OPINION

A dream

…Wasn’t that the «pre-Olympic dream» of the Athenians? To create a city with state-of-the-art high-speed ring roads and modern and efficient means of public transport which remain faithful to their timetables, thus attracting most Athenian commuters? To ensure that major roads are free of parked cars, that traffic flows smoothly, that junctions do not get clogged up? That there is less pollution, noise and angst? Just a few days before the launch of the Olympic Games, the image of the capital appears to have been transformed by the massive junctions and four-lane highways, the suburban railway and the tram, the new metro stations, the renovated urban electric railway, and the new Olympic sports venues. It all paints a picture of the calmer, more aesthetically pleasing and more organized Athens we have often dreamed of. The image of an upgraded capital – with citizens and cars moving around in harmony, almost silently, even magically – is genuinely moving. But if we take a step closer to reality and, for example, approach the nearest tram station, this magical image suddenly disappears and is replaced by a more familiar reality of endless waiting, pushing, clogged-up crossings, chaos and disappointment. The more optimistic maintain that it is early days yet and that in time things will improve… Let’s hope so.