Athens, Greece

Name: Anonymous

Attractions:
-The Acropolis (including the Parthenon, the Theatre of Dionysus, the Erechtheion)
-The Acropolis Museum
-The Ancient Agora
-The Panathenaic Stadium (the site of the first modern Olympic games in 1896)
-The National Archaeological Museum: See the famous Mask of Agamemnon and dozens of the kouros statues
-The Byzantine Art Museum
-Monastiraki Flea Market : Walk around and shop for jewelry, coins, and other small gifts (Be sure to go to the Poet Sandal Maker and have him hand craft you a pair of leather sandals just as he did for Sarah Jessica Parker and the Beatles! Check out the website here http://melissinos-poet.com/eng/index.html)
-Nightlife in Gazi and Psirri
-Mount Lycabettus (climb it and then enjoy a glass of wine as you view Athens from the top!)
-Syntagma (See Constitution Square, the setting of many of the famous protests, and watch the changing of the guards)

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Food: In Greece, it is customary to grab a pastry (filled with different types of cheese, ham and cheese, spinach, or other things) or a koulouri (kind of like a bagel) for breakfast along with a frappe (a sweet iced coffee), although the natives usually settle for a cigarette and a frappe. Lunch is eaten late in the afternoon and accompanied by a siesta. Dinner is eaten late (often 8,9, or 10 pm) and it a long affair with many courses, many glasses of wine, great friends, and great conversation. Meals eaten out at a taverna (restaurant) are a very social affair and are meant to be lingered over.

What to eat:
-Grab a gyro (usually pork or chicken in Athens). It involves a pita stuffed with meat, tzatziki (a sauce made with yogurt, garlic, and cucumbers), onions, lettuce, tomato, and French fries.
-Have some Greek yogurt (many places in Athens offer it frozen). It’s delicious with nutella or honey!
-Indulge in a pastry made with flaky filo dough from one of the many bakeries! Be sure to indulge in some baklava!
-Grab some friends and go to a taverna! (Be sure to order the house wine and tap water so you don’t waste money.) Order moussaka, saganaki (fried cheese), tzatziki, spanakopita (spinach and cheese pie), turokafteri (delicious cheese dip), grape leaves, horiatiki (classic Greek salad known as “village salad”) and whatever else your waiter recommends! Don’t be afraid to try something crazy; you just might love it! Try to avoid tourist traps and travel to areas a little further a walk from the acropolis to get authentic food. (If you only see other tourists there, go somewhere else!)

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Faith: The prevailing religion in Greece is Greek Orthodoxy, although there are some (small) populations of Catholics, Muslims, Protestants, and Jews. When entering a Greek Orthodox church, it is usually expected for women and men to dress modestly (sometimes women are even required to wear long skirts and sweaters to cover their shoulders). Make sure that you are appropriately dressed before entering a place of worship!

For a list of Catholic churches in Athens, check out this very helpful directory: http://www.thecatholicdirectory.com/directory.cfm?fuseaction=search_directory&country=gr&absolutecity=Athens

 

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