Greece, which is in recession for years, has been of course under a pressure to liberalize the market, but it has been and is still hesitant to liberalize shop opening hours and opening days. Finally, however, it has started to change it. The shops in Athens and Piraeus could open on the Sunday 3rd November, if they wanted to, to coincide with the mid-season sale.
It was a very warm & nice day, so we decided to take a look at the situation in central Athens. We parked our car somewhere near Zappeio and walked toward Syntagma Square. Here are some snaps from our 90-min stroll.
In Philellinon Street, we saw this new shop in preparation. It looked like a large gourmet food shop.
There are some small grocery stores in Voulis and Nikis streets, but this one seemed larger than these. It is a welcome addition, as far as it does not put "tourist" price.
The center of Athens was full of people. We had difficulty even just to walk.
Of course not everybody was shopping, but there was a good number of locals with shopping bag. I saw later on TV news that only some tens of percents of the shops actually opened on that Sunday, but as far as the central Athens - Ermou Street and around - most of the shops were open, even some small and old shops around Athinas Street. I hope that every workers get repaid for their extra efforts.
We walked from Syntagma to Kapnikarea Church and then walked back along Kolokotroni Street where many new eateries an bars have opened.
Like this one. Booze Cooperativa.
And another one of which name I am not sure (it was written, but the letters so small and complicated that I could not read).
And a souvlaki shop. Several years ago, there was only a few choices if we wanted souvlaki in central Athens, but now choices are plenty. I take this as a sign of decreasing rent in the area.
I stopped here because it was selling souvlaki with revythokeftes (Greek falafel). GH looked at me in a strange manner and bought a pork souvlaki for himself.
The revythokeftes wasn't fried on order, but tasted quite good. I put yogurt sauce in, but could have chosen talamosalata or/and hummus. It was nice to see souvlaki with a bit of fantasy. I liked the fact that the potatoes were not frozen. I made GH try mine. He said it was nice but his pork souvlaki was nicer.
One souvlaki wrap costs 2 Euro here.
Tachyfagion Ellinikon - Ελληνικόν Ταχυφαγείον
Kolokotroni 39, Central Athens
Κολοκοτρώνη 39 , Σύνταγμα, Αθήνα
Hot Hot Burger. The absolute winners of Athens in economic crisis are the shops that sell cheap fast food (souvlaki, pies, sandwiches, etc). Until recently burger bar was unthinkable in such a central area, but now here you are!
Montalbano. I am not sure that this is. Surely it sells coffees and drinks, but not sure if they have food.
One thing attracted my attention was "dolci siciliani" written on the board. I need to go back and check what it is about.
Here is Barley Cargo. This is a new place by a normal standard, but is one of the oldest of the new shops that appeared like mushrooms in the area. It sells a wide variety of beers and some food to go with. I have never tried it, but have heard that it was good and affordable.
Another new bar, Bank Job.
And more bars.
Then we walked toward Kolonaki, along Voukourestiou Street. There we met "C".
We got close to see what it was and found out it was a campaign against Hepatitis C.
In Kolonaki, even a supermarket was open.
At this point, a cousin called us to meet up for a coffee in Nea Smyrni and we left the center. In Nea Smyrni we saw some shops were open till 8 in the evening.
In Greece there is quite a lot of people who do not agree to Sunday openings, because it infringes the workers' right. On the other hand, there are so many people who work on Sundays, like people work in tourism sector, hospitality sector, service sector (including those who work in public transportation), pastry shops and corner shops. How about those people's right? Surely there should be a way to compromise between worker's right and freedom to work. It might difficult to find it in the crisis Greece, but this is another, if related, issue.