Everybody in Greece seems to be a smoker! I saw many many men and women smoking there, a lot of them smoke hand made cigarettes.
If you are not a smoker I suggest you to ask your hotel to reserve you a no-smoking room or you will be very disappointed by your room's smell....
Backgammon is a very popular game in Greece, everywhere you can see people playing. In the bar, sat outside their home or also working, while waiting for a customer.
In my photos you can see some streets seller enjoying their game.
You may also see the changing of the Guard (Evzones) in front of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
The Evzones is the name of several historical elite light infantry and mountain units of the Greek Army. Today, it refers to the members of the Proedriki Froura (Presidential Guard), an elite ceremonial unit that guards the Greek Tomb of the Unknown Soldier the Hellenic Parliament and the Presidential Mansion.
Their proven valour and peculiar dress turned them into a popular image for the Greek soldier, especially among foreigners.
i have been to greece just to see the easter's spirit, traditionally and religiously. i just enjoy the festive atmosphere and folk culture. i have been to tinos island, a non-touristy island known for its strong expression of the orthodox religion.
i joined the church service from 8pm to 12pm just standing and watching people mourning and hoping. a greek lady pointed and handed me one those brown candles that the church provided them at the entrance. she spoke no english. instead, she found me an english-speaking lady just to explain to me what was going on and why they were holding candles. there was a stream of greek orthodox prayers or psalms, so i guessed. senior, young and even children were pouring in and outside the church of Virgin Mary with no smile on their faces. they seemed to have taken the death of christ seriously, so i remained silent joining the mourning crowd. when the bell hit the midnight hour, the senior priests started to leave the church hall and to lead the symbol body of christ. it looked like a decorated throne with a body picture laid down. hunderds joined the procession and were channelled to go into every direction of tinos town, until all groups met downtown at tinos square by the harbour. all churches carrying different thrones of the same symbol have met at that point, continuing to recite the verses that i couldnt understand but admired to hear their poetic rhythm.
the saturday night, it was the same. i heared a police siren; the eldest priest was being dropped off alongside the town mayor by the church entrance. they were received with burning scents and dressed-up priests and a huge crowd awaiting their blessings inside.
that was a religious experience
my landlady gave me a white candle for the resurrection evening, greek sweets and red-painted eggs for smashing. these all took over the next day by both the religious and non including me. and that was the fun part of experiencing the essence of greece.
Street Peddlers selling designer knock-off purses (I believe). Common sense tells me so. If you think you're buying the real thing, it probably isn't. Lots of vendors in the early hours are selling fruit for the day!
You just gotta see this, so touristy, but amazing to see the control & discipline. The sargent checks after the guard change - see pic.
See it outside parliament building at top of Syntagma, every hour.
JANUARY 1 NEW YEAR DAY
JANUARY 6 EPIPHANY
JANUARY 30 THREE HOLY HIERARCHS
* KATHARI DEFTERA
MARCH 25 INDEPENDENCE DAY
* HOLLY FRIDAY
* EASTER SUNDAY
* EASTER MONDAY
* AGHIOU PNEVMATOS
MAY 1 LABOR DAY
AUGUST 15 VIRGIN MARY CELEBRATION
OCTOBER 28 OCHI DAY
NOVEMBER 17 POLYTECHNEIO
DECEMBER 25 CHRISTMAS
DECEMBER 26 SYNAXIS THEOTOKOU
• MOVEABLE HOLIDAYS
On March 25 every year Greece celebrated Independence Day, the rebellion against the Ottoman Empire that ruled Greece for 400 years
Every year on October 28 is the celebration of ochi (no) day by Ioannis Metaxas to the power of the axis and Italy free passage to invade Greece
Every year there are student and military parades that attracts many people from all ages catering to celebrate this two special days for Greece
I found Greek people very friendly.
If you go eat in a Taverna (a local restaurant), and someone invites you to see the kitchen ad shows you the food before cooking it, don't say no, go and have a look around in the kitchen.
They are proud to show you the kitchen, i think is a way to show you how they work and ther working environment.
GOOD NEWS for Travellers: This year, Easter falls on 08 April 2007 and this is a particular opportunity for jubilation, due to the fact that after some years Orthodox and Catholic Easter are celebrated simultaneously!
Normally, the Greek Orthodox Easter differs, at least, a week from the Roman Catholic one, but this year a "miracle" has happened and we will celebrate Easter on the same day!
That is very convenient for the perspective travellers: they know what they are going to find in Greece on that specific period and they are not going to celebrate Easter twice!
KALO PAS-HA---HAPPY EASTER to all of you-a traditional Greek wish!
Greeks drink a lot, beer at meals, more beer or cocktails when they go out. But they always knwo their limits. If you get trashed and start throwing up everywhere while in Greece, you will lose a lot of respect from your company. In fact women may even look at you like less of a man. So, enjoy yourself, but make sure you don't over do it.
All over Athens you can find someone peddling pretzels and some peddling roast corn on the cob. I found it interesting to see this one peddler trying to find a spot to "set up shop" as he carried the table top of pretzels on his head. I have to tell you, I never bought either item because....I saw one guy handle the corn with his bare hands after handling the sale of corn by handling the cash. This would never happen here in the states. I'm not a germaphobic but this just did not seem sanitary enough for me.
Here are some useful words and phrases that may be helful to you in Greece, although you'll find that nearly everyone there speaks English pretty well. It's nice to show them we aren't a bunch of ignorant English-speakers afterall ;) Impress them a little
Kalimera (KALEE-MERA)- Good morning
Kali-spera (KALEE-SPERA)- Good afternoon
Kalinichta (KALEE-NEECHTA)- Good night
Efharisto (EF-HAR-ISTO)- Thank you
Parakalo (PAR-AH-KAL-OH)- Please/you're welcome
Neh (NEY)- Yes
Ochi (OH-HEE)- No
Seegnome (SEEG-NO-MEE)- Excuse me
I-me xortofagos (EE-MEH-HORTO-FAGOS)- I am vegetarian
Dhen katalaveno (TEN-KATA-LAVENO)- I don't understand
Yassas (YASS-USS)- Hello/Goodbye (plural, formal)
Yassous (YASS-OOSE)-Hello/Goodbye (singular, informal)
Poli kala (POE LEE KAH-LAH) - Very well
Gala (GAH-LAH) - milk
Chai (CHEYE)- tea
Hellas (HELL-US)- Greece
Hellenika (HELL-EN-EEKA)- Greek
Pooennay (POO EE-NAY) - Where is...
Posso kani (POE-SO KAN-EE)- How much does this cost?
Olla (OH-LAH)- everything
Entaxi (EN TAX-EE) - Okay
Anglika (ANN-LEE-KA) - English
Xronia Polla (KRON-YA PO-LA) - Happy Birthday
Me lene.... (MEH LEH-NEH) - My name is...
Milate anglika? (MEE-LAT-EH AN-LEE-KA) - Do you speak English?
Ti ora ine? (TEE ORA EE-NEH) - What time is it?
This pretty much sums up my knowledge of the Greek language. I hope it will come of some use to someone!
And so here I was sitting at Cafe Dimitra having a leisurely lunch when the owner comes up and asks if everything is OK and would I like anything else. "I might just have a glass of wine." I reply.
Obviously my reputation precedes me - this is just like being back home!!
Then get a job as a security guard at Monastiraki!
This guy seems to have an ideal job wandering around the square in the sunshine, cigarette in hand, passing the time of day with the local restaurant owners, delivery drivers and chatting-up the waitresses, giving out a few directions to the odd tourist bold enough to interupt and just generally chilling out.
I don't think he gets free public transport though - bummer eh?