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Friday, August 14, 2009

ANAFIOTIKA and MY FAREWELL TO ATHENS


My Friend Giorgos' house in Anafiotika
JUNE 23, 2009
It's my last day here. I leave at 5 a.m the next morning. So I spent the day wandering around some of the places I'd missed. One of my most favorite places, hidden on the south slope of the Acropolis and often missed by tourists, is the little 'village' of Anafiotika.

This collection of typical white-washed cubic houses was built on the slope of the Acropolis by folks from the Cycladic island of Anafi whose village had been destroyed in an earthquake. They came to Athens and worked as cheap labor during the rebuilding of the city after the War of Independance.

You get the feeling you are really in a village, isolated from the bustle of the metropolis. The streets are barely an arm's width, paved with cobblestonoes. The tiny houses are shuttered and have bright bougainvillea spilling over their walls or pots of geraniums and marigolds.


I had a friend, Giorgos, who lived in Anafiotika, and when I first started visiting Greece in 1978, he often invited me to stay with him. Later on, in the '80's, a friend of mine from the States lived there with him for a year. Unfortunately, Giorgos, who was an Australian Greek, died several years ago. So now the house sits empty. But each time I'm in Athens I have to walk by and look, and remember all the times I spent there.



You walk the twisted streets of Anafiotika, and eventually come to a slanting road that leads up to my most favorite viewpoint. I used to go up there often just to sit and meditate. It's quite up there and you can hear the distant sounds of the city. You can hear Athen's 'voice' and feel her pulse. Yes, Athens is a very alive city. And it's that life that has made me love Her so much.

So, on my last day, I went to my meditation place to sit and contemplate the time I'd spent there that summer, reminisce about times gone by, dream about my return.


The view looks down over the red roofs of Plaka, the old city
and out over the sweeping view of the new.
That's Lykavittos Mt. in the background.



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