Beautiful young things they are too. At risk of sounding stalkeresque, I’m enthralled by the fashion parade going on before me: girls wearing playsuits and harem pants – and actually looking good in them!
Having spent the day wandering around the Monastiraki district, I’m not surprised by the laid-back chic of the Greek fashionistas: it’s a shopping mecca.
In among cafés serving sublime iced coffee, the labyrinthine backstreets house boutique stores offering a colourful array of on-trend T-shirts, statement jewellery and fashion-conscious designs.
Go when the flea market is in full swing and you’ll also find stalls hawking everything from antique lamps to backgammon sets via knock-off CDs and customised sandals.
Pound the pavement
Despite the Greek penchant for late-night partying, the next morning I’m up early (well, 9am) for a walking tour of the city.
Our first stop is, oddly, Syntagma Metro station. Built for the 2004 Olympics, the Athens metro is an archaeological exhibition in its own right, with ancient artefacts discovered during excavation on show at the stations, and cutaway sections revealing the foundations of buildings long since crumbled into dust.
Then it’s out into the bright sunshine of the city’s main square, and from there to the shady, meandering streets of Plaka, the old town. A Byzantine church here, a statue of Lord Byron there, Turks, Venetians, Greeks, Romans – there’s so much history it’s enough to make your head spin.
But none of it impresses like the Acropolis, rising sheer above the city and topped with the unmistakable silhouette of the Parthenon.
Even crawling with tourists and baking in the midday sun, the rocky outcrop with its marble columns and statues is a staggering reminder of the power of Ancient Greece and the ravages of passing time.
in the name of research
Having indulged in a siesta, I feel it’s only fair to investigate Athens’ other hotspots before hitting Synch again – for research purposes, obviously.
First up it’s dinner at Mikrolimano, a smart marina lined with seafood restaurants and lively tavernas. Next stop is the Hilton’s Galaxy Bar, where we down a couple of mojitos while taking in the sweeping view across the hazy city to the Parthenon, floodlit as the sun dips behind the Acropolis. The bar is a popular celeb hangout, and another great place for people watching.
Then it’s back to Gazi for more tunes under the velvet sky.
Forget Glastonbury – who needs gumboots and a brolly when gladiator sandals and shades will do?
» Claire Goodall travelled with Aegean Air (0871 200 0040). Flights from Stansted to Athens start from £69 one-way.