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Sunday, January 29, 2017
Friday, January 27, 2017
Constantinides is a great bakery chain that never disappoints, with many locations all over Athens. Your next best bet for a great sweet treat is to sample some of the local chocolate. The problem you'll find in Athens is finding a truly Greek chocolate shop. Most chocolate shops make chocolates in the styles of Belgian chocolatiers. This isn't a bad thing most of the time, but it isn't a true Greek experience.
Max Perry, a local chain of chocolate shops has a decidedly more Greek approach to their chocolates, often blending with Greek cookies and fillings, much like the baked goods found at many of the bakeries. While Athens itself doesn't really have one particular sweet treat to call its own, many bakeries do sell some of the specialties from other regions in Greece. The Trigona from Thessaloniki is great, and Farsala Halvas, from Farsala is really unique. There are also some great seasonal treats like the Christmas cookies, and chocolate covered Easter bread that are well worth trying.
Friday, January 20, 2017
The most famous "bad neighbourhoods" of Athens are the areas around Omonia square and Exarchia. It's true that these neighbourhoods are a little sketchy, however during the day for the most part they’re fairly safe. Syntagma square gets a bad rap based totally on the fact that it's the square where people protest. If you're around the square and you see a protest, it's probably safest if you just walk away, however if nothing is going on, this is a great square to explore.
If you decide that you want to walk from the main tourist area towards the Archaeological Museum, you'll pass by several University buildings on 28 October street. It used to be that this area was a no go zone for police (due to an old law) and because of this it was a really sketchy area. Since the law was changed the police have cleaned up this area, and it's much better now. It's still a little sketchy, but during the day it's not as dangerous as it once was.
The one area that continues to keep its bad reputation is Agio Pandelimonas. This is probably the only neighbourhood that I would generally recommend avoiding. Not only is it fairly sketchy, but truly there really isn't much to see up there for the average tourist.
Friday, January 13, 2017
The beauty of this site is how quite it is, considering it's surrounded by some of the most hectic parts of Athens. A mere 20 meters from the entrance is one of the busiest squares in the area, but you forget all about it wandering around. The site isn't full of particularly remarkable buildings or structures, but lying around are wonderful little treasures that you can discover yourself. Bits of mosaic floor, grinding stones, and a few pillars are hidden all around, but you have to keep your eyes open to find them.
This is a wonderful site to explore on your own, it's often not very busy, and it's a great escape for a few minutes.
Friday, January 6, 2017
One of the great hidden gems of these two hills can be found at the base of Filopappou hill about 30 meters from the entrance. There you'll find a couple of small signs leading you to Socrates prison. These small caves are thought to be the place where Socrates was imprisoned and eventually poisoned. It was later used as a bunker during the Ottoman period. Unlike the hills it's not that difficult to get to, and there are rarely any other tourist around.
For the most part nothing particular happens on these hills with one exception. On clean Monday every year, flocks of locals climb Pnyx hill to picnic and fly kites. This picnic represents the first day of lent and the last day of carnival. The meal follows the Greek Orthodox rules of lent. The kites are said to help you wash away your sins from carnival. They say that the higher your kite goes the more sins are washed away.