The following is a collaboration between writer and photographer to capture the true essence of Athens. Athens, often viewed as the tourist trap of Greece, is, in fact, one of the most underrated cities in Greece. Written from the perspective of a 6-month visitor and photographed through the eyes of a local, here is a small peek into the many wonders Athens can uncover for the curious eye.
I’ve been to Athens before, in the summer. My recollections mostly involve heat; also that there are fruit trees everywhere: figs far lusher than any I’ve ever seen in England and citrus trees every 20 feet or so, the fruits of which lie rotting in the street because of their superabundance. Athens is cold in the Winter. I’m here in January and while it’s not actually snowing (I’m told this is also common) the wind is bitter. There’s often not much respite indoors; the houses here being designed more to keep cool in the summer than warm in the winter.
Nowhere here is safe from graffiti. Nothing here is sacred. As I walk around Monastiraki and Plaka, I pass ancient temples and agorae. I’m sure they don’t even know what half of this stuff is. There’s just so much of it, I’m not sure they’ve quite got ’round to identify it all. I know, for example, that the expansion of the subway (before the economic crisis) was constantly being halted by this or that ancient relic being found, inconveniently, in the way.
If you want the rustic, untouched charm of a Greek island or the classiness of the Amalfi coast in Italy, go there. Athens is too hot in the Summer and too cold in the Winter; it’s ugly, filthy and malodorous but that’s because it’s alive. It’s my favorite city in the world.
Photography: Myrtw Kwn