History wise, I think we can all agree that Athens has it going on.
You can’t walk 3 feet without tripping over ruins.
So much so in fact, how they managed to build ANYTHING let alone apartment buildings and a subway is mind boggling.
People gotta live somewhere though and visitors, well we love visiting!
Acropolis aside, here’s some stuff to consider while you’re here.
Let’s talk about the graffiti.
There is graffiti. A lot of graffiti actually.
We too were shell shocked on our first trip and you can read about that experience HERE
When you get over the ‘gang’ stigma graffiti has, you can move forward and begin to appreciate it.
This here collage is just a glimpse of the art going down to a pedestrian tunnel under a main street highway.
Without this colourful art it would be a dismal descent.
These tunnels take you across the road safely, underground.
The tunnels, of which there are many, are full of graffiti.
Here, graffiti does not equate dirty or unsafe. It’s just a means of colourful human expression.
Out of ALL the graffiti we noticed here there was nothing lewd or derogatory. There was just one tiny, comical penis, I’m serious.
Me: hey Stevo, there’s a penis on the wall
Stevo: no way, really?!
I almost took a picture of it cause it was so out of place and then thought NO!
a) I will not bring the sad little penis graffiti artist more exposure.
b) It’s weird
There is no litter (I dare you to find a cigarette butt) and all streets and tunnels are well lit.
To see some current graffiti check out this article which captures some great new art (2022) in and around the city.
Another glaring observation is the homeless. We saw one homeless guy set up in a tunnel all cozy and neat.
The others I’ve noticed are dishevelled but quiet and usually eating some offering from a local restaurant. Otherwise you don’t see them.
People take care of each other here.
Everyone is a part of a nucleus and seemingly no one is left to fend for themselves or abandoned.
There is a strong sense of community.
This community stems from the stores you shop at and the restaurants you eat in.
They are your friends, your neighbours and family and it’s always been like that.
There is no nameless, faceless mass shopping centre here to eradicate this community.
Worth mentioning is that there is no graffiti on these neighbourhood businesses. The graffiti, from what we observed, sticks to abandoned buildings and alleyways.
Great news here. Options for street food here are endless because all the restaurants have outdoor seating.
It’s all street food!
Even this hot dog guy set up semi permanently had some seating.
Traditional Greek restaurants are not as noticeable as the tourist driven variety.
There is a difference. One has the same menu as every other resto and the other one usually doesn’t really use a menu.
The more traditional Greek restaurants tell you some options available that night.
These dishes are what’s fresh and what’s good. Choose one of these.
Reasonably priced and the food is well…
Incredible! Pictured above is:
- Braised beef (so tender)in tomato sauce with rice
- Grilled squid platter
- complimentary dessert of Greek yogurt mixed with honey and lemon topped with cinnamon, yum!
Presentation is secondary as it should be. The value comes from the actual food not the rent or tablecloth and usually it’s a family affair.
Please, if you’re in Athens and want a home cooked meal without taking out a loan go to the place above.
I unfortunately can’t read the name being in Greek, perhaps another clue that this place is the real deal.
The other nice thing is the variety of cuisines cause sometimes you don’t feel like Greek food (but usually you do lol).
I love me some Thai food and lookie here:
Tuk Tuks teeny tiny kitchen has seating right at the counter looking into the kitchen with all the fire wok cooking done right in front of you!
This place is popular. Get there early Tuk Tuks Thai restaurant fills up fast and has a line up out the door as the night goes on.
Greece has a sweet tooth like no other place on the planet.
They do it up big time here.
The bakeries ( and there are many) are huge and have a wide assortment of cakes, chocolate, cookies, gelato, bread and croissants.
This display is one of 6 this size. It’s sweet tooth nirvana.
Here’s the deal. You get yourself a sweet (or 3 cause how do you pick just one thing ) and then you go down the street or next door and grab a coffee.
It’s weird but most bakeries don’t offer coffee even though they have seating.
And no one cares if you bring your dessert to their shop for coffee or vice versa.
Coffee incidentally is neck and neck with sweets for most favourite thing here in Greece.
I’m sure there’s night clubs and various entertainment things around as well but we like to check out the neighborhoods and hang out like a local more. Exploring and food is more our jam.
Don’t miss out!
Please don’t let the graffiti deter you from heading out downtown or to one of the micro neighbourhoods of Athens.
The history, the people, the food, there is so much to experience here.
Athens is more than the Acropolis.