26 March 2015

Athens Alive

Sorry, Athens, but I'm going to say out loud what we both know -- you are not a handsome city overall. The 5-year economic crisis has taken its toll in chipped concrete and dirty sidewalks. Though yes, it's true your metro system is spotless, the stations and the trains, which run right on time. Bravo to whomever decided the metro is a priority in rebuilding this 3000-year-old city. And your taxis -- cheap and always just a hand-wave away. 

Bravo most of all to the brave Athenians, who remain welcoming and charming, rejuvenated by their new handsome young prime minister, who refuses to wear a tie even when locking horns with Frau Merkel. How could she resist him? In Greece, one minute you're strangers, the next it's like this. 

During lunch in the Monastiraki neighborhood these people saw me admiring their choices and immediately insisted we taste their pork in tomato sauce and their fava bean purée. They also shared their tsipouro, a clear Greek spirit like grappa, and we likewise shared ours. We can't wait to taste the olive oil they make at Hellenic Food.

Monastiraki's narrow lanes are a modern-day souk selling everything from tourist schlock to authentic antique treasures.

With great places to eat and drink everywhere. 

 And provocative galleries.

After lunch we crossed Ermou St. and rediscovered our fave little quarter in Athens -- Psirri.

Some stunning graffiti here; these artworks all next to each other on one block

Now we're home, all too soon. But you never leave Athens behind entirely.

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