30 April, 2009

Sunday in Thissio

This Sunday, we went to Thissio to see Sunday Flea Market. Thissio Flea Market is open 7 days a week, but Sundays, there are more sellers and stalls.

As always, we took 040 bus from Piraeus and arrived at Syntagma. Then we walked along Dionysios Areopagitos Street to Thissio.

It was the day the President of EU Commission Mr. Barrozo was to visit the new Acropolis Museum and there were men in black around.

New Acropolis Museum

Late last year, I heard that it was opening in January 2009, but it was now postponed to June.


These are the vendors.

Treasures (?)

At this point, Hubby started to complain. He does not like used stuff. He called "second-hand" even the antique items, so you guess how he reacted when he saw these.

And we needed to eat before going to a rendez-vous with Hubby's friends in Mikrolimano. We went to Psyrri and stopped at the Naxos Mezedopoleio (I wrote a page about it in the Gate to Greece).

Apart from burnt chips, it was rather fine. Brilliant were the cheese stuffed peppers in the photo above. If you'll be there, don't miss these babies out!

29 April, 2009

Foreign Ministry's Translation Service Office

Last week I went to the Official Translation Service Office in Psirri area of Athens.

This is the place where you obtain official translations of your public or private documents. For example, if you are a graduate from foreign university and need to prove that you have a bachelor degree to Greek public offices, they often ask you to have your certificate translated into Greek by this Translation Service.

For some reason, Greek public offices sometimes look very shabby and the Translation Office is a good example. It is in one of back streets of Psyrri - is it only me who smells always urine in seedy parts of Psyrri? - , and predictably, around the building, there are a lot of scarely looking "foreigners".

My document was in English (they don't do Japanese) and they told me it would take two weeks (there is also express service, but, not being in a hurry, I opted for normal). I had to fill in the form and pay part of the fee (the rest of the fee, when it is done). You need to have your ID number (of ID card or passport) with you when you apply; they don't check the ID on acceptance, but they will when you come to collect the documents.

This is the webpage (in Greek, but don't panic and just use Google Translate; "Greek to English" works pretty well, although "to Japanese" translation is an absolute nightmare and I presumre the same for other minor languages).

Address and Opening Hours :
Arionos 10, Psyrri, 10554 Athens
(Αρίωνος 10, (περιοχή Ψυρρή), 10554 Αθήνα)
(I could not manage to paste the map, so I just place the link).


Then I tried to contact a friend of mine who works in Omonia area (and, no, she isn't a drug dealer), but I could not reach her. While making several attemps, I ate a bougatsa from Krinos and walked around the Central Market.

I noticed for the first time there is an entrance to the Central Market from Aiolou Street; the passage just next to M&S is the one.

From Lesvos Shop on Athinas Street, a street performer was coming out.

I did wonder what he bought.


Later in the day, I met a friend of mine and had some souvlaki together in a psistaria called Gyristroula. See the huge plate.


28 April, 2009

Cocoon in Mikrolimano, Piraeus

This Sunday, Hubby, I and two friends of his met up in Mikrolimano.

Hubby's usual haunt is Marina Zeas, but these friends are not from Piraeus and preferred somewhere more convenient for them.

While Marina Zeas is for people of every age, Mikrolimano is mainly for younger generation, or rather not for elder generation. There are a lot of "beautiful people" around.

Not knowing exactly where to go, we entered a club like cafeteria called Cocoon.

Cocoon in Mikrolimano

It is directly onto the harbour and has a great view. But in price wise, it isn't different from Flocafe or Costa Costa in Marina Zeas.

Problem was that the music (there were two DJs) was too strong that the conversation was difficult. Instead of having a chat over coffees, we ended up in shouting to each other.

Later we noticed too late that the other building of the same cafeteria behind the road was much more quiet.

Smoke from the table next to us created another problem. How much I wished the smoking ban comes in Greece as soon as possible.

While we were walking alongside the row of cafeterias (I think they turn themselves into clubs in the evening), model- or actress-class beautiful women approached us saying "Kalispera Sas" to entice us into their shops. It made me laugh. I don't know. It was kind of surreal. You need to come and see.


Post Scriptum

We revisited Cocoon a few weeks later. Having learnt from the above experience, we stayed in the other building. Although it is farer from the sea, the view actually is quite good.

There was music and wasn't totally quiet, but it was kept to a reasonable volume to let the people speak without shouting to each other.

27 April, 2009

Glass Brush Flowers

With the temperature rising, there are more and more flowers opening.

This tree has blossoms similar to glass-brushes.

Or, looks a bit like a certain type of catapillers.


25 April, 2009

New Entries: Tolo and Vari

I added two pages to the Gate to Greece.


ToloTolo is a town near Nafplio; we stayed there last year, because we could not find economy class accomodation in Nafplio. If you want to visit the area and have a car, but do not have to spend a fortune in accomodation, staying Tolo is a good option.


Vari is a small town in Attica famous for the concentration of many meat restaurants. As it is on the road from Athens Airport to Athens, I have passed there many times but never stopped there.

To be very honest with you, probably it is not worth going changing 3 buses as we did, but if you have a car and want to be somewhere different from central Athens, why not?

24 April, 2009

Greek White Asparagus

I did not know Greece produces white asparagus.

Yes, the label is written in German, but what it says is "Greek Asparagus". I found this in LIDL supermarket. It was 2.29 euros for half a kilo and I thought it was cheap.

I removed the outer skin of the lower part, boiled and ate with usual oil, salt and olive oil. They were slightly bitter and really flavourful.

Greeks are not big aspragus eaters. At Laiki market, I see them, but not very common (at least for now). Maybe wild asparagus is commoner. I wish I can find them more often.

22 April, 2009

Easter Eggs

Some photos from the Pascha.

Greek Easter Bread, Tsoureki or Lampropsomo.

I bought this from a bakery in my neighbourhood. 700 gramme bread for 6 euros. Tasted not bad, but was too dry for my taste; I guess it tastes better, if I make bread pudding with it.

Mom-in-Law made her special Easter bread, instead.

I wondered what Κ.Π. means and asked Bro-in-Law who thought they were really Χ.Π. for Χρόνια Πολλά. Never Mind...

Red eggs for the egg cracking game. I won once, but lost on the other side.

The ones above were dyed by Mom-in-Law, but these below were sold painted.

They were beautiful, but not particularly appetizing.

Easter Sunday was a very fine day - sunny and warm. After the big Easter lunch, we went out for coffee with friends.

I had mint tea: glass pot and tea cup were beautiful in the sun.

21 April, 2009

Pagotomania (Glyfada, Attiki)

Yesterday, Deftera tou Pascha, Hubby and I went for an excursion to Vari and Glyfada. In the morning, it was cloudy, but in the afternoon it got cleared up and there was a lot of sun and it was really warm.

In short, it was a perfect ice cream day.

Pagotomania (Παγωτομανία) is an expanding chain of ice cream shops and I have seen three of them, in Psyrri, Piraeus Port, and this one in Glyfada. I am sure that there are also in other places; you can check it out on their website http://www.pagotomania.gr/.

The Glyfada branch is in the town centre, in the middle of bifteki restaurants of Odos Konstantinoupoleos.

There are many tables in the half-open ground floor and there are tables in upstairs as well.

Regarding ice creams and sorbets, there were about 30 different flavours. You may either take away or eat in, with a small supplement for the table service.

After a meat feast in Vari, I did not have much space in the stomach and had only one scoop of pistachio ice cream with topping of whipped cream. At the table, 1 scoop of ice cream costs 1.90 euros and 2 scoops for 3.80 etc. It is cheaper for take-out, but I did not see how much. Whipped cream topping was 0.50 euro. Flappe was 3 euros. (All the prices here are correct at the moment of writing).

Pistachio ice cream

Pistachio ice cream is notoriously difficult flavour, but Pagotomania version had decent pistachio taste, slightly bitter and fragrant. It was very creamy. Although personally I prefer less creamy Italian gelato type ice cream, those who like creamy ice cream would like Pagotomania.

Whipped cream wasn't real bovine milk cream, but for 0.50 euro, it isn't even expected.

It wasn't my favourite type of ice cream, but I guess it is good for high fat content ice cream lovers.

Konstantinoupoleos 5

より大きな地図で Glyfada を表示

20 April, 2009

Megari Paraskevi Photos

Χριστός Ανέστη!

I did not have time to write this blog these days, but I want to upload some photos just for my memory's sake.

These are myrrophores just before the evening service.

The myrrophores throw flour petals to Jesus's Epitaphio; they represent three Marys who went to Jesus's tomb.

Do you see the purple cloth covering two columns in front of the church. Also inside the church was decorated with pieces of purple cloth and the priests were wearing purple garment. It is because in Greece purple is the colour of funeral.

The photo below was taken during the morning service. The red and white thing you see at the centre is the Epitaphios.

In the Orthodox church I used to go in England, the Epitaphios was decorated with white and purple flowers. So, the Greek Epitaphios looked as if celebrating.

18 April, 2009

Καλή Ανάσταση και Καλλό Πάσχα

I have been a bit disorganised in time wise because of heavy church-going and have not had time to write on this blog.

I bought some meat and some cheese and milk for the week from tomorrow. Besides, I bought a Toureki from the usual bakery in my neighbourhood.


Tsoureki is Greek Easter bread. It is similar to Brioche, but has particular smell because of mahlepi and mastiha. Because of butter and egg content, it is suitable for the fat week ahead.

I wish all the Orthodox people happy Easter tomorrow.

16 April, 2009

New Entry: Pyramid of Elliniko

I added a page on Ellinikó (or Helleniko) Pyramid in Argolis.


It is a pyramid-shaped construction, but much smaller than Egyptian pyramids and different in use. Some Greeks want to believe this pyramid is more ancient than the Egyptian ones, but the besis of such belief seems to be weak.

Be the way, I added several pages to Akrokorinthos section.


This is the top page and please navigate using the menu at the left side. Unfortunately I don't have information for most of these Mediaeval and early modern monuments, and I hope to be able to investigate more in future. Please do take a look, if you are a fan of post-Byzantine architecture; they look magnificent.

15 April, 2009

Revythalevro (chick pea flour)

Visited for the first time an Indian grocery shop in Piraeus. I hew that it was there for a long time, but had never actually entered as I have not cooked Indian food since I moved to Grece.

It did not have vast variety of things, but I could at least find what I was looking for.

Chick pea flour (left) and coriander powder (right).

I don't know why, but the supermarkets near me sell only whole coriander and no powder. As I don't have spice grinder, I could not buy whole coriander. There are spice marchants at laiki markets, but their spices do not look particularly fresh and tend to be expensive.

Chick pea flour (besan flour) is very convenient during Orthodox fasting period, but the Greeks evidently do not have tradition to eat it. It is curious, because in Italy, whose cooking has many ingredients common with the Greek one, they have chick pea flour - farina di ceci.

With it, I cooked onion bhaji and chick pea pancakes.

By the way, Megari Tetarti (Holy Wednesday) is, as well as Megari Paraskevi, the day we are not supposed to eat oil (some say that it is OK, if it isn't olive oil) as well as all the usual prohibited food. I am not so strict as not to eat for lunch the lentil soup (including olive oil) remained from yesterday's supper, but I need to cook something safe for dinner. Rather annoying task, I have to say.

14 April, 2009

Kyriaki ton Vaion (Palm Sunday)

This Sunday (12 April 2009) was Κυριακή των Βαΐων, Greek Orthodox Palm Sunday.

Hubby and I have been lazy to go to church in the morning recently, but we thought we should at least on this important festivity (the day Jesus entered Jerusalem, or so claimed - it is a movable feast as is Easter and cannot be an exact historical date).

To be honest, we arrived late (I have an excuse to have waited for Hubby to wake up and to finish his coffee!) and the church was full. As you can imagine there are numbers of people receiving communion. We didn't and got only Antidoron (pieces of bread at the end of service).

On the Kyriaki ton Vaion, people usually get laurel branches at the church, but the one we wend did not have ones to 'take away'.

We got this branch from my Mom-in-Law who went to another church.

During the Lenten period, there are two days we are allowed to eat fish and Ton Vaion is one of them (the other being Annunciation day - 25 March). I bought this fish from Laiki Market on Saturday.

Not that I bought only one. They are very small fish, about 10-12 centimetre long (my internet image search suggests that they can grow larger). It is called Μπάλας - Μπαλάδες) and evidently belong to bream family. They are nice pink and really beautiful. It is cheap fish; only 4 euros a kilo.

As they were small, I fried them (here is about half a kilo of balades).

They were delicious. Meat was tasty with a flakey texture of bream family. Only downside was that small bones were rather hard and sharp; it might have been better, if I cooked them longer.

After lunch, we went out to meet to friends and relatives in Marina Zea. Ritual of 4 hour coffee time; Greeks love it, but honestly it is too long for me.

11 April, 2009

Strolling in Plaka and Thissio

Today is Palm Sunday. We are supposed to go to church, but Hubby is still sleeping. I don't know if we are really going.

By the way, these are the photos taken on this Friday.

As it was Friday, Hubby said we have to go to stay out in the evening and we made an appointment at Monastiraki Station. Having arrived early, I took a walk around Plaka.

It has been some time since the last time I saw Lysikrates Monument. There was quite a lot of people hanging around in the small park in front.

Lysikrates Monument

There is Hadrian's Arch behind me; I quite like this location.

A train was running through a street of Plaka.

Obviously, no. It wasn't a train, but a tourist 'bus' in the shape of train. I guess it is a good way to see the main tourist attractions in the area for those who have difficulty in walking. Elders and families with very young children, for example.

Now, wisteria is blooming.

I don't see wisterias in Piraeus, but there are some in this area. The combination of purple wisteria and the old mansion was strikingly beautiful.

Hubby arrived late at the appointment and was too tried to stroll, with a heavy laptop bag hanging on his shoulder. We walked toward Thissio and ended up in a mezedopoleio called Kallipateira.

We avoided very busy Adrianou Street and entered in a back street and avoided meat restaurants (we are still in Lenten period). It was a very pleasant night and we sat at one of the outdoor tables. We ordered 4 plates (one arrived late for this photo call) and a bottle of beer.

In the food wise, it wasn't better than the average and 2 euros for 4 thin and small sliced bread were really too expensive.

Kallipateira on TrustedPlaces

We then took ISAP (Ilektriko) to go home.

10 April, 2009

Watermelon Gum

This is a new taste of Trident gum: Watermelon.

It was a sample that came with a magazine I bought a week ago. Hubby ate it and liked it. It smelled rather like melon, though.


Tomorrow, there is a call to boycott all the cafeterias to protest against the high price of coffees. Reportedly the price of coffee in Athens is much higher than in other European countries and especially so when you consider the average national income.

So, if you agree, take your coffee at home tomorrow or go to eat souvlaki instead of drinking coffee. Och. I forgot that we are fasting.


There is a prospect that the taxi fee will rise by 100% within the course of one year. I agree that here in Athens or in Piraeus, the price of taxi is absurdly low (but on islands or in less populated places, I noticed that the taxi charge is much higher), but raising the price at this moment of economic crisis sounds imprudent. There is a possibily that the people just start using less to save money.

Besides, with the increase of price, they will ban the taxi drivers to put more than one or one group of customers at the same time. I thought it was a great ideat to save energy to put more than one or one group who are directing for the same direction.

I foresee that they will rethink the proposal viewing the current economic climate, but they will do it sooner or later.

09 April, 2009

New Entry: Edem in Palaio Faliro

New entry in Eating in Athens section: Edem restaurant in Palaio Faliro.


I was much impressed by the way they clear the tables: fold everthing in paper tablecloth.

By 'everything' I mean dishes and cutlery as well as food rubbish and used paper napkins (I am not sure of glasses as they are fragile). Everything on the table was wrapped in the paper table cloth and put on a huge tray that waiter put on the shoulder and brought to the kitchen.

I have seen this method with food waste, but not with dishes and cutlery.

Foreign groceries

Living in a foreign country often brings about a difficulty in obtaining groceries of your own country, or better, groceries that you have been used to.

I am not so much interested in Japanese groceries (so far as I know, there are Japanese grocery shops in Syntagma area and Halandri in Athens), but I live much better with Chinese, Indian, and East Asian food stuff. In the city where I used to live in UK, there wasn't so much of a problem, as there were so many Chinese (from China and from elsewhere) and 'Asians' (English term for Indians, Pakistani and Bangladeshi), I could get almost anything I wanted.

Here in Piraeus, there are many foreigners, but not so many Chinese or 'Asians' as in the town I used to live and I needed to do some search, and the other day, I found a shop that seems to be able to supply some of the groceries I wanted.

There were not so many Japanese items, but to my surprise, I found this.

This is Japanese Tempura flour. I have never bought it even in Japan, because I mix it by myself, but it was nice to see something familiar.

This shop has a bit of everything from every region of the world, and one of the featured areas was Middle and South America.

These are dried giant corn. A friend of mine who lives in Mexico told me that in Mexico this type of corn is used for soup. There were also other types corns, yellow, black and white.

But I bought less exotic things (at least for me).

Prawn flavoured noodles, rice flour noodles, Chinese white tea and tom yam soup stock. I will try other stuff when Sarakosti finishes.

08 April, 2009

Pedestrian Sideways in Piraeus (4.1)

On 29th March, I published this photo on this blog (the previous post here).

These photos were taken about a week later.

Can you see the cardboard boxes. These are not trush, but someone put them on purpose to avoid someone unwittingly passing under the dangerous ceiling.

You would expect in such a case civil servants see to the safety measures; it is well known that Greece is notorious for employing so many people in public sector. But to safeguard the citizens, they evidently cannot spare any resource. Again, this is hapening in not one of the seedy back street, but in the central Politechnio Avenue!

07 April, 2009

New Entry: Nafplio

A few days ago I uploaded a page on Nafplio (Νάυπλιο - it is variously rendered in Latin alphabet as Nafplio, Nauplion or Navplio).


It was part of our trip to Argolis and Korinthia last summer. To tell the truth, we see very little of Nafplio apart from the town itself, because our first objective was to have lunch with my ex-colleague who now lives in Argos. For this reason, there are only few photos from Nafplio and there isn't much to write about it on Gate to Greece. But, we had a very good time and let it be so. I am sure we will have chance to return there.

06 April, 2009

Flisvos Park

Went to Flisvos Park this Sunday by tram.

From the park, there is a nice view of Attiki coast. We could recognise Kastella of Piraeus.

Believe it or not, there were already quite lots of people swiming. And I can tell you it wasn't really hot.

Could not wait. I imagine.

We then entered Koimiseos Theotokou Palaiou Falirou (Κοιμήσεως Θεοτόκου Παλαιού Φάληρου).

There was a baptismal ceremony going on.