Tuesday Fun: Athens

by Stefan Fletcher March. 17, 2009 3699 views

Ah home. What a nice word that is. It’s displayed at least twice on your screen right now and it means a lot to me, as this is where I’ve come back, at least for a while. Of course, your home isn’t the same as mine. I doubt you enjoy the scent of my corner of Athens: a subtle aroma consisting of teargas, car pollution, jasmine and pot. The teargas, pollution and pot can be laid at the door of Athens and its denizens. The jasmine grows in front of mine.
You might not appreciate either the crazy widower playing the Greek religious radio station at all hours; the screaming couple opposite, the sound of caged birdsong and the hot, bright sunshine that hits my office window in the mornings making it impossible to Photoshop until 2 p.m. but great to dry washing. Golden, empty mornings in Exarcheia square, jogging and tripping over drunks and junkies on Lofos Strefi, dodging the few people not wasted, stoned or hung over enough to beg off work, but definitely surly / suicidal enough to drive like a true Athenian. There’s nothing like it and yes, I must be crazy.
I live next to the first bar I was ever drunk in when I came to Greece and, of course, never frequent. Thanksh for the irono, inory, iroyn, iron… thanksh for the joke. There are over 20 bars within staggering distance of my house, although some masquerade as cafés during the day. Spoilshportsh.
Factoid time: there are more Athenians than Angelenos. Athens is Europe’s 8th largest city and the only place (not counting wanky places like Andorra or Micronesia) where half the entire population lives in the capital city. Look at a repro of early modern maps and you’ll see that Athens doesn’t get a mention. It went from village to capital in one year (1834), remained a village with an attitude until it welcomed over a million refugees, again in one year (1922), and has doubled in population every twenty years despite a world war, a nasty civil war, a dictatorship, wholesale unemployment and a massive parallel economy – oh, and a few bastard earthquakes every 15 years or so.
It’s a cold, unforgiving city, dirty, slatternly and beautiful at times and indescribably fascinating.
It’s a Greek pastime to complain about their country and capital. (Not so) funnily enough, they take umbrage when a foreigner joins them. I don’t; when I hear people do that, and see what a vibrant place it is, I want to express my amazement and admiration it works so well.
So I thought I’d offer you some shots of my *home*. It's hard to provide a common theme. As an artistic enterprise, it's a failure, if only because I can't express in five images the fascination I feel for such a varied and complex place. But it's home, at least for now.

What happens when selling joy becomes too onerous

Dresses for sale in Monasteraki

Stairway to heaven

“The nightlife is the right life…”

What everyone expects to see. I hope I've offered something slightly different; how the Acropolis is part of city life

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There are 8 comments , add yours!
Borgo | Allegri 10 years, 11 months ago

wow... i love them all! but #2 really tells me a story... I learned something from checking it out. but i really love them all. :)

10 years, 11 months ago Edited
Jarvo J 11 years, 9 months ago

That top picture is really special. I'm sure most people have found their work to be like that at times. It's just ironic when your job is "selling joy" as you so wonderously put it. Its in my faves.

11 years, 9 months ago Edited
Nathalie Delmas 11 years, 10 months ago

merci pour la visite ! :) je reviendrai....

11 years, 10 months ago Edited
Bogi 11 years, 10 months ago

Beautiful photos!

11 years, 10 months ago Edited
Karen 11 years, 10 months ago

oooh home, you've made me miss mine! It's the good AND the bad bits that makes a place so memorable and special. Lovely shots, really like the 3rd.

11 years, 10 months ago Edited
Afroditi 11 years, 10 months ago

Athens, capital city of my country!! The "dresses for sale" is the best of all here. :)

11 years, 10 months ago Edited
Eric J H Joyce 11 years, 10 months ago

Great post.

11 years, 10 months ago Edited
Tomie Poodle 11 years, 10 months ago

une belle série sur le quotidien d'Athènes! la une est superbe quel contraste entre les couleurs joyeuses et pleines d'entrain des ballons et la fatigue des vendeurs...

11 years, 10 months ago Edited
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