Sunday, 5 January 2014

Athens December 2013 (lots of pics)

Another month and a different European capital. Alan was working in Athens for 7 days and decided the warmer weather would be better for me.

First morning and I went in search of coffee and and breakfast. This is an apple bun from Cafe Mokka just past the Athens meat and fish markets.

A walk down to Monastiraki district and the famous Athens flea market. This is the tourist entrance where I started. The street is Ermou and it's full of tourist-oriented shops selling mostly clothes and shoes. Over the next few days I wandered around the back streets leading to Psirri and found some much more interesting shops.

The Church in Monastiraki square


View of the Parthenon from Adrianou. Gorgeous blue skies and sunshine.

An odd bookstore at the back of Monastiraki flea market, mixed English and Greek books, left me wondering what happens if you wanted that book at the bottom of one of the piles!!

Pistachio gelato

Street in Psirri with lots of different lampshades hanging between the buildings. Some of them were not even lampshades - a bird cage, bucket and watering can amongst others - and some were groovy shades that looked like they were from the 1970s

Dinner out on the first evening. Gorgeous Greek salad.

More exploring around Psirri. Some amazing shops were spotted, including one that sold only baskets. Each of the stores took out lots of their goods each morning and stacked them up in elaborate displays outside, only to put it all away again at night.

Found a shop that seemed to only sell globes!?!

And this one only sold ribbons...

The ruins at Kerameikos (found at the end of Ermou and Adrianou). There's an archeological museum here and on my next visit in February I'll be visiting to check out the burial artefacts. Kerameikos is where we get the English word ceramic from as part of it was the potter's quarter.

Chicken Gyros for lunch outside at a cafe on Adrianou ...

... which I shared with some cheeky sparrows that live in a tree that stands between the outside tables

Another shop I found in Psirri, this one was full of birds in cages, some were budgies and zebra finches but some looked like wild caught birds including a goldfinch in the small brown cage below centre right :(

Back to Ermou on another day to a shop full of beads, pendants and supplies for making jewellery. I bought some skull beads and a skull and cross bones pendant for Cat. The clever girl at the store made them into a bracelet and necklace for her.

And bizarrely at the back of the store was a fibreglass dinosaur with some "explorers" - odd, very odd...

And no trip to a foreign city can be complete without stumbling on a sex shop, this one has a bondage duck for a double win

I wandered to the Christmas Factory at Technopolis in Gazi - who doesn't want to visit Santa in December, even if you're away from home? Technopolis is an industrial museum set in an old gas works, complete with gasometers. Yet more gorgeous blue skies. Best of all they had built inside the structures of the gasometers.

Another trip to the back streets of the flea market and the antique shops where I found these two beauties. Got to have... seriously... thinking of taking a large van or truck across Europe and going shopping for quirky furniture. Chandeliers were in every antique store.

Herbs and spices stacked up outside a store on Athinas. With huge meat, fish and fruit/vegetable markets within 2 minutes walk of each other I would love shopping for groceries in Athens. Except the meat market which was like a horror movie. For some reason there were numerous crates full of sheeps heads, skinned but complete with eyes. And several stalls had intestines from something hanging on meat hooks over buckets. There were also pig and cow heads and suckling pigs and a gruesome whole lamb, skinned, complete with head with it's tongue stuck out between it's teeth in a grotesque portrait.

Last day, another coffee and a bun

And the weirdest shop I found in the whole trip. It sold old electrical components (dials, valves, diodes etc) and decommissioned surgical instruments. Alan bought some to use as barbecue/grill tools. I'll be boiling them for a long time before they get recommissioned!

We saw two protests while we were there and on the last day (Saturday) the riot police had gathered at the end of Adrianou. They disembarked, picked up their shields and marched off after a half hour of discussion.

Another post to follow with some of the amazing street art I saw whilst exploring. 
The people of Greece were lovely and friendly, helpful, kind and when I was sore I was offered seats in shops to rest. The warm weather was much nicer for my body and I'm looking forward to another trip in February as it will be very cold here.

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