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Now that the Christmas and New Year holidays have passed, it’s time to start planning for your Spring break holiday in Greece.  Spring is a fabulous time in Greece, and the lent season brings all sorts of activities for visitors to enjoy. One of my favorites is the annual ascent to Philopappou Hill: Athenians of all ages, families, groups of friends, head to the hill with kites and baskets full of picnic goodies. (As the photo gallery shows below, Athenians find other places to fly their kites, including the Square in front of the Old Olympic Stadium, but my favorite is still Philopappou Hill.

On Monday March 5, 2012, Clean Monday or Kathera Deftera, on Phillopappou Hill – from 11 AM until 3 PM, the city of Athens usually hosts its annual Clean Monday celebration featuring traditional music and Greek dancing.  The city doesn’t announce the actual plans until a few weeks prior, but I’m guessing it will be as its been in previous years.  No matter, whether or not there is a city sponsored activity, there will be plenty of people out enjoying “Clean Monday”, the official start of Greek Orthodox lent.

The area just beyond the Acropolis, accessed via cobblestone paths across from the Acropolis parking area, comes alive with activity on this day and if you are in the process of planning your Greek vacation in the spring, I’d add this as a must-do if you are looking for a chance to experience a special day in Greece.

I’ll keep up to date on any official announcements the city of Athens makes for their plans for Kathera Deftera / Clean Monday on Philopappou Hill.  But regardless of whether they sponsor the dancing and music, you can be assured that the Greek people will be there with their own music and somewhere on the hill someone will spontaneously break out in dance or song (in true Greek form!).

Of course the real star of the day will be the “kite” – hopefully scheduled to appear in the skies above the Acropolis.


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By Athensguide

How does a little girl from Skokie, Illinois find herself in historical Athens, leading curious explorers through the winding streets of Plaka, down "pezodromos" to hidden ouzeries for tempting mezedhes and homemade barrel wine? The journey began more than twenty years ago, and regardless of whether the wanderlust comes from the spiritual and culture DNA flowing through my veins, or the alignment of the stars on that cold mid-December day this Sagitterian came into the world, I never seem to tire of exploring my adopted homeland of Greece. Here you'll join me as I explore Athens: be it the back streets of Psirri and Gazi, or through the National Gardens and Zappeio where a family of turtles makes their home, or down wide, treelined Imittou Street in Pagrati, which pulses with Athenian life 24 hours a day. And while Athens has stolen my heart, the rest of Greece vies for my curiousity and wanderlust. My two guys (that'd be the Greek God, Vasilis and our Greek dog, Scruffy) and I can often be found settling in for a long weekend in some charming mountain village, or a quaint fishing port on a nearby island, or learning how Greek vitners are producing wines that rival some of Napa Valley's finests productions, or celebrating a panayeri in Epirus or sharing in the festivities as a family of Cretan sheepherders come together to sheer their 1500 sheep in the spring ... And if you happen to find yourself heading to Athens, consider finding yourself a real home for your stay. Living amongst the locals, be it for 3 nights or 3 weeks, will offer you the chance to experience true Athens, beyond the Acropolis. Choose from one of our 5 beautiful penthouse and historical homes, and who knows, I may be leading you down that winding "pezodromo" to our favorite hidden ouzerie!