Athens without the Crowds: 10 Tips to enjoy the Classic City

Athens is great: almost year-round sunshine, close to the Mediterranean Sea, safe, brimming with ancient history and museums full of artefacts, the food is excellent, and many people speak English. But this means it is extremely popular, and do not let the recent Greek economy crisis years fool you: tourism is what works well in Greece, and in the summer, the path up to the Acropolis is closer to a stampede than an intense dialogue with ancient history. So, here are my tips for that relaxed Athens...

My Personal World Heritage Tour: Paleochora, Aegina

It has become a fashion to visit UNESCO World Heritage Sites. While this is a great endeavour (beats getting drunk, quad biking in the desert and elephant riding, yes?), it can be a bit hard to tick them all of (there are currently 1073) or to keep track of them, as new ones are added every year, and Dresden (??!!)  has been taken off, and some appear just a bit dull. But I admit I have a certain fascination with them, and I tried to compile a list of...

Haiku No. 4

Friday is Haiku Day! Fairy Lights outside but winter cold and darkness grips me hard 屋外のフェアリーライト      Okugai no fearīraito 冬の寒さと暗闇                      fuyu no samu-sa to kurayami 私を強く握る                          watashi o tsuyoku nigiru Yeah, it probably makes no sense whatsoever in Japanese, but it’s kinda fun to stick it into Google Translate. I really wanted something a bit sunnier ‘n funnier but the dark wet weather...

Aegina Island, the Sleeping Beauty

If you’re in Athens and want to spend some time at the beach, you could take a tram down to Glyfada – it’s a decent option. Better though, take a ferry from Piraeus to Aegina. Aegina is a decent sized island in the Saronic gulf offering  many “typically Greek” attractions: a small traditional port, beautiful sea for swimming and nice beaches, and some ancient culture (Classic and Byzantine in this case). From the centre of Athens, the Metro takes less than 30 minutes to Piraeus, then there...

What to buy in Greece: Support Greek Economy!

Who would want to bring nothing but memories and photos home from holiday? Wouldn’t you just love a little souvenir or two that reminds you of the good times? But then, will you bring it out or use it often enough? My apartment has a fair bit of stuff in, and I hate throwing things away, yet I love to bring more stuff home. So, holiday souvenirs got to be not just pretty, but also tasty or functional and not just fester in a drawer somewhere. But...

Where to go in Greece if you love Animals

I like animals. Especially cats. The site of a stray cat evokes strong wishes to pet, feed and water them and if I had my will, humans would be totally outnumbered by cats in our household. But when you travel to Southern Europe (or, in fact, many countries around the Mediterranean Sea), you will find many stray animals, usually cats and dogs, looking at you with those big hungry eyes. I always feel so sorry for them, and I wish I could do something there and then, but...

Greece in Autumn? Yes, please!

Greece is a wonderful place to visit out of season.  You know, that time when for us Northern European it is time to dig out the winter coats, boots and moan that it is already dark by the time you leave work, is the time to go to Greece, even for a short break. Fill any available  space with UV light,  your brain with a good mood, and put on  3kg of winter fat. I love Greece, and I have only visited a few places, and it...

What to do when the trains leave you stranded

Hallo, I am back at home! And never been more happy to be home! This is a Europe/Germany-specific post, as we have had the second major episode of widespread train disruption (nearly half the country) within four weeks thanks to weather here in Germany, and this time, I was well caught in it. I’ll post this without pictures because I didn’t have a free hand with my case and laptop bag, and coffee and pretzels while winding my way to the end of the platform, and neither...