A Colour Explosion from the Heart


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Christmas carols, Hot chocolate and my Athens - Part 1

Posted by Alexandra S on December 21, 2017 at 8:55 AM

Hello there!!!

One week to go before I take off for my lovely hometown for New Year's...

Greece is most likely not the first place someone would consider spending their Christmas holidays unless they are either Greek or keen travelers and open to new travel experiences. Working on visitgreece campaigns is one thing, but truth be told, there are restrictions to what one can publish in that official capacity... which is why I felt I needed to give that little extra touch to what you may not know :-)

...Here goes! 


With a mild temperature ranging from 9-17 degrees celsius and sunshine that is more frequent  than not, Greece provides a pleasant setting for a citybreak during this holiday season.

2. Carols

Tradition has it that youngsters go from door to door singing christmas carols and almost always welcomed with a smile, a home-baked pastry and a small "tip" (a small amount of money that is mostly of symbolic value as a thank you and good luck!). The most acclaimed picture by a Greek painter, depicting this festive tradition in an austerely simple and most sensitive manner, is “Carols” by Nikiphoros Lytras. The painting is a major work of art depicting a scene of Greek life, customs and traditions [called Ethography], heavy with symbolism and with disarming sincerity.

(Photo: www.visitgreece.gr)

3. Christmas decorations: Trees or boats?

Apart from the usual Christmas tree decorating that can go from minimal to over-the-top circus-looking decor (it's all a matter of preference), in Greece we also decorate boats. With Greece being an ancient maritime country, the decoration of the traditional fishing boat dates hundreds of years when the majority of greeks were working as sea men. During the Christmas time the family would decorate a small wooden boat to symbolise their thankful spirit for the safe return of the father and his sons against the odds of nature and the harsh winter sea. 

(Photo: www.visitgreece.gr) 

4. Happy taste buds!

Needless to say, Greece is a country with a very strong tradition in food culture all year round and in every corner of the country. Highlights of the season are the extremely delicious home-baked pastries: Melomakarona, Kourabiedes and Diples (I am sure there are others, but these are the most well-known ones linked to greek christmas traditions. 

(Photo: Alexandra Sarantidi)

5. Shopping for all tastes

Shopping in Greece, may I inform you, is an opportunity you would not want to miss. I am not talking about your average Monastiraki flea market souvenir shops... I am refering to the huge variety of small and medium-sized local boutiques where you can find incredible products with great value for money... but most importantly, they are ORIGINAL! Original because you will most likely not find this product ANYWHERE else ;-)

So, first of all you acquire a "souvenir" that is totally unique AND you support a local business. Shops are scattered all around the city, naturally, but the main shopping streets in the city centre of Athens are Ermou Street and Kolonaki area, as well as all their adjoining alleys. The northern suburbs of Halandri, Psychiko and Kifissia are also well-known shopping districts for the Athenians living in that area, while Nea Smyrni, Kallithea, Glyfada and Paleo Faliro lie in the southern part of the the city centre.

Personally, I believe that you don't always need to go into some shopping-craze, you can just stroll around and explore what is available and if something captures your eye and it seems affordable and special... why not indulge in just one piece? ;-) 

(Photo: Alexandra Sarantidi)

6. Hot chocolate moments with a view of the Acropolis

After strolling around town, whether you've been site-seeing or shopping, you will definitely need a short break to catch your breath and give those legs a bit of a rest. One of my new favorite spots are the cafes at Thisseio. Thisseio Square is on the paved path of Dionysiou Aeropagitou Street surrounding the historical district of Athens. There are several coffee shops in based in beautiful neoclassical buldings, and most of them are two or three-storeys high, giving you the opportunity to enjoy your coffee or warm beverage with a magnificent view of the Acropolis on one side... 

(Photo: Alexandra Sarantidi)

...and Lycabettus Hill on the other.

(Photo: Alexandra Sarantidi)

So, here is a first "taste" of Athens for those of you who wish to escape to an inspiring location without necessarily being overwhelmed by an overdose of Christmas spirit... Sometimes we just need that festive feeling that is "juuuuust right" ;-) 

Taking off to Athens soon... so stay tuned for an update of Athenian Christmas, LIVE! ;-)



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