Athens Vacations

Athens Vacations

THE PLEBS’ GAMES

The Olympic Committee might be keener on advertising VIP packages to bring in the big bucks,sbut there are bargains to be foui d when it comes to the 2004 Olympic Games. One of the most exciting and historically significant events on the schedule, the Athens 2004 Marathon, will be entirely tzamba (free). After a 108-year hiatus, the Olympic Marathon will return to Greece to follow the original Marathon route, forged by heroic Phidip-pides in 490 BC.

To witness the event, find a spot anywhere alongside the runners’ path, from a little after where they begin to a little before the finish line. While some pay to watch at the Marathon Finish line and others pay to watch the Marathon’s three-second start, anyone willing to wait has the option of viewing the runners from any vantage point along Phidippides’ original path. You could even run on the sidewalk alongside your favorite star to share in their agony or lend a little support.

The women’s race begins at 6pm on August 22nd; the men’s at 6pm on August 29th. The road cycling (men’s Aug. 14 12:45pm; women’s Aug. 15 3pm) and sailing (in 14 sessions on Aug. 14-26 and 28) events can also be viewed free of charge.

tling docks of Piraeus, the Peace and Friendship Stadium (SEF), is a graceful oblong edifice with gently sloping sides. It will be, like the Olympic Stadium, a one-sport stop. The newly renovated stadium, which has been around since the 1980s, is scheduled to host the main volleyball event for a crowd of

14,000 fans (Aug. 14-23; finals Aug. 24-29). Renovations are expected to be complete in December

2003. The brand-new Sports Pavilion (FSP) can handle up to 8000 spectators for the handball preliminaries (Aug. 14-24) and Taekwondo events (Aug. 26-29). Construction will be completed by early 2004. Right in front of the sea, the sleek, new Olympic Beach Volleyball Stadium (BVF), will host 10,000 beach volleyball fans (Aug. 14-21; finals Aug. 22-25). (Take tram line 1 from Zappeio; switch to tram line 2 at the junction on Poseidonos and continue in the opposite direction to the last stop (Neo Faliro). Alternatively, take Metro green line 1 toward Piraeus and get off at Faliro.)

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