Posts tagged ‘Saronic Gulf’

Greek summer- 5 good points about recession

Greek summer, in all its scalding glory, is here to stay with us for a couple of months. It becomes easier to travel from one end of Athens to the other within minutes. Bus services are slower but there are less cars. Greek citizens are looking for escape and thank god they have quite a few choices: there are some free of charge easily accessible to the 4 million metropolis public beaches, there are friends summer houses, there are home villages on mountains and islands brimming over with visitors, there are hotels faced with bankruptcy which have, finally, decided to make very cheap offers to the Greek tourist and are being resuscitated.

I happen to be one of the few staying behind – by choice – so let me take you around my city in the summer. First of all if you decide to visit Athens this is the best time of the year provided you stay in a southern suburb, by the Saronic Gulf. I suggest Palaio Faliro but depending on your budget you can go further out. Glyfada, Vouliagmeni, Varkiza all have excellent hotels but their prices are steeper all over: accommodation and food wise. Transport is cheap (1.20 Euros for a one way tram/bus trip and if you buy the 1.40 ticket you have 90 minutes travel on any transport. I prefer the tram because being the newest addition of the mass transport system of Athens it is clean and properly conditioned. It is not very fast or frequent but then it is the holiday season, who cares?

By catching the tram you are at the new Acropolis Museum within minutes, you can take a stroll under the Acropolis at the pedestrian area around it and reach the Plaka region on foot. 659475_9ycwFvaOKs.img

The railway leaves from Thission and you can connect to the tram at the Peace and Friendship Stadium – at the Piraeus entrance – to get back to your hotel or continue towards the (usually expensive) fish taverns of Pasalimani or the delightfully cheap ones of Kallithea.

1. Taxi drivers are much more polite and helpful. Check the meter though.. 3.20 is the minimum fare to anywhere.

2. Restaurant owners are returning to more traditional dishes thus adding value and novelty to your eating out… Ask for a receipt..




3. Coffee breaks are much cheaper provided you keep in mind to avoid the fashionable haunts which still charge about 4.50 for a fredo capucino but much less for a nescafe frappe which I think you should try.

4. Many special offers from good hotels.

5. Open air cinemas and theatres are an all time favourite. The tickets vary from 8 Euros upwards for the cinemas and 15- 25 Euros for the theaters. cinema-tripel-930x639You can have a beer while watching…

Have a wonderful time.


Summer has finally arrived to Greece

Today, Saturday, 11 June 2011, is the first day of a long weekend and the first day I actually saw people hit the beaches and celebrate the arrival of summer.
The financial crisis that has hit the country cannot fight against the heat and the tempting blue sea that surrounds Athens. The Saronic gulf, from one end to the other, was taken over by families, youngsters, pensioners and so on all set to enjoy a day out. It is an irresistible temptation.
For those of you who remember the nickname of Psorokostena let me tell you that we are going back to good old habits: the swimmers bring their own colddrinks, their own food and umbrellas limiting their expenses to the minimum. Bicycles, walkers with their dogs and/or children, peddlers of all races, mingle on the long stretch that runs from the Peace and Friendship Stadium to Alimos enjoying the sunset and the light breeze.

The coffee shops next to the beach are crowded. At the gazebo, right next to the shore, five old men are playing tavli, their guitars nearby. They will have a singing party when the night falls.
The tram, an Olympic games acquisition, links the town center to the sea side in a few minutes.

Sunset at the Saronic shores - Paleo Faliro

For the young or just young at heart there are a few bouzouki shops. They have limited their performances to the weekend but there is still a lot of joy and fun to be had at steep prices.

So, there is an opportunity for all incomes to enjoy the summer.
This is the Greece I love and you should experience.

Athens in May – Athens at its best

Athens is not my favourite city. I don’t like cities in general. May on the other hand is a totally different situation. You can feel it in the air that becomes crispy clean, you can hear it in the birds, you can see it in the budding flower pots, you can touch the dew in the morning and collect daisies in the empty plots.
Easter and spring come together and we feast both. It is not a coincidence. Rebirth is in the air and it is feted in all ways possible but I prefer the seaside. After all we are a mountainous and island country…
If you want to visit Athens I suggest May and the southern side, across the Saronic Gulf. Hotels of all kinds – medium and extremely expensive – restaurants of all types (the fish is exorbitant unless you chose ouzeris – a mezedes oriented ouzo serving bistrot type food shop – and have small fish which are actually the freshest any way!
Stay in Palaio Faliro or around that area, use the tram and visit all the main sights without hassle during the day and spend your evening strolling by the seaside, rubbing shoulders with the locals, eating roasted corn cobs or souvlakis. Don’t forget to go to an open air cinema if they are open, an unforgettable experience.