Thursday, April 13, 2017

Athens is booming! - My new list..until the next one!

I will not stay at the serious financial, social and psychological problems that my country is facing the last years, neither the tremendous efforts that my friends and all the Greek residents are putting in order to stay “alive” during these difficult times.

I just want to describe my experience, being in Athens a week, almost a tourist in my own country and being amazed from the creative, vivid atmosphere that flows around the city.

Of course, Athens was always a capital of the world, rich in history and open-minded enough to embrace and to inspire creative minds; with a particular vibe, a vibe of life, that you could feel strolling around the city centre.
But now, more than ever, Athens downtown is booming! It is full of art, street performances, creative concepts of all day bars and restaurants, combining the traditional and the modern, the old and the new, the values with the evolution.

So, this is my new list from downtown Athens.. until the next one!

Greek Gourmet Shops

“Gusto di Grecia” a delicatessen shop specialised in genuine traditional Greek products from all over the country. Careful selection of products, directly from the source, healthy options and authentic tastes, kind and helpful staff know all the details of the products, excellent value for money, a simple small gourmet store that feels familiar. Just make sure you have some space in your suitcase!

Yolenis Flagship Store - The first concept store of Greek tastes,  it is a place not to be missed! 6 floors, each one offering a different experience, from the Greek traditional delicatessen designed on a traditional 1950-60s local grocery concept, to the bakery with the best handmade pita ever, to the butcher shop, to the restaurant for a nice lunch break, with a floor dedicated to organising cooking classes and olive or wine tasting, make sure you have some time to spend there when you go!

Greek-style Aperitivo Concept Bars

Babaarum, the House of Spirits has many stories to say. Quality cocktails, with Rum on the spot, blended with selected spirits around the world and combined with organic, locally produced herbs. Inspired by the Avant Garde movement that you can feel all around the place, it sets up a new intention, a tradition in transition! It has been included among the 50 Best Bars in the World 2016. Follow their blog and attend one of their music or cocktail theme sessions or just pass by for an aperitivo!

Odori, Vermuteria di Atene, a gastropub; the Greek version of the Italian Vermouth-Bar that we first met in Torino many years ago, integrated into a small botanical garden in the heart of Athens, takes the experience into another level. The successful team that we met before in Clumsies and the Palmitas the first pop-up bar in Greece, including the head bar tender Manolis - among the 6 best bar tenders in the world, they simply make art.  Enjoy the catalogue and the stories of the signature cocktails, the home made vermouth based spirits or make your own negroni - Easy relaxing atmosphere during the day, aperitivo lounge mode during the afternoon, nice party during the night!

Noel, a Holiday Bar that smells Christmas all year round. Different rooms all in unique retro stylish ambience and an arcade, market-style corridor that feels like a pedestrian road with coffee tables, Noel travels you in space and time and offers a warm atmosphere that feels like home. The mixology team at its best, rotating also their creations around the tables from time to time, the place is also recommended for brunch or lunch during the day or a catch up with a friend. The music is mainly Cafe Paris and gypsy jazz in the afternoons and jazz souk and funk in the evenings. Check out also the happenings and  cultural events at the first floor at Noel Etage.

Zillers Rooftop; On the other side of Syntagma, going down the Mitropoleos street you will find the Zillers Boutique Hotel on the foot of Acropolis embracing the exceptional design with the history! An architectural masterpiece in a neoclassical building, with an urban paradise on the top floor!  The view from the rooftop is just stunning! A new hotspot, offering  exceptional dishes, creative cocktails or just an urban escape in magic!

Food for Thought!

Still at the city centre, close to Kerameikos, but hidden at the recently revived Avdou Square, Seychelles travels you more to a village ambience and somehow you wonder how this name came from! I am sure there is a reason! Simple dishes, with local ingredients from various corners of Greece, homemade wine and friendly staff. Recommended to visit during a weekday and enjoy the weather and the atmosphere at the tables outside on the square – if you go evening time or during the weekend, you need a reservation and a bit of different sense of time!  I will definitely go back for the “pappardelle with kavourma”!

And then, after lunch coffee at the opposite side of the square at the Blue Parrot (Ble Papagalos in Greek) and the travel in time continues! A vintage haunt, inspired from 60s with grandma delicacies and authentic tastes from the past! Definitely a place to visit, especially if you are looking for your blue parrot… do not hesitate to ask for the full legendary story of  the Cuban rare-species-of-birds collector which was the inspiration for this beautiful retro all day café.

Gifts with soul and taste

A walk at the refreshed Andrianou street at the picturesque neighborhood of Plaka and Monastiraki was a pleasant surprise! The effort that commenced in Athens and the whole country a few years ago, from different individuals, local startups, designers, architects and young creative people is now starting to flourish! Creative souvenirs, gifts for the whole family and for friends abroad, items with aroma of Greece, useful, modern, well designed items that usually you find at museums of modern art, clothes that you really fancy to wear!
Forget Me Not shop at Andrianou 100 is a revolution at contemporary Greek design and memorabilia field, gathering carefully selected items that you just want to have or buy for your loved ones! Super friendly staff, do not miss the second space on the basement, more focused on fashion and accessories

On the same concept, now also at Athens International Airport, Anamnesia came to stay and its collection is full of colours that bring back warm summer memories from your last trip to Greece, from your childhood, from the little things in life! A shop to stop! Designed from local designers, you can find several items, from T-shirts to decorative items for the home, to accessories and small gifts for everyone, all inspired from the Greek summer and its everyday life!

Another revolution is the 6-storey Apivita Experience Store, near Kolonaki square. It all started as a pharmacy inspired by the honeybee society and the holistic approach of Hippocrates to health, beauty and well-being. Now Apivita inspires a holistic way of life with innovative stores and products in many countries of the world. Every corner and every floor of the flagship experience store in Athens is carefully designed and has a story to say. A Natural Pharmacy where you can create your own personal cosmetics, combining essential oils and aromatherapy with active ingredients such as minerals, vitamins, aloe vera etc., an Organic juice bar, the Lecture Hall, a cultural and intellectual focal point for art exhibitions and seminars,the first “green” hair salon in Athens and the Beehive Spa where you can experience the unique effects of the precious bee products

Bio Restaurants & Best Brunches in Town

For organic and bio breakfast and meals, the Nice & Easy with Mediterranean farm-to-table signature dishes, as well as the new entry IT Restaurant a few steps away in Skoufa, offer great choices of organic meals, integrating fresh local products on gourmet dishes and great artistic ambience; while the sweet vegetarian Avocado, at Syntagma square is not just a healthy food corner, but it is more about a community and a way of life!   At the same tine, the pedestrian Aiolou street is thriving, and it offers great solutions of a nice brunch or a shopping break. We tried the Harvest, one of the best brunch in town, Spanish inspired tastes and great music!

Hidden corners from the past
#Life is Art

Last but not least, a couple of old favourites that i always try to find the time to visit, the 48 Urban Garden, a food-truck restaurant and bar, inspired from a contemporary airstream that was redesigned as a fully equipped food truck. Various levels with wooden platforms, benches and picnic tables, great food, signature long drinks infused with local herbs and spirits and one of the best Sunday brunch in town! It is located on the ground floor of Ileana Tounta Contemporary Art Centre, so depending on the time of the day you can pop up on artistic events or exhibitions.

And of course the Six Dogs: a forgotten back-yard full of garbage transformed to a hidden paradise. An all day/night cultural entertainment centre at the heart of Monastiraki, organically combines a Gig Space, a Project Space, a Bar, a Foyer and a Garden - the diversity of the people visiting the place and the events hosted there represent exactly the diversity of the city of Athens. Stop for a homemade refreshment and a bit during the day or pass by for a cool drink later on!

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

The mood and the conspiracy of the aeroplane

Is it the unknown? Even if it is known?
Is it the feeling of "flying", the fact that you soar high above the clouds, 
which creates contradictory feelings... 
how small and how big we are at the same time?!

I feel always in love while flying. 
With someone, with something, with you, with me! 
And i am dreaming, i make plans. I am writing..
And no-one bothers, nobody interferes - It is like a conspiracy!
A revealing conspiracy!

Monday, July 25, 2016

Life is a Camera!

Life is like a Camera!
you have many options, between the compact digital one, 
the ones with fully manual operation, the old school instant
or the adventurous go-pro.
You chose your style and you shoot!
And then you edit, you delete, you share!
Colorful or black & white, with filter or with shades, 
each photo is unique,
like the moments it captures!

Be creative and smile!
The energy of the photographer is transferred through the lens!

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Eros - Reality or Fantasy

In Greek Mythology the God of Intimate Love, 
Desire and Attraction;
Aphrodite’s son is linked with several myths 
and fairy-tales;

The bow-armed boy with wings, 
shoots his arrows around; 
usually depicted blindfolded, backing up the fact that 
love is blind

In the blind madness of love, 
reality and fantasy are mixed; 
the mind travels as if one views life 
through the splendor of the Master-View, 
this charming plastic box of our childhood

Click! … And play! 
Choose your next frame and make it happen!

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Alikey in the World of Myths: A fashionable fairytale for young minds!

Once upon a time, there was Ali-key (the Greek Alice) in the World Of Myths.
She was holding a Key, to open the doors of old stories,
to unfold the grandma fairy-tales,
to revive traditional toy tales, to reveal dreams,
play with the fate,
use her imagination and create fashion and mood.. and history!

Ali-key is beyond age and “frozen” beliefs ,

she has the energy and shape of a young girl,
the wisdom and quiet attitude of an elderly woman ..
She is visionary, she brings together memories and experiences with the dreams and visions ..
 she combines the old and the new,
the retro with the modern, she is not black and she is not white.
Her avra is green, yellow, purple, blue and all the colours of the rainbow.

You feel that you know her, she captivates your mind..,

you recognize parts of your self, she inspires you.
It reminds you of who you are.. And then you do not wonder anymore!
you have the answers and you have the keys!

She will be the protagonist of our stories for as long as it gets

 - anyway she is like that, like the shootings stars!

Friday, December 4, 2015

2 years later...

... Probably the first time in my life at one place
with long-term plan of 7 more years to go
 (i know, i know, life is so unpredictable, but after-all there must be a plan
in order to be ruined or not..!)

.. Probably the first time in my life that i am not moving around,
 thus now i realize how much distance I have been traveled,
but this time inwards,
 easing a little bit the noise, going a few steps back,
focusing a little bit on me and my dreams,
entering the adulthood mode
(sometimes sucks!)
while at the same time becoming a little girl growing fast.

And then i understand that the famous quote that i love
"life is like riding the waves..
in order to keep your balance you have to keep moving..",
 can have a lot of different meanings!

Sunday, August 25, 2013

A Strange Girl...


  • Loves the summer, follows the sun and gets the sea view wherever she lives, but she also loves a weekend on a mountain full of snow
  • Walks on high heels, but at home is always barefoot
  • Does not say no to beautiful boutique hotels during her trips, but once in a while she sleeps in a cave by the sea
  • Is a believer of "simple is beautiful" but an extraordinary touch makes always the difference
  • Practices yoga and all kind of sports, but smokes a couple of relaxing cigarettes by the veranda every night
  • Believes that secret lies on details, but quick and synthetic is the way she prefers things done
  • Is a definite team player, but only if the team plays well
  • You can find her once in a modern night club and the next day at the most crapy place discussing with friends for hours
  • In business environment is a leader and although most of the time is the friendliest and most helpful person on earth, she can be really tough if you do not deliver on time
  • Loves flirting, but will not even bother if he is stupid or does not have "the way"
  • Is romantic, believes in love and follows her heart, but can be really cynic at times 
  • Is not a morning person, but she can find a couple of good reasons to wake up early:)

The strange girl is not so "strange" after all...

    Saturday, June 22, 2013

    Steve Jobs - What a character!

    On the morning of 5th October 2011, i woke up at my apartment in Doha,
     and i was announced from my flat mates that Steve Jobs had just died..
    "Ela re", i said, and then... "Who is Steve Jobs?" :)
    I already proudly owned a MacBook Pro and an iPhone,
    so I should at least know the inventor of the devices i loved at first sight!
    I am not the most tech geek person on earth and definitely
    not the one who takes advantage the most of the tech products i buy.
    But, i love design, i love simple and clean lines,
    i love to be surrounded from beautiful things, i want to work with style
    and i am a strong believer that the appearance and first impression do count!

    A few months later i bought his biography, written by Walter Isaacson.
    Due to often trips and lack or luck of a proper home base,
    i too opened my mind and myself to the e-Book industry
    and started to read books online.
     But, for this one, i wanted the actual book, the pure white hard cover edition,
    that now plays the role of a decoration item in my house.
    But it was heavy, and i was traveling a lot, so i did not manage to read it before now,
    that i decided to spend a tranquil summer in Crete, at my refugee,
    and maybe come up with the decision of what to "become" when i grow up! :)

    I loved the book! I loved the story of the character Steve Jobs,
    who in between his "reality distortion field", the raw expression of his truth
    and the hero/shithead dichotomy, he was driving people crazy or else out of the box.
    I do not think he knew what he was doing
     - he probably broke many management rules and market research procedures,
    but my feeling is that he fortunately did not know other way.
    Intuitively driven by a vision, rigid beliefs, extremely nice "taste"
    - obviously influenced from the Zen philosophy and way of life,
    control freak - showcasing the value of end-to-end integration
     and provision of full experience to the client,
    he was pushing people to the edge on both positive and negative way...out of limits.
    His mind-thinking and philosophy could be recognized and reflected
     at the apple's ad campaign "The Crazy Ones"
    and the ad slogan "Think Different".

    The story and the narration, reinforced my beliefs
    that you distinguish
     the difference between "just a product" from a creative outcome with soul and style. I
    t is extremely rewarding for the involved in the creation people and it upgrades the quality of life for the rest!
    An inspirational story, to remind us that we have to dare to dream,
    to develop our talents and leave sth behind.
    but something that we do well and maybe inspire other people to go further!

    To close the story, I borrow a couple of lines from his words :
    "We try to use the talents we do have to express our deep feelings,
    to show our appreciation of all the contributions that came before us,
    and to add something to that flow"
    Enjoy the journey!

    Monday, February 25, 2013

    The Art of Zero!

    It requires courage and strength to progress,
    to move on, to overcome feelings,
    to change practices that have become habits,
    to abstract people you care, to find what really matters for you.

    But once you decide to move on, you are already ahead.
    Do not afraid, empty the cup, leave space for the new, for the happy,
    for the small that matters, for what you want and deserve.

    Choose zero for a while, and then another zero and maybe another one..
    and the number one will be attached,
    will come to head the sequence and you are already lucky and "rich"..
    with this glimpse, those radiant eyes that are visible in the dark!

    Saturday, August 18, 2012

    Olympic Makers: Addiction or Just Another Job?

    When I first saw my name among the Greeks to have gained the scholarship
     and be involved at the planning and organization
    of the Sydney Olympic Games in mid 1999,
    I felt very lucky and proud.

    I also felt an imperceptible fear..
    and it was not fear of moving to another continent on my 22...
    although I love my country,
    my age and my personality did not allow space for those kind of restrictions.
    Years later, I realized that this fear
    was nothing more or less than the inner feeling
    that once you do the step then it will be difficult to go back...
    and I tried a couple of times - without success obviously -
    I may even try again in the future - who knows -
    but now 13 years later it is clear to my mind:
     It is like the "joker" in playing cards games.
    Once you draw the joker,
    no matter if it changes your plans or does not really match with the initial
    thoughts in your head, you just do not throw it back.

    And then, after a while,
    you realize that you can not reply to the simple question
     "and you, where do you live?",
    so you reply "I am a citizen of the world",
    which is half true, half convenient.

    You may forget your jacket or your wallet,
    but you never forget your Accreditation,
    you see familiar faces that you do not really know
    but it is always a pleasure to meet them around
    and you see some others that you pretend you did not see..
    -come on, you have done it at least once ;)
    - you get to know drinking games from all different cultures of the planet,
    your vocabulary is enriched with some strange words like "pigeonholes",
     "mixed zone" and "post event depression",
    you hate all kind of uniforms, 
    and when you go back "home" suddenly you notice
    those orange barricades at the side of the street
    and you are not wondering anymore why your old schoolmates believe
    that you are a little bit "strange"!

    But also, you make lifetime friendships,
    you feel the excitement of creation,
    you witness the outcome of your job -
     often at the same time with billions of people across the world -
    and you experience the respective judgement on the spot,
    you feel the agony of the athletes,
    you experience world records,
    you get to know new cultures and habits,
    you plan recovery trips after the Games,
    you hear your National Anthem in the Olympic Stadium,
    you cry, you laugh,
    and then you say goodbye and..."let's go one more" - or not!

    Either way you feel blessed and you are!

    Friday, July 13, 2012

    America - New York - The city that never sleeps..

    "Start spreading the news, I am leaving today
    I want to be part of it, New York, New York.."

    Now I know Franky!
    I know why you "want to wake up in that city that does not sleep"

    There is a feeling that you miss something.. Amazing..
    I could walk all day long around Manhattan without specific destination,
    just to feel the vibe of the city! To be part of it!

    The land where you feel that your dreams will come true!

    Feel the vibe and dare to dream!