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A visitor shops traditional in Athens November 8, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Greece Athens.
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In Plaka and Monasteraki, the shopping square of Athens, rows and rows of boutique stores sit side by side with family owned tavernas alongside a cobbled walkway. Here, a visitor can dwindled his time and burned his pockets to find traditional folk art objects for the travel back in his homeland. Here is a short list of what you can buy:

Sponges > In the Olympics held in Athens during 2004 summer, sponges were given as tokens to guests. Greek sponges go as low as .50 cents to 20 Euro depending on quality and size. Soft, spongy and springy, not exactly eye candy with its demented shape and dark shade of brown but they absorbed so much water and feels gentle on the skin.

The natural sponge is a dark chocolate brown while the yellow ones are already bleached.  Greek Sponges have become so popular and in demand that the country is in the brink of running out of supply. 

Worry beads > Sort of like a mini rosary, worry beads are twirled around to relieve stress and anxiety. Although no prayer is chanted, it has religious origins. They come in all sizes and designs, the most popular being the one with the “evil eye”.

The beady blue eye are said to be protection from evil. Quite a common practice,  storekeepers whirling it in unmindful motion on lazy afternoons.

Olive Oil > The most abundant production of olives is in Greece, where olive trees flourish in the country. In fact, the first Olive press was found in the island of Crete. Olive oil is a basic ingredient in the Greek diet and one can find olive oil of different varieties here. Not only that, but a thousand and one different products from soaps to perfumes are sold.

Greek Leather Sandals > Imagine yourself in King Ceasar’s shoes…literally! The leather sandals come in ancient or modern designs. Priced at around 10 euro and up, personally I do find the quality of leather to be tough and uncomfortable for the feet. Buy for aesthetic reasons only.

Greek Statues > What is Ancient Greece without the drama of beloved Zeus and family? Statues and carvings in honor of ancient gods and goddesses are sold in little curio shops of any sort. Personally I find them perfect for decorating the garden or the swimming pool.

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