On the day after Christmas, we walked down to the centre of Athens past Syntagma Square, overlooked on its east side by the Greek Parliament building. We were headed to the far side to a vegetarian restaurant recommended to us. It proved to be good food, but slightly unusual Greek fare – taking its inspiration from a number of cultures. It seemed popular with the younger crowd and we were lucky to get a table. Replete from such delicacies as savoury stuffed quince and aubergine rolls with smoked Metsovo cheese, we felt the need to stretch our legs on the way back home. Reaching the square, in front of the parliment building, we found ourselves in a crowd in a holiday mood. Peddlers wandered with enormous bouquets of helium filled balloons in the shape of every conceivable cartoon caracter.
Mickey and Minnie Mouse accompanied Santa in greeting the revelers. And, acrobats performed to the booming sounds a rock adaptation of Greek Rebetika music.
Last, but not least, stands of street food lined the pavements, including the usual souvlaki grills and other festive nibbles, but some more interesting seasonal foods. Roast corn on the cob and chestnuts, a speciality of the colder months.
Loukoumades – fried Greek doughnuts. Any holiday is an excuse for these sweet treats.
Dispensers of salep (phone orders?). Salep is a viscous hot white drink made from the dried ground tubers of indigenous orchids. Definitely a seasonal drink for the discerning palatte – not everyone’s tipple. It is traditionally made in countries formerly part of the Ottoman Empire. Notice the juxtaposition of the old and the new drink stalls!
And, finally, in the National Gardens behind the Parliament building green parakeets feasting on their own version of street food.
Lovely to see the city in festive mode.
Καλή Χρονιά from Athens!