Month: April 2015

celebrating ecotourism in greece

MAINLAND Greece’s stunningly varied, rich and awesomely voluptious natural allure is still not as widely recognised or appreciated internationally as its famous island beaches, welcoming peoples and succulent cuisine. Tourists, over the last decade, have begun to realise and rejoice that there is a great deal more to do during a Greek holiday than bask in the sun and drink ouzo, and that vacationing in Greece doesn’t need to be a summer plan. German tourists were probably the first to start visiting Greece on camping and hiking holidays since the ’70s, and one can still see them today parked in their camper van overloooking some scenic mountain or rugged beach, only today they are joined by visitors of all nationalities doing the same thing. By now Greece has set up enough infrastructure around the country to welcome demanding holidaymakers who seek professional quality experience in their guides, equipment, accommodations and facilities when coming here to climb mountains, go rafting and kayaking, paragliding, skiing and horseback riding to name but a few activities to be enjoyed here year round and in …

a chat with ‘lonesome jorge’

AS A child living in an isolated country town in Australia, Jorge Sotirios  was often fascinated by daring explorers who went to far flung places like ‘The Amazon’, ‘The Galapagos’ and ‘The Moon’. In his humorous, colourful and well received first novel, Lonesome George, C’est Moi! he managed to travel to all three. My Greek Review caught up with the author for an Athens-Sydney conversation. Sotirios has been closely following the Greek situation over the years, coming over from Australia for intense research and exploratory travel through the dense Greek socio-political jungle. He is currently preparing his new novel Graffiti Over Marble which relates to the past, present and future of crisis-struck Greece. My Greek Review: What has most inspired your love of travel? Jorge Sotirios: The truth is my uncles in Greece went around the world as officers on cruise ships, so their tales of ‘other places’ inspired me (they loved New Zealand the most strangely, but that happens when romance is a given). As a travel journalist I’ve been fortunate to spend ample time in South …

visual flight through elliniko airport

PHOTOS AND TEXT BY GIORGIO BOULASIDIS These photographs are the kind of images that can be shown without any captions, because it doesn’t matter what the subject depicted in them once was, What matters is what it is today, as it’s caught through the camera’s narrow lens. All these objects — from flight boards, waiting areas, doors, offices, ventilators and every kind of place that once served the thousands upon thousands of world passengers, staff and crews on a daily basis  — have by now mutated into abstract sculptures and landscapes, formed and deformed by fire and time. Elliniko was the first and main airport of Greece for around 50 years. It received fame and admiration and offered most of us our first flight experience, thus becoming seeped in our excitement and fears. .   And now it is burnt, locked up and filthy, continuing to be a sitting and transit area but by today for every kind of bird, creatures that seem to appreciate its history far more than humankind. Giorgio Boulasidis has been a passionate photographer since his teenage years. For …

Onassis Cultural Center

rediscovering athens

IT HAD been a while since I’d read about an art exhibition with a concept that truly excited me – so when I found out that the Onassis Cultural Center (OCC) had set up Strange Cities Athens I headed straight to Theatrou Square in Psyrri to check it out. The exhibition displays the result of a challenge set to 23 visual art units from around the world, who have never been to Athens, to create artworks based solely on their impressions of it. The OCC, in collaboration with the team of curators from London’s Double Decker, provided the artists with a triangular “inspiration box” that contained: a recipe, a scent, a poem (Jasmin by Giorgos Seferis), a book, recordings of urban soundscapes, and music by Konstandinos Vita (Song “II”) and Manos Hatzidakis (the song A Magic City), and asked them to take it from there. The impressions of Athens that are formed in the minds of the millions of visitors who come here, as well the multitude of ideas, feelings and attitudes of people who have never visited, …

at one with tajikistan

IN 2014, Greek filmmakers Myrto Papadopoulos and Angelos Tsaousis wrapped up their documentary film “The New Plastic Road” (2014), which examines the rapid economic and social change among isolated communities in Tajikistan’s mountainous Pamirs zone. They felt a calling to make the film following thorough research on pertinent, modern-day topics in world affairs, which led them to an article titled “The New Silk Road” in Time magazine. The filmmakers wanted to talk about an international subject that not many people have dealt with, so the article hit the spot, relating the story of a country that is being reborn after the eventual collapse of the Soviet Union and after a thunderous seven-year Civil War in the 90s. The relatively unknown country remains the poorest in Central Asia, but has more recently been attracting many big investors from around the world  and its geographical position may just have something to do with that (Tajikistan shares land borders with Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Afghanistan and China). Excited and passionate about the unique and timely topic, Tsaousis and Papadopoulos headed out to Tajikistan and began a cinematic journey involving numerous road trips to …

Q&A: matt barrett, greece travel guru

Matt Barrett is a legend amongst travellers and wannabe visitors to Greece. His website Greece Travel Guide, has been offering readers valuable insider advice, quirky information and an in-depth understanding of Greece through the eyes of an American Grecophile since 1996. His writing and content is coloured with a warm, friendly and humorous personal touch, is completely unpretentious and seriously useful. Shortly after he had started his website I wrote a piece about Matt for The Athens News titled ‘Matt Barrett For Mayor of Athens‘ (in which he shared some of his story), and the insanely brilliant idea of him running the Greek capital continues to linger in my mind (and in that of thousands of his fans) today. I have written and continue to write for Matt and am honoured to host his answers to our Q&A here on My Greek Review, which has definitely been inspired by all the great things that Matt is providing to readers throughout the years and continues to offer today. His last answer here says it all… How Greek are you? My grandfather and grandmother on my father’s side came …

syntagma’s mexican street food

MEXICAN food is not a novelty in Greece, but a truly successful rendition of authentic (as opposed to Americanized or Europeanized) Mexican food is. So when the My Greek Review’s Food Task-Force (TFT) read about the arrival of Taqueria Maya in central Athens, we were excited. We first headed out there on a Sunday for a leisurely lunch but found it closed, so we opted for an empty, six day old Indian restaurant nearby instead, much to our deep regret (N.B. As our Food Task-Force member / experienced chef Dimitris Panteleakis says, when a restaurant manager answers your comments about inedibly dry, rubbery chicken with the ‘reassurance’ that the restaurant is open to receiving your comments, good and bad, via their Facebook page, one cannot help but yelp at the thought of being part of some amateur cooking experiment). The interest in trying out Taqueria Maya was met almost a week later when, strolling up chaotic Ermou St in a state of near-murderous hunger, the taqueria came to mind and we headed to Petraki St, popping our heads into …

the expat novelist

I HAVE been caught in the middle of a protest and a riot. I have faced culture clashes, language barriers and have been surrounded by a headlining economic crisis and social unrest. Thanks to Greece, I also discovered a creative side to myself, inspired by the beauty of the country, a beauty that requires living here to be discovered. It all started with a move across the Atlantic. BY MARISSA TEJADA I had followed my husband from San Francisco to Athens, Greece. A New Yorker, born in Brooklyn, raised on Long Island, I graduated from a college in Upstate New York and then followed my television, journalism and PR career to cities in Washington State, Florida and then California. While I was used to making a new start, I never had to do it in a foreign country. I quit my job. Left my friends and family and I was set on discovering, understanding and finding the best in the experiences that would come my way. One experience ended up being my marriage, which was falling apart. I had to …

Q&A: diane kochilas, chef and food writer

DIANE Kochilas is one of the foremost authorities on Greek cuisine in the world. She is a chef, host of Greece’s most popular cooking show, “What’s Cooking Today, Mom?” cookbook author (18 books!), and passionate pioneer of healthy Greek cuisine. She is as native New Yorker whose family hails from the “Blue Zone” Greek island of Ikaria, on which her latest book is dedicated. Every summer she and her husband, Vassilis Stenos, host a cooking and cultural immersion experience on the island. Here she talks to My Greek Review about her hopes and her bond with Greece. How Greek are you? Hybrid. Greco-American citizen of the world. What is your biggest role in life? Juggler-parent. What is most important to you right now? My family. What are you most grateful for? Everything. What scares you most? Nothing I would put to words. What is Greece to you? Mana. A direct link to the raw energy of life.   Your one favourite thing about Greece past, present and future? Past: Unspoiled beaches. Present: The excitement of being in …