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With boats arriving from the likes of Venice, Ancona, Bari and Brindisi - Patras is quite often the first port of call for many people visiting Greece. It was certainly the case for me and I found it to be a relatively nice introduction to the Hellenic nation.
For some reason, I'd never bothered to learn the Greek alphabet and it's a little bit frustrating because I knew and know the Cyrillic one which has many similar letters, some of which are different. I was heading to Athens from Patras, so even a simple google for Athens in Greek is easy enough to familiarise yourself with the train timetables at the station.
I arrived in Patras at about 10am and around four hours to kill before boarding the train to Athens, sitting in the quaint and rather quiet train station would have been a bit of a waste of time so despite having a heavy bag, I set out to explore the town.
Patras is actually a city and it's relatively big with more than 300,000 people, it's been getting a lot of coverage lately due to illegal immigrants setting up shanty towns on its outskirts, none of this though was visible when I visited. The town was quite built up with plenty of mediterranean style flat blocks, as Greece's second port city, it's quite a busy place but that doesn't mean there aren't pockets of relaxation.
I found the port quite fascinating, watching what was going on etc and it didn't appear to me that patras was much of a beach destination but very much a working city. The Cathedral of St. Andrew's is the most notable building, it has around 10 domes including a big one on the top.
There are a lot nicer places in Greece to go, particularly if you head further south in the Peloponesse region, however there's enough to spend a few hours exploring in Patras whilst waiting for the train!