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Thursday, September 02, 2010

HANGING OUT WITH FRIENDS

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Last night I moved from the Villa Olympia where I've been staying, over to Philoppapou to my friend Christina's house.  This is a new house and it seems strange to not be in her other one where I've stayed many times over the years. But this is quite a luxury house in comparison and last night it was lovely sitting in the patio garden chatting over a glass of krasi.  Her friend Margaret is also staying there. Margaret is Welsh, and used to work in tourism here so I've met her before.  It's so nice to be back with old friends again. And this weekend I'll be going to stay awhile with Dinaz, my lovely Persian Princess friend, then back again to Chris's for the last week here.

At the To Kati Allo Taverna with my friends Carola and Christina

Today I was browsing Plaka looking for a larger suitcase.  I have accumulated a few extra things, souvenirs and such, and don't want to pay another 40 euro for excess baggage when I go home.  So I need a larger suicase and that will solve the problem.  It has cooled off somewhat so it was very pleasant walking around today.  I just took my time, stopped for breakfast at the former Moroccan Chicken Corner (now the posh Grill restaurant) then meandered down to Monastiraki Flea Market.  While I was in that vicinity I went over to see Dimitri, the icon painter.  If  you look on TRAVEL THRU HISTORY http://www.travelthruhistory.com/ you will see (under Arts/Lit) a story my friend Anna Britt and I did about Dimitri and his wonderful icons.  He was so pleased to see me and told me that he knew about the story in the ezine because some people had read it and came to his shop. 

After browsing around Monastiraki awhile I went over to another old familiar haunt,  just between the Roman Agora and Hadrian's Library, to where the old Poulakis Taverna used to be (now replaced by something fancier). That was my very first hangout in Athens from 1979 until the early years of '83 when I discovered Plaka Square and the Dirty Corner.  I remember the old fellow Ioannis who used to run it and after he died, his wife, and my favorite waiter Aris.  Last year Aris was working next door at the Acropolis Taverna, another nice place we enjoy going to dine.  I asked if he was still working but his friend told me he has retired now and is living in Patras with his family.  I did see him last year and have a great photo of him and me. 

Then I went over to Adrianou and Aeolou St. to the corner taverna which was another old hangout in the early years.  I recall a flirtation I'd had with one of the waiters there, Vassilis, that managed to go on for a couple of visits to Greece.  I used to stay at the old Tempi Hotel just up the street on Aeolou for the first few years I visited Greece.  Of course, it's fancied up a bit now too.  I used to get a room for what amounted to $5 a night when Greece still had the drachmae and there are a lot of funny memories about that old place too.

During those years I wasn't even aware of Plaka Square.  It was at Poulakis that I met George Boutsinas who had a nice old house up in Anafiotika under the Acropolis. He has since passed away, as have so many of the others.  I also met Connie there, the African American gal who I ended up living with for a year in 1983 over in Koukaki.  The other day I located the tiny dead-end street where our apartment was on Iannatakis Street.  Lots of memories of those days,  and I am getting closer to starting those memoirs about it all.  I have a box full of journals to remind me.  And I was saying to Carol at the Villa Olympia, it would be a good place for me to stay and write the memoirs as if I have forgotten some details, she will be sure to remember.  She's been here a long, long time and knew a great many of the people I did.

2 comments:

marula said...

Tempi Hotel ... $5 ... I just checked their website & it's €38 for a single with shared bath this summer! Our favorite old hotel was $6 a night back then, later +/-$18, now it's at least €60 for the same old twin room! I miss the Drachma!

Wynn Bexton said...

Oh my god. That's the first place I ever stayed in Greece. It was something like 400 drachmae back in 1979. I stayed there several times until I moved there in l983 and a friend and I had a very nice 2 bedroom apt. in Koukaki for only $80. a month!!! When I got the flat in Plaka it was $100 a month! Just imagine. I really feel they should never have left the drachmae. It got so expensive there when they converted to the Euro that's another reason why I decided not to go back there to live.