Ottoman Dandy

Feeling the antiquity in Athens…

Firstly, when I arrived in Athens, I regretted not coming before because the flight from Istanbul took only one hour and ten minutes. I stayed only one night, I wish I could have stayed more as it is really worth to visiting surrounding places. Athens is a typical mediterranean city; narrow streets, old art-deco buildings, stiff food smell (mainly souvlaki), street vendors, siesta time and tavern culture with live music (there are really talented virtuosos who play so well buzuki,oud, kemenche or even guitar). The economic crisis has its affects; you can read this on people’s faces but still there was some revival maybe thanks to summer.

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The main thing I noticed is that Greeks are very keen on history; this must be a passion. Everything in Greece has a history behind, almost anything you touch is historical somehow. There are also many antiquary shops; I’d advise buying some engravings and old maps.Hands down, they conserve well the monuments; the country has a huge archeology culture. Β I mean this is more than Akropolis; this is the land where many of today’s Western notions were born; like democracy and philosophy…

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As for the cuisine, it goes without saying that in that part of the world you can’t eat bad food. Olive oil is the biggest asset; the best comes from Crete and Lesvos islands. I again advise eating seafood as the Aegean sea is blessed with the best octopus, calamari and tsipura fish (dorada).Β Greeks are also good at sweets and pastry.

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There is also a tradition of fine craftsmanship. I was astonished by the number of shops that sell Orthodox Iconas which are really artistic pieces. Orthodox christianity is very strong in Greece. Byzantine designs are also attractive and you can see them engraved or imprinted on many items…Time does not run fast in Greece like in other hectic parts of the world; this is charm and spell of the time that calls you to visit over and over again, because you know that you’ll find the same place, same corner, same tastes forever…

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