Friday 16 December 2016

athens central

Our trip to the Christmas bazaar meant a short walk through the central Athens Syntagma Square and on up through the National Gardens.

Syntagma (Constitution) Square on one side of the road.  Now in peaceful Sunday outing-with-the-family mode.  This is often the scene of fierce fighting, stone throwing and skirmishes between police swat teams and local hooligans (koukoulofori - hoodie-wearers)

On the other side of the road Parliament buildings and the Evzone guards who stand at attention next to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

Evzone Guard in front of the memorial to the Unknown Soldier.

This is one of the soldiers of the elite Presidential Guard.  On Sunday at 11am they hold a ceremonial changing of the guard and the Evzones (guards) wear traditional dress, the skirt of  400 pleats (some say, to represent the 400 years of slavery under the Ottoman Turks) and the red clogs with black pompoms.

We walk on through the koulouri sellers (sesame roll)

The sesame roll so loved by greeks for a snack usually in the morning but at any time for a cheap tasty take away

And the sellers of hot baked chestnuts.  A few chestnuts are plopped into the cone of paper and you walk away with  hot chestnuts to peel and chew.  In the summer time they will be selling grilled cobs of corn.

A few metres along we can turn into the tranquility and beauty of the National gardens, down this aisle and through the row of beautiful palm trees below

Ending up outside the Zappeion where the Prime Minister meets his foreign visitors and gives press conferences.  We went in to use the toilets.  

On our way home we go back to Piraeus by metro.  When the Athens metro was being dug archeologists worked along side the engineers.  They dug up thousands of ancient artifacts and many of them are displayed behind glass at the Syntagma Square Station.

We've been into the big city twice in one week.  I got my big-smoke dose for 2016.


  1. Sounds like a great day out in the capital.

    Are there many English or Irish bars where you live?

  2. Poros used to have an Irish bar in the golden days of tourism in the 80s..called the Irish bar! Very popular. There are a few in Athens. Never been to them but heard one is always full of expats. Great beer and food....and music I'm guessing.

  3. I want to visit Athens for one of my winter breaks. I have to drink in a sports bar or an Irish bar like Dave. I can always find them!

    1. You find an Irish bar, you find friends who speak the same 'language' wherever you are in the world.

  4. I would love to come back and spend Christmas with the family just once
    The last time we visited. About five years ago, it was late August and still hot
    But the smell of the koloura triggered so many memories. I couldn't help but tell my aunt that I remember her buying them for me when I was very young. So she instantly got me one lol
    Would love to check out the subway. Catch a train and see some history. Lovely!

  5. Xmas in Greece with your greek family I am sure would be a visit you'd never forget. The family would gather you up and make sure you were in the centre of all the celebrations, xmas and reunion wise! Just make sure you're rested and ready to go when you arrive and have at least a week to recouperate when you return home!!