing this from the Heathrow Airport Hilton, getting a little rest before my (hopefully) morning flight tomorrow to NYC to collect the last 3 spots on the challenge. 

Today was an interesting, full day.  The morning flight from Rome to Athens on Easyjet wasn't as bad as I expected, and Athens has an excellent Metro service from the airport to the center of town -- costs 8 Euro and takes about 30 minutes.  When you arrive at the airport, go out Exit 2 then take the elevator up to the upper level and follow the sky bridge to the train terminal.  There is a ticket window where you can buy your ticket.  The airport is the first stop so you don't need to worry about getting on the wrong train.

To get to Gagosian Athens, take the Metro to Syntagma Square.  It's 15 stops from the airport, and the train will be packed by the time you get there, so try to worm your way close to a door a stop or two before.  Sadly, the weather was cold and rainy -- miserable really -- so I just wanted to get the spot and head back to the dry warmth of the airport where I would catch my BA flight to London at 7pm.

When you exit the Metro Station and step out into the square, turn around and you'll see a big building up the hill ahead. 

That's the Parliament building and you head towards that (with the Hotel George on your left) and keep going on the road up the hill, passing the Parliament on your right. 

Today, as it happened there was another demonstration going on -- much smaller than the massive protests of a couple of days ago -- and there were riot police everywhere, so I didn't feel uncomfortable continuing up the road.  I discreetly snapped a couple of photos.

Merlin Street is a couple of blocks up, on the left.  It's a pretty little street lined with either red orange or tangerine trees. 

The gallery is located in #3 on the left.  Once again you need to ring the doorbell and you'll be buzzed in.  The gallery is small, but the not the smallest, and had a nice mix of spot paintings. 

The nice woman who helped me with my spot asked me which painting I wanted to stand in front of for my photo, and she said the one I chose is the one most people choose and that it's the best painting they have.

As you can see, I'm feeling pretty cold and wet here, but I was thrilled to get the last non-US spot, and I feel excited about heading home to the states tomorrow.  I've had a great number of wonderful experiences in this 10-day quest, but I will be glad to be home in the USA.  If all goes according to plan, I'll be toasting margaritas at Rosa Mexicana tomorrow evening!