july 2011- taki strike
18 July 2011 - the great taxi strike began- and we were caught in the middle of it. For weeks and weeks it meant roads blocked and no access to ports & airports, except on foot or by public transportation. For us it meant leaving the Pireus harbour on foot and walking to catch the train into the city... it was hot and we had a baby in a stroller. Striking taxi drivers were really nice to the baby and apologised for the inconvenience.
Traditional Eating and drinking
(Cold coffee with Ice ) you can drink it black ( sketo) or sweet with milk (gliko mee gala ), nescafe(Hot coffee), Made with instant coffee mixed with milk, water, lots of sugar and ice depends when u buy it but price starts from €1,50
Tsiporo and ouzo
(Alcohol taste bit like ouzo, and ouzo you drink it with ice or water, and sip over a longer period of time. Ouzo is a very strong drink.
(Greek coffee) sweet means in Greek Gliko medium miditero or no sugar black sketo usually costs €1,50
also you should try souvlaki mostly pork with salad with rolled bread porkpita bread tomatoes, sliced onions, sliced teacup olive oil ablespoon parsley, finally chopped salt and pepper oregano Tzatziki (optional) . €1,80
dolmades or kolokithakia :
Dolmades are grape leaves stuffed with rice and cooked with lemon juice and kolokithakia are courgettes stu
Spanakopita is a savoury tart made primarily of spinach, fillo dough and feta cheese less then €1,50
tyropita (cheese wrapped in strudel leaves
(Greek Μπουγάτσα) is a pastry constiting of custard cheese , or minced meat filling between layers of phyllo.
Typical snacks sols on streets and bakeries les than €1
consist of thinly shaved lamb in a pita pocket served together with lettuce, tomato, feta cheese, sometimes onion, and the tzatziki (white sauce made from yogurt and cucumbers and garlic ) is optional. One gyro costs less then €2
Tickets for metro,bus and tram
You can buy the bus Tickets (esitirio in Greek) from Kiosk cost 0, 40 cent (kiosk=periptero in Greek) not from the bus Driver, and regarding the metro ticket you can purchase it from the reception down in the metro or from the machine , and that will cost you 0,80 cent.
in Greece They speak Greek,here are some usefull words and phrases.
Hello: Ya sou
delicious : nostimo
how are you : olla kala? ,ti kanies?,pos paei
Good : Kala ,Mia hara
Please: Se parakalo
Here you go : oristei
where is airport: po einai to aerodromio
Far : makri
Near : konda
Bus : leoforio
Kiosk : periptero
How much : poso kanie
DO not mention it ,you are welcome : tipota
No problem: den pirazie
Do i bother : se enoxloo
Much : pio poli
Less : legotero
little : ligo
1: Ena ,2: dio, 3: tria,4:tesera,5:pendeh,6:eksi,7:epta ,8:okto,9:enea,10:deka
From the airport to the centre I took the bus 95 which was supposed to arruve in Syntagma square, but the driver stopped somewhere else and invited us to continue with underground because the square was closed. As soon as I got out of Syntagma tube station I found myself in a square full of tents and placards. I did not have an idea yet of how central Syntagma square was, when I realised that people protested setting tents just in front of parlament, I had a satisfied grin on my face thinking: I am in the country where democracy was born. I could not think something different as in Italy police would probably not approve even a sit in in front of parlament for longer than a few hours. So seing these guys and girls and their mottos there, was a nice surprise.
Decorative candles for Easter
It is the custom that everyone who goes to the church on Holy Saturday night should hold his candle.
The godmothers and godfathers always buy these candles for the children they have cristened and children love them. Many of them have toys on them as well.
You will find them sold everywhere, and there is not a single person who goes to Church that Holy night without carrying his or her candle.
- Road Trip
- Hiking and Walking
You might notice when you visit the Parthenon and the Acropolis Museum that something is missing. They are the Parthenon Marbles (Elgin Marbles) - numerous sculptures from the pediments and frieze of the Parthenon, and one of the Caryatids from the Erechtheion. They are one of Greece's greatest treasures, taken at the beginning of the 1800s, and there has been a great effort to get them back.
Thomas Bruce (1766-1841), 7th Earl of Elgin and British ambassador to Turkey, traveled to Athens to draw and make molds of the sculptures on the Parthenon, but ended up taking the marbles after the Turkish government gave him permission. In 1816, they were sold to the British government for 35,000 pounds, and they were put in the British Museum.
Ever since, there has been a controversy over whether they should be returned to Greece or were legally acquired and should remain in the British Museum. Each side has its points and numerous supporters and there have been some very ugly debates about the issue.
One of the most famous supporters who worked tirelessly for the Greek cause was Melina Merkouri (1925-1994), the famous Greek actress and politician who has a foundation that bears her name working to return the sculptures.
A Coffe break and Ouzo!
In Athens, a coffee break can easily slide into an ouzo session. A round of mezze can morph into a midnight feast. The night is still young at 1am, when people of all ages start drifting between bars.
Closing time is when the last customer decides to go – and it doesn’t matter if it’s a school night. I don’t know many other cities that operate on such a happy-go-lucky time zone. If you’re nocturnal, Athens is nirvana.
Greek Music and Dancing in the Street
It was Sunday afternoon, and I was walking down Ermou Street. As I approached the small Byzantine church of Kapnikarea with its little plaza cutting the street in half, I heard the sound of rhythmical, lively Greek music. A few elderly amateur musiciams were sittingon the curb playing their instruments, and a few people were dancing to the music, with a small crowd gathered around them, cheering and applauding.
I loved the spontaneous, carefree atmosphere, and the repetitive character of the music was enchanting.
Here are my short video-clips:
- Romantic Travel and Honeymoons
- Family Travel
- Budget Travel
Carnivals are held in different suburbs of Athens, this one was in Agios Ioannis Rentis. The most important carnival of the city takes place in Moshato, which is another southern suburb, between Athens and Piraeus. Brazilian girls are dancing samba every year as being in Rio, wearing almost... nothing (despite the cold). Their presence is a basic reason for the success of the Moshato carnival...
The best carnival in Greece, one of the best in Europe, is the carnival of Patra, the third largest greek city.
- Family Travel
This is a custom in other mediterranian cultures, because of the mid-day heat, most shops will close down between 2 and 5ish in the afternoon, even in winter! I visited in January. I found that tourist shops tended to stay open, because they knew that uninformed tourists would still be out in the streets, and it is worth it to make the money, but much of the city quieted down during these times. There is even, technically, quiet hour laws! Keep in mind that while this might seem like a waste of your valuable travel time, you can take advantage of it and live like a local. Take a break during these times, or just take the time when the city is quieter to explore, grab some food, pick up some souvineers, or hang out in one of the squares. The Athenians tend to eat dinner late (compared to U.S. standards at least), around 8, even 9 pm! And if they are going out for the night (the best nights are thursday - saturday), they won't go out til a few hours later than we would in the US. The times when we went out, we planned to go out around midnight. And just because you go out late, don't be tempted to sleep in the next day! The mid-day siesta time is great for making up for a bit of lost sleep, or just giving your legs a rest!
- Family Travel
- Business Travel
- School Holidays
FRESH FRUIT STAND
The Greek passion is alive in the culinary delights as well. Fruit plays an important part of anyone's diet, and the Greeks have fruit stands almost on every corner, at least it seemed that way. Great varieties of fruit and vegetables seem to always be available.
- Budget Travel
Dos & Dont's
>Shake hands with everyone you meet. Don’t be surprised if -once they get to know you a little bit better- they kiss you on both cheeks. It means they feel comfortable with you.
>Make sure you dress modestly when visiting a church or monastery, which basically means keeping your chest and thighs covered. It’s also customary to drop a coin in the donation box and light a candle.
>When invited over to a house, it’s advisable to bring a gift to the host, be it flowers, a bottle of wine or some desert. Arriving empty handed makes you look kinda cheap!
>We know it’s said that Greeks don’t mind being asked personal questions -as we ask some ourselves- but don’t overdo it.
Asking someone you just met how much money they make is plain rude. You might be asked about your marital status.
>Another myth buster: If you want a second serving from what you’ve been eating, just say so. If you’re a guest you’ll probably be asked once, so don’t be shy. If you don’t want more, say that too. In a restaurant, feel free to serve yourself and it’s also nice to ask others if they want any.
>Its customary for people to arrive 30 minutes late for a dinner party.
>Bars, clubs and bouzoukia require formal dress, so keep your flip-flops for the beach! Cheap eateries like tavernas and smaller bars are casual.
>It is customary when eating in taverns, mezedopolia or oinomageiria to buy plates for everyone to share, rather than one plate for each person. However, if you still want a main course for yourself, feel free to get it.
>A 16% gratuity is included in some bills, but you’re expected to leave something extra to round off the amount.
>Greeks often -not always- don’t respect queues, so stay alert for queue jumpers
- Road Trip
- Family Travel
For Dumb Americans - Ask for the Check!
For those Americans on their first time out of the U.S., a big difference you will find when dining is the waiters will not be rushing you away from their tables by giving you the check immediately -- or ever, until you ask for it. You will be sitting forever if you don't request the check. And for Europeans coming to the U.S., expect the check to be shoved at you any time from when your food first arrives till you say you've had enough, depending on the quality of the restaurant, but don't feel like you have to leave -- just a difference in the custom.
- Family Travel
- Road Trip
- Study Abroad
Cake in Greece are very good but some are also VERY sweet as they are made with a lot of honey. Keep this in mind if you dont have a so called "sweet tooth"....
I like baklava that is one of these made with honey but I like best Kalitsounia, a Crete specialty made with a shortcrust pastry and kind of ricotta cheese inside with cinnamon on it.... to die for.
Look at my Crete Local custom tips for Kalitsounia recipe.
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