Bon Appetit!

Anyone for Czech food?

I went out yesterday to a Czech restaurant in Neos Kosmos. Outside, you think you are entering some sort of warehouse. On the inside it looks a bit like a British pub, with wooden panelling and dim lighting. However, the comparison ends there. O Kalos Stratiotis Svejk (Good Soldier Svejk) turned out to be a superb restaurant, with excellent food, a range of choices on the menu and a nice selection of wines.

We tried a traditional salad and main course – fantastic! A king couldn’t have eaten better. The portions were enormous – so much so that I couldn’t finish the main course, unusually for me. The meat was tender and perfectly cooked. Plus, there were these unusual pieces of a kind of thick, almost suety bread to dip in the sauce. Very filling. One thing I noticed was that a lot of the salads seemed to contain nuts – maybe that’s a feature of Czech life? Perhaps there are lots of nut trees there.

It makes a nice change from all the typical Greek tavernas around here. Nice though they are, it’s good to have a bit of variety, and Svejk was just the ticket!

Originally posted to Spinneyworld 04/11/05 by Millie


Today is “Ochi” (no) Day in Greece

This is the day when the Greeks celebrate their resistance against fascism during the Second World War. It’s a bank holiday (Greece seems to have far more of these than other countries!) and anyone interested can go and watch the parade.

There is a parade in each town, or in the case of Athens, a major parade in the centre in Syntagma Square, and lots of other, smaller parades in local areas. It consists of schoolchildren dressed either in school uniform or traditional costumes marching down the street to the applause of the crowd. I went to the main parade at Syntagma Square, and although the school uniforms were rather boring, I must admit that the traditional costumes were interesting to see. There was quite a variety, with different regions of Greece represented. Another highlight of the parade was the young children, members of local cub and brownie groups. They didn’t march so much as amble along, waving Greek flags and smiling brightly at the crowd.

After the parade, we went for a walk through Plaka – more on Plaka to come another time – which was quite crowded, as people were enjoying the hot weather (it’s still like summer here) and taking advantage of the day off to go out for lunch.

An interesting experience. I don’t know any other countries where they dress children up in school uniforms and just watch them march down the street in order to celebrate a national holiday. And this happens twice a year in Greece!

Originally posted to Spinneyworld 28/10/05 by Millie

Back from the Brink!

On Sunday I attended a volleyball match between two first division (Alpha Ethniki) teams – Panellinios and Orestiada.

At the start, the Panellinios fans were celebrating, as the green-shirted guest team, Orestiada, appeared to be half asleep, and Panellinios chalked up point after point, soon leading two sets to nil.

However, after their lacklustre start, Orestiada appeared to wake up, and the next set was fast paced, an exciting game, won clearly by the greens. This brought loud cheers from their fans, who were in the minority in the stands, as Orestiada is a small town far to the north. Despite their small numbers, however, Orestiada’s supporters were by far the most vocal, and perhaps it was thanks to them that their team managed to take the third set and start off with a seven-point lead in the fourth.

The fourth was a tough set, with both teams giving it all they’d got. But, Orestiada held firm and maintained their lead to the end, evening up the score, 2-2.

The tie-break set started with Orestiada going into the lead, but there was soon a moment of tension as Panellinios overtook them. However, feeling demoralised at having been unable to keep their two-set lead, Panellinios did not perform well in the last set, and the green team soon left them far behind to take the match, 2-3. Loud cheering and clapping erupted from their group of fans.

Despite the sleepy start, the game developed well, and Orestiada’s return from disaster was impressively fought and played. All in all, a great match.

Originally posted to Spinneyworld 18/10/05 by Millie

Book Worm

Dionisiou Areopagitou, the pedestrian walkway below the Acropolis, usually a popular place to go for a stroll, is currently taken up by the Book Fair. This is a fairly regular event, and one I particularly like.

I’m not sure if it is just my imagination, but it appeared to be more extensive than last time. However, it could simply be that some of the individual stalls were larger.

Of course, there were all the usual choices of best sellers and new releases, as well as a range of other books on display. One stall sold exclusively maps (it makes you wonder how they manage to turn a profit, or at least make it worth their while – do people really buy that many maps??), while another was obviously sponsored by the Communist Party.

Lots for the kids, plenty of colourful children’s books and some for teenagers on school-related topics (poor things!). There was even a stall selling a few selected titles in foreign languages, mainly English, which I don’t remember having been there last time.

Anyway, the Book Fair always seems to do well, and this time is no exception – I admit I succumbed to temptation myself – with all the books on display it was hard to resist!

Originally posted to Spinneyworld 21/09/05 by Millie

Cultural Festival

Yesterday, as part of the Dafni Cultural Festival, there was a concert held in Dafni Square. A great setting for the event, the Square is quite green, with a lot of trees, and is usually a popular place to go for a drink. The concert was free and consequently well attended. It started out with a young performer who sang in a Western European style, to the accompaniment of traditional Greek instruments. A combination that worked very well and was certainly popular with the audience.

This was followed by the Corfu Choir, who sang more traditional Greek songs, well known to everyone there. The singing was good quality and the only hitch was a small problem that developed with one of the microphones, but this was quickly sorted out.

Special mention should be made of the local singer, born and bred in Dafni. For an amateur performer, I thought she sang very well, and her repertoire had a mix of styles, not simply sticking to one theme.

All in all, the event was a great success, a thoroughly enjoyable (and free!) evening out.

Originally posted to Spinneyworld 20/09/05 by Millie

My virgin post

Time to make my appearance on the spinneyworld stage in Athens. Everyone is still in holiday mood over here, which is fair enough, given the weather. To continue the holiday feeling, there’s a beach volleyball tournament going on here, and yesterday the Greek women’s team got through to play for the bronze medal, instantly shooting up to the status of national heroes. Gold and bronze medal matches are to be held today – and we already know that gold and silver will both go to Brazil, as the match is between two teams from that same country. Kali epitychia, as they say here, to Greece…

Originally posted to Spinneyworld 03/09/05 by Millie