Athens 2006: …it's in the air!

by Sietse Bakker 80 views

Today and tomorrow, the finishing touches are being put in place at the Olympic Indoor Hall, where the first journalists from all over the world will start working as from tomorrow on. Unfortunately for them (and for us!), the Athens metro and bus services will be suspended throughout the day due to a public transport strike. Shuttle busses from all official hotels, the EuroClub and the venue will become operational on Thursday, when the participants will start rehearsing at the venue.

From the city centre (Syntagma, Omonia or Monasteraki) it takes about 40 minutes to get to the venue by metro. Although it's quite some time, it's worth doing it at least once. As soon as the metro comes out of the underground and sees daylight, you can see old and brand new metro stations passing, you can see the diversity of the suburbs of Athens and you get to see the entire Olympic centre of Athens as soon as you stop at Irini station, where the venue is located.

Accreditation centre
From Irini's metrostation it takes about 10 minutes to cross the giant Olmypic complex to reach the venue. At the accreditation centre, right next to the venue's car park at the back, things are going pretty much the Mediterranean way. Although not everything is entirely ready to welcome hundreds of journalists at once, everyone knows what to do and it's only a matter of completing the last preparations before everything is entirely ready.

Inside the venue
At the venue itself, security measures are being put in place, while hundreds of technicians are working on the greenroom, broadcast facilities and dressing rooms. The press centre, which is "huge" according to the first journalists who got a guided tour from a group of friendly volunteers, is ready to receive more than 2,000 journalists from all over the world.

Click here to check out today's photo gallery of the venue!

Sightseeing
At the Acropolis, which is not only an 'obligatory' site to visit during a stay in Athens, but also provides a great view over the giant city of Athens and it's suburbs, we see the first common faces in the Eurovision Song Contest; Andre Vermeulen, commentator for Flemish broadcaster VRT, along with our colleague Olivier Vanhoutte from eurosong.be, as well as several people from OGAE Germany. At the ticket box office, the ladies are more than curious what our Eurovision Song Contest badges say. In a few days they will see a lot more than those few! The Eurovision Song Contest is everywhere, from banners and billboards to magazines and on the radio.

Back at the headquarters
Down the Acropolis hill, at Mitropouleos Street, a car suddenly stops right in front of us. It's no one less than Zeljko Joksimovic, who wrote and composed this year's Bosnian entry, with his team. After a joint dinner (or was it lunch?), the metro brought us back to Megaro Moussikis, where the esctoday.com headquarters are located for the upcoming two weeks.

Click here to check out today's sightseeing photo gallery!

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