Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Athens, Olympics, and Stadia, Oh, My!

The news has been full of Olympic news lately, mostly with countries bowing out of bidding.
They have good, solid reasons for it.  It's an economic disaster for them. What a city needs to host this event bears limited relationship to what a city needs.
Take Athens, for instance.
Facilities built for the Olympics are unused and crumbling.
Interestingly, this stadium in Athens built thousands of years ago looks like it's ready to use.
2014-05-12 001 005
Thousands of years old and still in better shape than the stadia
constructed for the 2004 Olympics.

They money sunk into these sites could have gone to way better use like proper infrastructure, cleaning the city up, and getting a handle on its horrible stench.
I'm sorry, Athens. I love you, but you stink.
The Plaka (Old Town) I knew from the early 1980s is virtually unrecognizable today.  It is restaurant after restaurant after tourist trap.
I eventually found my way from Syntagma Square to some of my old haunts, but it was not the same. Not that it should be, of course, but it was crowded, filthy, and overbuilt.
I presume it was done in preparation for the influx of people for the games.  One cannot blame anyone for doing this.  Opportunity came and they jumped on it. Who wouldn't?
That said, the facilities built for then are a blight on the cityscape now. Athens has no need for them and there's no money for their upkeep. Unlike the ancient stadia,  these will likely never be historic sites.
They may serve as historical lessons,  but not the kind of site one dreams of seeing.
Meanwhile, (animal lovers please take a breath) the stray pussycat population of today in Athens is barely a whisper of what it was in the 1980s.
2014-05-12 001 123
Master and Commander
They were everywhere underfoot at the outside eateries back then. Today, they still come by, but I only saw two or three at a time. Thirty plus years ago one would spot a dozen without even trying.
On the good side, when the government tried to get rid of the stray dogs prior to the Olympics the people got upset. They banded together, adopted the dogs, and put collars on them. These dogs still wander, but they are fed and loved and very friendly.

CycladesNikon 260
Athens has gone to the dogs.


Bossy Betty said...

Interesting! Such a shame the facilities are not being used. So glad the doggies are fed!

Leah J. Utas said...

It is awful, Betty. This sort of false economic boon is not thought through.
Meanwhile, the dogs are having quite a day.