(AllHipHop Features) If the Notorious B.I.G. would have lived, I think he would have sought solace in Athens, Greece. While in Greece, Biggie’s name came up repeatedly as I sparred Hip-Hop-ingly with my friend Jared Reeder, who also went on the excursion on the islands. Athens is different than the other islands we were privileged to visit. Athens is the big city. The population of the city and the surrounding area exceeds 3.75 million people and has the accompanying mixture of the human experience. Biggie would say Athens goes from Ashy to Classy.
It was all a dream (or felt like it).
I woke up in the finest hotel I have ever slept in: Hotel Grande Bretagne. Honestly, I find it difficult to call this magnificence a hotel, but it is not quite a palace. The hotel came equipped with a butler, Oozo (the highly popular liquor of Greece), a sink, tub and other facilities lined in gold, a couple chandeliers and other amenities of elegance. It may sound weird, but I felt right at home. I was well prepared to adjust to the overload of sophistication before me. (Pictures of the Hotel Grande Bretagne are below.)
The night brought us to the Island Club restaurant in Vari, right outside of Athens proper. Right on the water, it was the single most urbane and classy night I had during the stay in Greece. We dined as Royals with a bevy of dignitaries. The venue, on the side of a mountain, offered the perfect night for transferring ideas, fine dining and also great music. They didn’t play B.I.G. But, that’s ok. The soundscape fit the Island Club. Later that evening we’d take in more of the night, where I’m sure my white suit had me standing out like a rapper at a Klan rally. And, I was more than ready to stand out.
The next day, we were to visit the famed Acropolis and Parthenon of Athens. However, we had to do all the other touristy stuff first. Our gracious, lovely and brilliant host Greta took us to the museum and got a crash course on antiquity in Greece. For these artifacts, it was only fitting that I wore my favorite dashiki shirt for the festivities, due to the heavy influences of African people on the culture here. By this time, the majority of our peers had headed back to the states. So it was just Greta, my now-friend Doug Singer and myself for the last full day.
After we saw the artifacts at the Acropolis Museum, we ventured towards the magnificence of ancient Greek Culture. The Acropolis of Athens pre-dates Christ and is built on a massive, plateau hill overlooking Athens. The citadel, which spans over 7 acres, includes a number of ancient structures like the spectacular Parthenon. Truthfully, the experience is difficult to put into words.
Pictures, however, are much easier. In the immortal words of Christopher Wallace aka The Notorious B.I.G., "Its all good baby baby."
The Hotel Grande Bretagne epitomizes class and lavishness.
A mighty Acropolis.
The next episode, I will expand on the great graffiti and street art in Athens!