Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Athens - summed up

Athens stuff that didn't fit in yesterday's already monstrous post ... 

Shop for: shoes and jewelery. More shoes than you can possibly imagine, changing with each season. Gorgeous. Start at Syntagma square and walk all the way down to Monastiraki, window shopping. If you are looking to spend some very serious money, head up to Kolonaki.

Order: (tough to narrow down because the food is all excellent)

gigantes (giant white beans cooked with a carrot-tomato sauce - my personal fave)
kolokithokeftedes (zucchini fritters - I have no words to describe them, really)
gyro me pita (the classic meat in a pita. Note that most restaurants don't serve this for a sit down meal because it's street food, easily eaten while walking around - please order the pork or maybe the chicken and avoid the weird processed meat version you'll find in some touristy areas. If you order and the guy pauses with the pita in his hand and asks you something, just nod. He wants to know if you want everything on it. You do.)
katifi (the shredded filo cousin to baklava, insanely delicious when it's done right, available in bakeries, when they feel like making it)

Drink: house wine (rose for summer) in a carafe, cheap. Alpha over Mythos if you're going for beer. Vergina and Keo are other excellent choices but almost never available in the city.

To get around: Walk. And walk and walk and walk. Downtown Athens is not large. Figure out where you are staying and then orient yourself based on the hills. Lykavittos is over to one side and the Acropolis is down at the other. If you get lost, look for a clear view and then aim yourself in roughly the right direction. You'll get there eventually. Take the metro at least once, because it's beautiful. If you must take a cab, make sure the meter is running (the only destination where you need to agree on a flat rate is the airport) and don't get discouraged if you get rejected by a few cabdrivers before you find one willing to take you to your destination.

P.S. I am always happy to talk about Greece. If you have any questions, any time, get in touch and I'll do my best to answer. I'm best with Athens, but I know a bit about most other places as well.


  1. i am so insanely jealous. i did live in astoria for awhile (nyc's greekville) and i adored the culture and food. i cannot WAIT to visit!!!

  2. Wow. What a great trip! I have always wanted to go to Greece. I think maybe next summer I will meet my sister in the Greek Isles. Have you done those?

  3. ooooo I love gigantes!! My mom came today and brought a huge bag to make yay!!

  4. It sounds like you are having a grand all sounds very glamorous (especially the part about eating gyros on the street...we just don't have enough street food here in California).

  5. did you know that trader joes carries gigantes in a jar...delish even to eat straight out of the jar.

  6. i wanna goooo...... :(

  7. it sounds wonderful! look forward to my holidays

  8. that would make a good blog sidebar, wouldn't it? "things i'll talk about at length at all times, with gusto." mine would be, hmm:

    david bowie
    novelty candy

    not quite a "likes" list or a "jeopardy categories at which i'd excel" list. close, but there's more teenage love in this kind.

  9. I love Greece, but never have been. I would really love to go soon! Sounds amazing!

  10. RE: Order
    I want to add skordalia because I'm sure you meant to add it to your list...didn't you?
    Your posts have brought me to tears. Alas, I am not in the Athens airport with a suitcase in which to cry. But if I were, I'd turn back and live on lentil soup, cheap wine and skordalia forever.

  11. Love comment number 10!! :)

    You have single handed-ly bumped Greece on my "Must travel to" list. Great advice and great photos! Thanks for sharing your wonderful trip. I can't wait to get there and take in the beautiful sites for myself.

    P.S. I think I did okay with most of the pronunciation of the Greek names (or at least I imagine I "said" them right) but how do you pronounce "gigantes"? Just wondering.

  12. Meant to say "bumped Greece UP on my 'Must travel to' list."

  13. @ galleryofheart - gigantes is pronounced gee (rhymes with me) - gant (like gaunt) - tez (rhymes with pez) and the accent is on the end of the word. I'm terrible at explaining pronunciation, but hopefully that helps!

  14. Greece sounds wonderful. It is on my list of places to go. For now I will live vicariously through you.


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