Exploring Athens like a Local

Discovering  Athens

When we are living in a foreign country we usually end up in places that are more familiar to us, and by familiar I mean, international fast fashion shops, malls with well known brands, restaurants with international cuisine. I think this is a defense mechanism that we use in order to stay as much as we can in our comfort zone. After all, leaving our home country is a shock even for the most adventurous .

So, how can you avoid falling in the trap of repeating the same patterns? It is simple. The next time you go out for a walk or shopping in the city take a local friend with you. You will be amazed by the new things you will discover but more importantly you will see how easily you can adapt and enjoy the different styles and mindsets a different country has to offer.

This week I went downtown bearing in mind that I am new in my city which is partly true, because I never had the chance to really explore and discover Athens in the way I have done with Rome, Bristol, Sofia or Warsaw. This is because I never had the free time to do it or the right mindset; the truth is that the older you get the more you appreciate and manage better your free time-procrastination is not a word in the 40 plus dictionary.

Athens is so beautiful in October, the weather is not too hot, but it’s still warm enough  to stay outdoors, and what drew my attention, since the last time I visited, is that the center is getting cleaner everyday, so hats off to the Municipality. I also noticed the new bins that they have installed which are amazing and I really hope people will appreciate this effort.

There is a place in the city that blends in the most graceful way the traditional element of greek culture with the modern touches of a city that keeps on evolving. This is the Benaki Museum Shop which I simply adore and now that I am back I will try to visit more often. I went in with after deciding to “borrow” for a while 5the enthusiasm of a foreigner who gets the chance to explore the contemporary art of Athens. While I was looking around I found the most amazing posters to decorate my daughter’s bedroom. The first was a photo taken by the famous photographer Nelly and the second the puzzle of the Greek alphabet by the artist Zoe Keramea. Benaki shop does not only sell art it teaches art and aesthetics through make it accessible to everyone.

What I love about this city is that is turning into a safe multicultural hub where everyone can easily feel home. Walking around the center and hearing different sounds and languages, smelling all kinds of herbs  coming from the countless restaurants  in the area and watching people blend under the Athenian sun gives me the hope to believe that peaceful coexistence  is still possible. A friend of mine was laughing the other day telling me that we might have a lot of differences but we find the time to solve them while drinking our famous frappe or freddo. This is a Greek fact.

Discovering “Brunch-ing”

Also, “Brunch-ing” in Athens is either  a true ritual  you cannot escape from,  or a good excuse to have a second freddo without destroying your stomach. In any case it helps you discover new places.Did you know that Athens has risen to the best city in Europe for brunch, according to new research by Uswitch.com. Amazingly, freddo does miracles, and as a true brunch lover this time I tried The Brunchers at Agias Thekla’s, another hidden spot facing a huge graffiti wall in the heart of the greek capital. I loved the unpretentious vibe, the extremely polite staff and their amazing chicken mango Caesar’s.

Who says  NO to an extra coffee, especially when this  coffee supports those in need. Even if you don’t speak greek and cannot support them with buying their newspaper you can always enjoy your coffee at Shedia Cafe, and feel happy because you spend your money for a noble cause.

Something I realized while I was exploring again my city is that tradition is becoming viral. An old man playing the “Laterna” is more likely to get more Instagram likes than street musicians playing the latest hits;

Barrel pianos, which were first invented in Europe in the late nineteenth century, quickly became extremely popular amongst Greeks who lived in Constantinople.

Also superstitions that we once considered an older generations’ habit, are now becoming trendy. This city is finally coming to terms with its folk element while creating its own personal personal trademark.

When I first left Athens, back in the late 90’s , design and  fashion were  all about branding, nowadays is all about vintage, recycling, experimenting with colors and investing in art. Every time I pass by Modernon , the retrosexual shop of vintage and Bauhaus furniture and decorative items, I realize that this city is finally embracing its multicolored, funky identity where everyone can fit in; it’s one of these moments that remind me that I made the right choice to come back and share with you my journey of re-discovering my city.

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Join us for an exclusive wine tasting event with sommelier Penelope Kouloumpi at Bored, C’mon hub on April 19th at 7:30 pm. Taste four exceptional Greek wines expertly paired with delicious assortments while enjoying jazz music and networking with other peo people. Limited to 40 attendees, tickets are 50 euros per person. Secure your spot by making a payment to Piraeus Bank, Expat Experiences, IBAN GR24 0171 7490 0067 4916 6684 474 and confirming your payment to events@homeawayfromhome.gr. Don’t miss this chance for a sophisticated evening of fine wine and good company. Cheers!#winelover #winetasting🍷 #athensevents #winestagram #letshavefun #forwinelovers

Join us for an exclusive wine tasting event with sommelier Penelope Kouloumpi at Bored, C’mon hub on April 19th at 7:30 pm. Taste four exceptional Greek wines expertly paired with delicious assortments while enjoying jazz music and networking with other peo people. Limited to 40 attendees, tickets are 50 euros per person. Secure your spot by making a payment to Piraeus Bank, Expat Experiences, IBAN GR24 0171 7490 0067 4916 6684 474 and confirming your payment to events@homeawayfromhome.gr. Don’t miss this chance for a sophisticated evening of fine wine and good company. Cheers!#winelover #winetasting🍷 #athensevents #winestagram #letshavefun #forwinelovers

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Amazing retreat by @eyiaretreats at @papagiannakos_winery! #greece #athensevents #athensretreats #yogaandwine#foreignersinathens #internationallife #internationalfriends #lifeabroad

Being an expat and facing all the intercultural challenges that come along our way is not an easy task regardless what people think! Nevertheless when you have the chance to listen to stories of people with whom you can relate this task becomes much more interesting! We are very happy and proud to host @culture_x_change  podcast series that shed light to the life of expats!Check our article by clicking on the link in bio! #expatstories #intercultural #movingabroad #lifeofanexpat #expatsingreece #expatsinathens

Being an expat and facing all the intercultural challenges that come along our way is not an easy task regardless what people think! Nevertheless when you have the chance to listen to stories of people with whom you can relate this task becomes much more interesting! We are very happy and proud to host @culture_x_change podcast series that shed light to the life of expats!Check our article by clicking on the link in bio! #expatstories #intercultural #movingabroad #lifeofanexpat #expatsingreece #expatsinathens

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