Digging away

Athens is currently in a veritable mess as it intensifies its efforts to prepare for the Olympic Games. Everywhere, teams of construction workers are digging holes, closing them up again only to reopen them again later on. Not everywhere exactly, but certainly in the parts of the city – in the «historical center» and the roads connecting the various Olympic venues – which are to be «showcased» next year. So, the digging continues on Voulis, Nikis, Apollonos, Mitropoleos, Kolokotronis, Ermou and Aeolou streets and on all their side streets. Last week, construction workers dug a ditch for a gas pipe on Ypereidou Street – a road just 100 meters long in central Athens – before promptly filling it in again. Next week, a different public utility firm will probably reopen it. Athens’s sidewalks have all but disappeared as cars park in the entrances to houses, and road surfaces resemble irregular mosaics with paving of various degrees of shabbiness. Meanwhile the entire «historical center» is drowning in earth and dust. Residents and passers-by alike are inconvenienced and stores suffer the financial burden. But we remain patient in the hope that something good will come of these plans. The refurbishment of Omonia Square has been a disappointment, but works on the metro, Ermou Street, Dionysiou Areopagitou and Apostolou Pavlou are a joy.

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