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Movies > Evil (2006) > On DVD Tuesday, August 22nd 2006 July 28, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Movies Life Greek.
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It all begins when some workmen discover a mysterious cave beneath the streets of Athens; those who venture into it become stricken by a plague that turns them into raving, flesh-hungry ghouls. Soon only a small group of survivors is left, fleeing through a city full of infected killers.

Greece’s first zombie movie, this apocalyptic bloodbath, a veritable low-budget epic, puts its tremendous energy towards creating a crowd-pleasing “splat-stick” gore comedy.

Director: Yorgos Noussias
Cast: Meletis Georgiadis, Pepi Moschovakou, Argyris Thanassoulas, Stavroula Thomopoulou, Mary Tsoni, Andreas Kondopoulos, Nikos Sabalis, Yannis Katsambas

For additional information > Evil (2006) Movie – MoviesOnline!


Rare Mesopithecus skull unearthed in Chalkidiki July 28, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Archaeology Greece.
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A rare, intact cranium (skull) of a Mesopithecus that is closer to the evolution of man from similar Mesopithecus genus (primate order) crania brought to light in Greece so far, has been unearthed on the slopes of a pine-covered hill at Kryopigi, on the Kassandra peninsula in Chalkidiki, northern Greece, during a dig by a team of the Thessaloniki Aristotelion University’s Geology Department, it was announced on Tuesday.

According to Aristotelion University geology professor Evangelia Tsoukala, the cranium was a rare find, dating back to 5-7 million years ago (Late Miocene to Late Pliocene geological epoch), which was protected from the deformation by ischium that usually occurs during the process of fossilisation by two small stones that formed a natural casing, or protective cast.

The Mesopithecus genus belongs to the Cercopithecidae family of the Primate order (Anthropoidea suborder) — the highest order of Mammals (Mammalia division) — meaning the family of apes with tails. The Mesopithecus, which reached 1.30m in height, was a plant eater, and lived in the geological Turolian age (Upper Miocene epoch).

The Mesopithecus (“middle monkey”) is morphologically closely related to the well-known long-tailed gray langur monkeys (Semnopithecus) extant in India today.

According to paleoanthropologist and Thrace University professor Antonis Bartsiokas, the cranium is equal in size with that of the extinct Homo Floresiensis (“Flores man”, the smallest species of human ever discovered, remains of which were found in 2003 in the Liang Bua cave on the Indonesian island of Flores, where the species lived just 18,000 years ago, co-existing at the time with modern humans.

The university’s Geology Department has been searching for fossils of the Tyrolian age since 1998, following the chance find of a fossilised tooth of a Hipparion, a prehistoric horse with three toes on each hoof, that reached a height of just 1.20m.

Previous Mesopithecus fossils in Greece have been found near Vathylakkos in the Axios valley in Macedonia, near Maramena in the Serres basin, and in Pikermi, Attica.

Paracetamol may reduce ovarian cancer risk July 28, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Health & Fitness.
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A team of scientists from Athens University says regular use of Paracetamol could reduce the risk of ovarian cancer. The cancer risk dropped by 30%, after the team analyzed eight previous studies into the impact of the painkiller, in more than 746,000 women.

“Strategies that focus on prevention may therefore provide the most rational approach for reducing deaths from this form of cancer,” Dr Stefanos Bonovas, the lead researcher of the study tells the BBC. “Because Paracetamol is so widely used, a link with a decreased risk of ovarian cancer could have important public health implications.”

The study admitted that long-term use of the painkiller could also lead to an increase risk of liver and kidney failure. The team warned that they did not suggest that women start taking Paracetamol to guard against the disease.

Bonovas says, “The risks of long-term Paracetamol use – including liver and chronic kidney failure – may outweigh the potential benefits of preventing ovarian cancer in low-risk cases.”

He adds, “But we do feel that our study highlights the need for further research into this highly important link between a simple over-the-counter medicine and a very aggressive form of cancer.”

The researchers analyzed previous studies covering Paracetamol and ovarian cancer from 1966 to 2004 in the UK, US and Denmark. Of the 746,000 women analyzed, some 4,405 had ovarian cancer.

The team found that regular use of the painkiller differed from study to study, but was most commonly referred to as at least 30 tablets a month. The study, which failed to explain how Paracetamol reduced the risk of the cancer, showed that the painkiller did reduce the risk.

Music > Parallel Lines July 28, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Music Life Greek.
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Parallel Lines
Dimitri Vassilakis | Candid Records

Parallel Lines > an album that’s filled with exquisite musicianship, fire, and hard-swinging grooves, could justifiably put Greek saxophonist Dimitrios Vassilakis on the who’s who list of world-class reed players. Born in Athens, Greece and living in London, he is also an educator pursing a PhD while teaching and lecturing in the Music Department at Macedonia University in Thessaloniki.

Vassilakis’ music theory and concepts are vitalized when he is joined by drummer Jeff “Tain” Watts and bassist Essiet Okon Essiet. He brings a Coltrane-like modernism to his sax playing, which is marked by consummate training and imbued with a spirit of freedom and invention. The ten original selections on the recording consist of six trio compositions, three ”groove” reworks, and a duet where Vassilakis plays both sax and drums. Each one showcases the musicians’ abilities.

Essiet and “Tain” obliterate the jungle/drum ‘n’ bass motif on “Parallel Lines,” mixing a funky bass, polyrhythms, and hard bop changes as Vassilakis provides dueling sax solos. The corresponding “Parallel Lines Groove” contains a loop of the original bass pattern, now enhanced by Vassilakis playing the drum section and adding spoken word with a hip-hop flavor. Both approaches have satisfying results.

But the music also moves along the lines of strong jazz improvisation and a deep knowledge of history, paying homage to Sonny Rollins’ classic Freedom Suite; the trio plays with intensity and joy on the street party-like “Ocean” and the heartfelt ballad “Soul Eyes.”

The “groove” pieces, recorded a year after the originals, serve as a synopsis of the album. They are not just variations, they also show another dimension of Vassilakis’ musicality. Witness, for example, his formidable drum work and creativity on the impressive drum/sax improvisation “The Drum Think.” From beginning to end, each composition fits into an outstanding set which could also be dubbed the Dimitrios Vassilakis “Groove Suite.”

Track Listing: Parallel Lines; Little One; Ocean; Swinging Second; Soul Eyes; James; Ocean Groove; Little One Groove; Parallel Lines Groove; The Drum Think.

Personnel: Dimitri Vassilakis: tenor and soprano saxophones, drums (7-10), vocals (9); Essiet Okon Essiet: bass (1-9); Jeff Tain Watts: drums (1-7).

For information visit > http://www.dimitriosvassilakis.com/

The Grand Promenade in Athens July 28, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Arts Exhibitions Greece.
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In the framework of the events that will take place prior to the inauguration of the new building of the National Museum of Contemporary Art of Athens, the reconstruction of which is expected to be completed in 2008, a large scale international exhibition under the title The Grand Promenade was organized.

The idea of the exhibition was born from the close proximity of EMST to the archaeological sites and monuments of Athens that offers a possibility of various transcultural communication networks between antiquity and contemporary international art.

The title of the exhibition refers to the “Grand Promenade”, a huge urban intervention around the Acropolis that creates an “open” museum, perhaps the largest one worldwide, unifying the rich cultural heritage with the capital’s daily life and multicultural reality.

As experience and metaphor the Grand Promenade allows unexpected encounters and ties, stories within History, new relationships between the local and the universal, and an open conceptual narrative incorporating the Elsewhere and the Others.

44 artists from around the world will be participating with recent works or in situ commissions of the Museum, which will be presented in outdoor archaeological spaces, monuments and adjacent public and private buildings. Among the participating artists are: Pawel Althamer, Ghada Amer, Andreas Angelidakis, Janine Antoni, Kutlug Ataman, Per Barclay, Vlassis Caniaris, Michael Blum, Christian Boltanski, Pavel Buchler, Fouad Elkoury, George Hadjimichalis, Gary Hill, Thomas Hirschhorn, Yu Hong, Ilya and Emilia Kabakov, Y.Z.Kami, Anish Kapoor, Gülsün Karamustafa, Toba Khedoori, Jannis Kounellis, Wolfgang Laib, Luisa Lambri, Miltos Manetas, Julie Mehretu, Ernesto Neto, Silke Otto-Knapp, Adrian Paci, Susan Philipsz, Dimitris Pikionis, Angelo Plessas, Khalil Rabah, Steve Roden, Ulrich Rückriem, Santiago Sierra, Nedko Solakov, Ηans Jurgen Syberberg, Lina Theodorou, Evanthia Tsantila, Kostis Velonis, Amelie von Wulffen, Rachel Whiteread, Zafos Xagoraris, Vana Xenou.

Travelling to Athens > transportation and Pireaus port July 28, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Greece Athens.
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Transportation and City Connections

By Bus from Bus Terminal A to: Corinth (half-hrly, 1-1/2hrs), Kalamata (9/day, 4 hrs), Nafplio (hrly, 2-1/2 hrs, Olympia (4/day, 5 hrs), Patras (half-hrly, 3 hrs) and Sparta (10/day, 3-1/4 hrs). Bus Terminal A is about 5 miles north-west of Plateia Omonias at 100 Kifissou Avenue. Bus No 051, which runs from the junction of Zinonos and Menandrou street, near Plateia Omonias, is the only public transport to the terminal (every 15 min, 5:00-24:00). A taxi from the city center should cost no more than €10 depending on traffic.

By Bus from Terminal B to: Delphi (6/day, 3 hrs). People heading to Meteora by bus must travel first to Trikala (8/day, 51/2), where you’ll find buses to Kalambaka (hrly, 30 min). Terminal B is about 3 miles north of Plateia Omonias off Liossion street, about €10 by taxi, depending on traffic.

By Train: The Greek Rail Organization (OSE) has a convenient city center office near Syntagma Square where you can pick up timetables and make reservations (Mon-Fri 8:00-15:30, Sat 8:00-15:00, just uphill from Panepistimiou at 6 Sina street, tel. 210 3624402).

By Boat: see below on Piraeus for details of catamaran, ferry and hydrofoil connections to the Greek Islands.

By Plane: Olympic Airways ( www.olympic-airways.gr ) flies to Iraklio (on Crete, 6/day, 50min), Paros (3/day, 1hr), (Naxos (1/day, 1 hr), Samos (3/day, 1 hr) and Santorini (4/day, 1 hr). Olympic’s head office is at 96 Syngrou Avenue (tel. 210 3569111, toll free 801 1144444), but you’re better off using travel agent. Aegean Airlines (www.aegeanair.com) has flights to Iraklio (6/day, 1 hr) and Santorini (4/day, 1 hr). Aegean has an office on Syntagma Square (10 Othonos street, tel. 210 3315502, res. tel. 801 1120000).

Drivers note: You don’t want or need a car in Athens. A good way to deal with Athens’ traffic is to avoid it altogether by picking up your rental car from the airport. From here, the six-lane Athens ring road, known as Attiki Odos, provides hassle-free access to the main highways west to the Peloponnese and to the north.

The easiest way to escape from the city center is to follow the signs to Corinth, regardless of where you’re going. If you’re heading for the Peloponnese, you just keep following the signs to Corinth; if you’re heading north to Delphi or Meteora, turn right at Kifissou about 5 miles west of the city center, following the signs to Lamia. Kifissou becomes National Road 1, which is the main highway route north from Athens.

Piraeus Port

Piraeus, 6 miles south-west of central Athens, has been the port of Athens since ancient times. Today it is the main port for services to the Greek islands, making it the busiest passenger port in the Mediterranean.

All ferry, hydrofoil and catamaran services leave from Great Harbour, which is the largest of three harbours surrounding the Piraeus Peninsula. Marina Zeas and the picturesque Mikrolimano, on the eastern side of the pensinsula, are for private yachts. The action at Great Harbour is centered on Plateia Karaiskaki, which juts out into the harbour right at the middle of the waterfront.

It’s always wise to confirm your ferry’s departure point when you buy your ticket.

Arrival in Piraeus

By bus: Bus E96 from the airport will drop you at Plateia Karaiskaki.

By metro and train: The metro and train stations are 100 yards apart at the north-eastern corner of the waterfront on Akti Kalimassioti.

By Bus: E96 buses to the airport leave from the south-western corner of Plateia Karaiskaki. 

By Metro: The metro is by far the easiest way of getting from Piraeus’ Great Harbour to central Athens. There are services to Monastiraki every 10 minutes between 06:00 and midnight. Warning: the section between Piraeus and Monastiraki is notorious for pickpockets so take extra good care of your valuables.

By Train: There are suburban trains every 30 minutes to Athens Central Station.

Ferry Connections 
For the latest information on ferry services, pick up a weekly schedule from the Greek National Tourist Organization offices in Athens or at the airport. 

To the Cyclades: Paros (6/day, 5 hrs), Naxos (6/day, 6 hrs) and Santorini (4/day, 9 hrs). The best service is offered by Blue Star Ferries (www.bluestarferries.com ). Its comfortable modern boats are fitted with special stabilizers that provide a very smooth ride, and enable them to keep sailing in winds of up to force 9 on the local Beaufort scale.

To Crete: Iraklio (2/day, 10hrs), with the sleek Minoan Lines fleet (www.minoan.gr ) getting the nod ahead of ANEK Lines (www.anek.gr)

To the Saronic Gulf Islands: Aegina (hrly, 1-1/4 hrs), Poros (4/day, 2-1/2 hrs), Hydra (2/day, 3-1/2 hrs) and Spetses (1/day, 4-1/2 hrs).

To the North-East Agean Islands: Samos (2/day, 13 hrs).

Hydrofoil and Catamaran Connections
To the Cyclades: Paros (2/day, 3-1/2 hrs), Naxos (1/day, 4 hrs) and Santorini (1/day, 4-3/4 hrs). All these services are operated by Hellas Flying Dolphins (www.dolphins.gr , tel. 210 4199000 for credit card bookings).

To the Saronic Gulf Islands: Aegina (hrly, 35 min), Poros (4/day, 1 hr), Hydra (6/day, 1-3/4 hrs) and Spetses (6/day, 2-1/2 hrs). Most of these services are operated by Hellas Flying Dolphins (see above).

To the North-East Agean: Samos (6/wk, 7 hrs). This service is operated by Nel Lines (www.nel.gr) using the futuristic-looking Aeolis Express, which is a high-speed ferry rather than a catamaran.

Travelling to Athens > sleeping and eating July 28, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Greece Athens.
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Sleeping in Athens

Although there are dozens of hotels around central Athens, prices are steep and good values are rare. The small inexpensive hotels in the Plaka are few, in all the guidebooks, and therefore filled with other tourists.

It is still possible to find a double room with private bathroom (shower and toilet) for around €50, but most midrange hotels now charge closer to €150 than €100 for a double. Reservations are recommended, especially in the summer months. Hotels require a credit card number to guarantee your reservation.

If you’re organised in advance, it’s worth checking out the hotel brochures at travel agencies. You’ll probably find cheaper deals for some of the hotels listed here. Don’t be sucked in by some of the very cheap deals: most of the cheaper places are located in the sleazy suburbs around Omonia Square, or down in the coastal suburbs of Glyfada and Voula, far from the places you’ve come to see. You’ll pay a premium to stay near the Acropolis and it’s worth it.

One final word: Athens is a noisy city, and Athenians like to stay out late. I have tried to recommend places in quieter areas, but that’s not always possible. Light sleepers should pack earplugs.

North of the Acropolis, Monastiraki, Plaka and Syntagma area:

Hotel Grande Bretagne is five stars and considered the best hotel in Greece. It’s the place to head if you have royal blood, or wish you did and feel like being treated that way for a few days. Built in 1862 to accommodate visiting heads of state, it ranks among the grand hotels of the world. It became a hotel in 1874 and retains its 19th century elegance. No other hotel in Athens can boast such a rich history. The sprawling and elegantly furnished rooms have air-con, minibar, satellite TV and video. American breakfast costs €28. (320 rooms, Sb-€215, Db-€250 to €350 depending on demand, overlooking Syntagma Square at Vassileos Georgiou 1, metro: Syntagma, tel. 210 333 0000, fax 210 3228034, www.grandebretagne.gr, gbhotel@otenet.gr ). If you’d rather just eat here, consider their rooftop restaurant (described below).

Two decent business-class hotels in the Plaka:

One company owns two hotels, each well-located, modern, with basic breakfasts, big plain, comfy air-con rooms with desks, mini-bars, air-con and modern bathrooms and all charging the same price ( Apr-Jun and Oct Sb-115, Db-145, Tb-170, a bit higher in summer, and 30% lower in winter) . Hotel Plaka (tel. 210 3222096, fax 210 3222412, roof terrace, www.plakahotel.gr , plaka@tourhotel , corner of Mitropoleos and Kapnikareas). Hotel Hermes (19 Apollonos Street, closest to Syntagma on a quiet street, tel. 210 3235514, fax 210 3222412, hermes@tourhotel.gr , www.hermeshotel.gr ).

Hotel Adonis is a small modern hotel with 26 rooms on the quiet traffic-free upper reaches of Kodrou, right in the heart of Plaka. The rooms on the 4 th floor have good views of the Acropolis, as does the rooftop bar. (Sb-50, Db-77, Tb-100, cash only, often booked long in advance, air-con, roof-terrace breakfast included, 3 Kodrou street, metro: Syntagma, tel. 210 3249737, fax 210 3231602, owner Spiros doesn’t like computers so there’s no email address or website; prices 40% lower Nov-Mar).

Hotel Tempi is a popular family-run hotel with 24 clean, comfortable rooms on a quiet pedestrian part of Eolou street just 250 yards from Monastiraki metro station. Owners Yiannis and Katerina delight in offering traditional hospitality at prices that won’t break the bank. The rooms at the front have balconies overlooking the flower markets on Plateia Agia Irini and views of the Acropolis (Db-€58, Tb-€70, cheaper singles and doubles with bathroom in the corridor, air-con, satellite TV, no elevator, communal kitchen/breakfast room, 29 Eolou street, tel. 210 3213175, fax 210 3254179, www.travelling.gr/tempihotel , tempihotel@travelling.gr).

The Student & Travellers’ Inn is the best backpacker place in the Plaka, and the perfect place to meet up with other young travellers. It has its own travel agency specialising in the Greek Islands, three computers for Internet access and a shady courtyard bar with big-screen TV showing major international sporting events. The 33 rooms come in all shapes and sizes, from dorms with communal bathroom to private rooms with bathroom, TV and air-con. (Dorms-€18, Sb-€50, Db-€60, Tb-€75, choice of breakfasts from €3, prices 20% lower Nov-Mar, tel. 210 3244808, fax 210 3210065, 16 Kydathineon street, metro: Syntagma, www.studenttravellersinn.com , info@studenttravellersinn.com).

Athens International Youth Hostel is a long way from Plaka, north-west of Omonia Square at 10 Victor Hugo street. It’s worth mentioning only as a place to avoid. It’s run down in a sleazy district.

South of the Acropolis

Art Gallery Hotel is a charming little family-run hotel, tucked away on a quiet back street just 10 minutes’ walk from the Acropolis. It’s family run by Ada (the artist), Ethel, and Yannis Assimakopoulos, who each love to share their knowledge of the city. The top-floor bar is the place to meet fellow travellers for an evening drink, and a view of the Acropolis (21 rooms, Sb-75, Db-105, Tb-125, breakfast €6/free with this book, TV, air-con, 5 Erehthiou street, metro: Syngrou-Fix, then take Drakou exit and walk up pedestrian mall three blocks, tel. 210 9238376, fax 210 9233025, ecotec@otenet.gr , prices lower off season). The pedestrian blocks below the hotel are lined by fun cafes and eateries without a tourist in sight.

Marble House Pension is another small family-run place with 16 cozy rooms. Hidden away behind a brilliant red bougainvillea at the end of a cul-de-sac, it has to be the quietest hotel in Athens and well worth the walk to get there (Sb-40, Db-46, Tb-53, cheaper doubles and triples with outside bathroom, breakfast €5, bar fridge, ceiling fans, tel. 210 9234058 – 210 9228294, fax 210 9226461, www.marble-house.gr, info@marblehouse.gr, 10 minutes walk from Syngrou-Fix metro station at 35A, Zini street, Koukaki, prices 20% lower Oct-Apr).

Hotel Phedra over-looking a peaceful square of ancient ruins and a Byzantine Church, is a fine little hotel offering some of the best budget rooms in the Plaka (21 rooms, Sb-€50, D-€50, Db-€60, Tb-€72, less off-season, air-con, breakfast extra, two blocks up from Hadrian’s Arch at 6 Lissikratous street, tel. 210 3238461, fax 210 3227795).

Around Syntagma Square

Café is designed for the traveller in a hurry, a slick modern cafeteria-style eatery facing Syntagma. You’ll find a daily selection of Greek favourites as well as salads and pastas (daily 7:00-01:00, tel. 210 3246873, on the southern side of Syntagma Square at 3 Mitropoleos street). While not cheap, it is efficient and air-conditioned. Head upstairs for smoke free Syntagma Square view tables.

Fast Food Eleni, west of Syntagma on unglamorous Perikleous street, is one of central Athens’ best-kept secrets. Most of the customers are workers from the surrounding shops and offices, who come here for the daily specials like roast pork with lemon and potatoes (€5.50) as well as for the fast food (Mon-Sat 11:00-17:00, 200 yards south of Syntagma Square at 19 Perikleous street).

Hotel Grande Bretagne’s Roof Garden Restaurant is considered by many the finest change in town to dine in old world elegance, on a roof garden with grand Acropolis and city views (nightly from 19:00, reservations required, Greek and Mediterranean cuisine, pastas €15, main courses €30, menus €60 to €75, tel. 210 3330750, or after 19:00 210 3330766, Syntagma Square).

Around Plaka
Diners, Greek and tourist alike, flock to the Plaka. The food is generally mediocre, but the Plaka makes up fot that in ambiance. Unless stated otherwise, all the restaurants listed here are open daily for lunch and dinner.

Taverna O Thespis is a rare place that feels like the good old days in the Plaka. It’s tucked away above the Plaka crowds up quiet Thespidos with tables cascading down a series of breezy terraces. Dine on traditional specialities like bekri meze, pork with spicy sauce (€10 mains, daily 11:00-24:00, tel 210 3238242, 18 Thespidos street).

Taverna tou Psara is another good bet just above the hustle and bustle of Plaka. The starters here are especially good: you can order a good selection of mezedes and forget about a main course. The outdoor terrace has views out over the city, and live folk music (€10 to €13 mains, daily 11:00-24:00, tel. 210 3218734, signposted off Tripodon street at 16 Erectheos street).

Restaurant Hermion is a dressy wicker place tucked away in a quiet arcade off busy Pandrosou street, offering a choice of outdoor seating in a small private square, or a cool air-conditioned interior. Under a canvas canopy surrounded by potted plants you forget you’re in a big city. The menu offers a large range of salads, and lots of fish dishes (€10 to €15 mains, daily 11:00-01:00, with back to cathedral leave the square downhill on left going 50 yards down Pandrosou to Zeus sign where an arcade takes you to 15 Pandrosou street, tel. 210 3247148).

Sholarhio Ouzeri O Kouklis is a fun, inexpensive place ideal for groups wanting to try a variety of traditional mezedes and drink good homemade booze on a breezy perch at the top of the Plaka. Since 1935 the Kouklis family has been making ouzo (that’s what an ouzeri is – a place to drink ouzo) and running their restaurant which maintains a 1930s atmosphere. The waiter comes around with a big platter of dishes and you choose what you like (€3 or €4 per plate), drinks are cheap, dessert is free, they have a 4 person €40 special worth considering. As the plates are pretty big, this is most fun with a group of four or more (daily from 11:00-24:00, under the Acropolis where Lysiou hits Tripodon street, 14 Tripodon street, tel. 210 3247605).

Eden Vegetarian Restaurant is Athens’ first vegetarian restaurant (since 1982) and enjoys mixing Greek and international creatively with respect for your environment inside and out. The inviting menu offers vegetarian versions of such Greek favourites like mousakas and stifado (€12 meals, Wed-Mon 12:00-24:00, 12 Lysiou street, tel. 210 3248858, www.edenveg.gr).

Fast food and Picnics
The best place to head for fast food is the bottom end of Mitropoleos, where it meets Monastiraki Square. This is souvlaki heaven with several frantic restaurants spilling into the street keeping hoardes of hungry, mostly local eaters happy. For €6 you get a pile of sish-kebabs on pita bread. Meat shaved from a gyro is cheaper. A gyro souvlaki sandwich to go is just €1.50. Greek salads are hearty and the wine, beer and ouzo is cheap. Thanasis is famous for its special souvlaki, made from a traditional recipe that combines ground beef and lamb with Thanasis’s secret blend of seasonings. Grab a takeaway wrapped in pitta bread (€1.50), or sit down to a plate of four (€6, daily 10:00-02:00, 69 Mitropoleos street, tel. 210 3244705).

Across the street, another old favorite, Savas, has both a restaurant and a takeaway counter offering a choice of gyros: ground beef, pork, or chicken gyros (all €1.50). The guys here can fill and wrap a gyros before you can blink. Ask for yours to be served ap’ola (with everything in the lot) and it’ll come loaded with salad and tzatziki (daily 10:00-03:00, 86 Mitropoleos street, tel. 210 3245048).

Markets: The lively central markets are about 500 yards north of Plateia Monastirakiou on Athinas street. You’ll find the best and cheapest selection of whatever’s in season at the fruit and vegetable markets, which spread downhill to the left, flanked by shops selling fetta from the barrel and a dozen different kinds of olives.

The meat and fish markets are housed in the neoclassical building across the street, behind a row of shops specialising in dried fruit and nuts. Try the roasted almonds, and the delicious white figs from the island of Evia.

There are no big supermarkets close to the Plaka, but there are several minimarkets that stay open all hours (7:00-22:00) and stock enough to throw together a decent picnic. To the south of the Acropolis, try Veropoulos Supermarket (Mon-Fri 8:00-20:00, Sat 8:00-6:00, just uphill from Veikou street at 6 Parthenonos street, Koukaki area).