Author: Athensguide

Celebrate Christmas in Athens with Music on the Move this Christmas and New Years in Greece

One of my favorite memories of Athens was strolling down Ermou Street several years ago just before Christmas and coming upon a group of classical musicians performing midway along the pedestrian street. Street musicians are common in Athens, from solo guitarists to the quintessential South American band that seems to appear in tourist destinations from Los Angeles to Chicago to London to Athens. But this particular group had something very special that sticks in my mind. As the music played, a beautiful voice carried the sounds of a lovely aria. As I approached the musicians, I was amazed to discover the source of this aria was a dark haired young boy, perhaps 6 or 7 years old. Basil and I were mesmerized by this talented young man, and we were pleasantly surprised to hear a rumor a few years later that this same talented child performed at the Athens Olympics. I don’t know where he is today, but I hope that as his voice has probably now “changed”, he has been able to harness his talent and continues to share his musical gift with the people of Athens. As you wander the streets of Athens, perhaps you, too, will have a chance encounter with him, although, if not, the city of Athens has seen to it that you will still find the streets filled with music this holiday season,...

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Christmas 2007 in Athens

It’s Christmas in Athens again, and once more the city will be awash in lights and celebration. While decorating began in November, along with a favorite Athenian pastime: shopping, the major downtown festivities begin this week. So, whether you currently live in Athens or are visiting Athens anytime in December through early January, here’s a schedule of what you’ll find and where to find it. The city has once again planned lots of activities for young and old alike, with a special emphasis on children and family fun, raising social awareness in the spirit of the holidays, and not forgetting to plan an “adult” celebration at is rumored will be one fabulous holiday party on Christmas Eve, December 24, at Technopolis, the renovated gasworks art space in Gazi. Once again the central square in Athens, Syntagma Square, adjacent to the Parliament Building, will be the centerpiece of the Athenian celebrations. This year, perhaps in respect to the trees lost throughout the country this past summer, the city will not try to erect the tallest tree in the European Union, although an almost 50 foot tall Christmas tree will be lit up in the square through the holiday season and the 60 seat colorful carousel lets this ex-pat Chicagoan go round and round and up and down, surrounded by holiday cheer reminiscent of a wintery afternoon on Chicago’s Navy Pier,...

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Free Museum Admission Days in Greece

Winter visitors to Athens not only get to explore the sites with a few less busloads of tourists, they also have the opportunity to save a few Euros on admission to many of the city’s best archeological sites. Beginning November 1 and until March 31, Sundays are free at all Ministry of Culture archeological sites and their accompanying museums. The rest of the year offers limited opportunity for free days, but they do exist. Any site or museum open on a Greek national holiday offers free admission on these days, however it is important to remember that things change fast and frequently in Greece, so this list is subject to change. January 1st New Year’s Day on January 6th Epiphany on March 25th Greek Independence Day May 1st May Day August 15th Feast of the Assumption – Feast Day of the Virgin Mary October 28th “OXI Day” December 25th Christmas The following holidays, the dates of which change annually: Kathara Defteri, or Clean Monday, the beginning of Lent Good Friday Greek Orthodox Easter Monday and Tuesday following Greek Easter The above dates change each year, and some museums and sites are actually closed on these holidays, so it is a good idea to check before going. In addition, many sites are closed on Mondays, and most sites close fairly early, often by 3pm in the afternoon. Other Free Days:...

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Peaceful dining in the city: Plateia Mesologiou, Pagrati, on a warm autumn night

**this restaurant is now Mezed…adkio – and the food is really terrific. In the warm months the tables spill out to the now pedestrian only cobblestone street and they often have live music on the weekend.**   Just off the hustle and bustle of Ymittou street we found ourselves in one of the quietest squares in Athens. We came to the Laiko Steki, Plateia Mesologiou 5, Pagrati, Tel. 210-7250528, a great unpretentious little neighborhood restaurant, where Yannis and Panagiotis greeted us with a warm smile and a pitcher of terrific red house wine. The restaurant has tables on the square as well, weather permitting. There is nothing better than sitting under the moonlight and dining al fresco with interesting friends and interesting conversation. The menu varies from day to day, so you can ask about the specials for the day. Tonight, there were 6 of us and though we certainly ordered too much food, it was a feast that more than filled our bellies without emptying our wallets. As is traditional in Greek tavernas, a bottemless basket of bread started our meal. Steki Laiko’s were toasted crispy slices, served warm, drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with spices. Wonderful alone, dipped in our salad’s dressing or slathered with: Tyrokafteri (a spicy feta chese spread) one of the best I have had. The generously added allepo pepper turned the dish...

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