Piraeus’ dismal image
Among all the good and positive things that have been done to improve the country’s major gateways, making them more efficient and more attractive, the port of Piraeus continues to stand as a glaring exception. I won’t go into the basic problems of its image, which will be addressed by the radical revamp that is being planned for the city, but with all the things that hurt the country’s reputation and are an insult to its citizens – every day, throughout the entire summer.
There’s nothing new about these problems. The traffic jams, the ugliness and the crush in the area between the Piraeus terminus of the electric railway and the port’s various gates is a constant cause of sadness and frustration. The ordeal hundreds of thousands of Greek and foreign travelers are put through is embarrassing, as they are forced to drag their suitcases across the filthiest imaginable streets with unreliable traffic lights, weaving their way between cars and buses blaring their horns, and past disgusting fences.
It was like this in 1990, in 2000 and in 2010 – and it is like this again this year. Noise, hassle, dirt. No one has yet appeared to say that until the ambitious revamp plan for the port comes to fruition, a temporary route needs to be created between the train station and the boarding gates that is halfway decent, that meets the rudimentary demands of common sense, dignity, functionality and self-respect – that has all the elements which are so sorely missing.
Not only does this mess do Piraeus an injustice, but also the country as a whole. But even more frustrating is the fact that despite so many mayors having come and gone, so many ministers, so many announcements by the tourism industry and so many private initiatives investing in the future, not one thought has been given to the blight this situation is on tourism. Travelers to and from the islands of the Aegean who have no choice but to take this route, know. They know what all the big shots don’t because they’ve never made this specific journey. They have never had to drag their suitcase from the train platform to their ferry departure gate.
The dismal state of this route is useful, however, because it forces us to be realistic, to look beyond the facts on paper to the facts on the street, to learn self-awareness and humility – in the absence of self-respect.
Source : Nikos Vatopoulos Σύνδεσμος