Tuesday, May 22, 2012


Monday is cloudy again.  Isn't Greece supposed to be sunny all the time?  Another quandary. 

I sleep late as usual here.  The hours are turned upside down.  Noon is morning, evening is afternoon.  No matter.  When in Rome...(or is it when in Athens?)

Today I venture out on my own: going to meet Maria for a long stroll in the center.  I am proud to say that I buy the trolley tickets, get off on the right corner (both times), and find my place.  Athens is not an easy city to navigate, especially downtown and some of the neighborhoods: very narrow streets with even narrower sidewalks that are either broken or populated by motorcycles, trash bins, construction sites, cats, and even cars sometimes. No matter. The bitter orange trees are delightful to see as are the acacia trees with their bright blue/purple flowers.  Legend has it that when the Germans occupied Athens during the war they went crazy eating the oranges.  Note: they are not edible.  Go figure those Germans...

Maria takes me to a cafe behind the Numismatic Museum where quiet reigns.  It reminds of the cafe in the Museo de Arte Decorativo in Buenos Aires.  We talk for a long time about our lives before setting off for a walk towards Exarhia.  We stop at the Goethe Institute, a fantastic bookstore/cafe called Free Thinking Zone where the owner tells me that John Cass from The Chicago Tribune had written a nice article about her store a few months ago.  Exarhia is an old neighborhood filled with graffiti and young people dreaming about a better future.  We walk by a small square where junkies are shooting up (seriously - in the open) next to the Law School.  After a few more sights we settle in Alexandrino Cafe for a beer and bruschetta.  We make plans for the next day's visit to the Acropolis Museum.  On the way back to the trolley stop another group of junkies starts fighting and chasing each other (right in front of the university).  No matter.  We watch and keep walking. 

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