An ancient city
Athens was a fascinating journey into some of the most ancient standing structures that exist in this world today. Here is where great art, architecture and culture collided not only in the past but still today.
Sweeping city views were abundant from the top of the Acropolis (my favorite site to visit in Athens) to the top of our hotel, the Poseidon, which also lined a private beach at the edge of the city. After a long sweaty day of sight seeing, it was great to retreat to the rooftop hotel pool and bar.
Our first Greek dinner in Athens was one to remember. We were guided through the cobbled winding streets toward the parthenon. Lights from open souvie shops and tiny bars spilled out onto the street, guiding our path. At last we reach the bottom of a wide and tall set of stairs. When looking up one could see the orange and yellowish glow of the parthenon. All along the steps were bars, cafes, and restaurants with tables not just inside but outside the business on the actual steps. The steps were crammed with people!
At Geros Tou Moria (Plaka neighborhood) we were entertained by a group of traditional Greek dancers and singers as we ate. A small group of our numbers were even pulled up to join the dancers! It was great fun, even if we were all a little jet lagged!
Some quick and dirty pointers on a few Greek phrases you should know before you go!
- Yasas! -- a way to say "hello!"
- Neró, parakaló -- "Water, please!" For all those raging nights out, this was a life safer. The locals loved that I asked in Greek and were speedy to respond. I even was asked twice if I was really Greek!
- Opa! and Yamas! -- Most people like to use the popular phrase "opa" as a form of cheers to kick back those drinks. But to do it the real authentic Greek way, you would say "Yamas", Yamas means "to your health". Opa is a phrase equivalent too "Oops!" or "Hey!" which is why you'll remember hearing it during a dance at a Greek wedding or after someone drops a plate (intentionally or unintentionally) in every Greek movie in existence.
- Parakaló and Efcharistó -- Please and thank you! Momma always said mind your P&Qs. The accented o's have all the emphasis and the "ch" is that back of the throat "ha" like you would hear in Hebrew speakers today, but not quite as harsh.