What to do in Athens: The proposals of Aphrodite Panagiotakou in the Financial Times
“Athens is more of a person than a city. “He has a strong personality that is sometimes adorable, sometimes sweeping”, says the Director of Culture of the Onassis Foundation, Aphrodite Panagiotakou, to the Financial Times.
“Talking about Athens is a bit like going to a marriage counselor: it reminds you of the reasons why this crazy creature fell in love. “I like that it is a place more interesting than beautiful, a city that is constantly changing,” he explains.
In the form of an informal city guide, he then collects everything that deserves the attention of anyone in Athens at the moment, starting with the exhibition “Creatures” in Pedion tou Areos.
“Pedion tou Areos is not a tourist destination, so you will see people approaching Mecca, doing yoga or smoking – people who have lived there since the 60’s. “But at the moment you will also see a huge red planet, a bright sculpture by the Spanish artist SpY.”
Ms. Panagiotakou mentions in the article that in Athens she loves the fact that she has real neighborhoods. “If you take the cable car to Lycabettus, you get a good taste of the city and its contradictions – the ancient ruins but also the ugly apartment buildings. I think I live in the best area, the Mets. It is in the center, but hidden, next to Kallimarmaro. It has a boho atmosphere and you can sit in the Odeon cafe and just enjoy the world that passes by. But when you walk in Athens, you begin to understand all the layers of time under your feet. There are few cities in the world that have been inhabited for more than 3,000 years. The National Archaeological Museumnext to Pedion tou Areos, it has incredible collections, however everyone prefers the Acropolis Museum “.
Of course, Mrs. Panagiotakou considers a visit to Acropolis absolutely necessary, noting that the Onassis Foundation is very proud that it contributed to making the Acropolis more easily accessible, with the new, modern slope lift.
Next, suggest the hotels Perianth and Great Britain for a good view of the Athenian landmark.
“For chatting with my friends, I go to the bar Galaxy. For 50 years, Mr. Giannis has been behind the bar, listening to all the conversations in Athens and never saying a word. “This is my place, here I have my best mistakes”, he states, among other things.
In the food category, Aphrodite Panagiotakou chooses them as her favorite restaurant Seychelles, in the neighborhood of Kerameikos. Her advice? “Just order the whole menu and put everything in the middle to share, and then wander to Avdi squarewhere there is a huge public work of art, commissioned by a huge Onassis Foundation: a mural by Ilias Papailiakis entitled “The kiss” “.
And, of course, he could not miss the summer cinemas, a walk for shopping in the city but also a stop for food in the parts of the center.
“During the summer, the city’s open-air cinemas, such as Riviera in Exarchia, they have something romantic. And for shopping I love the small wholesale shops around the fish market and the meat market on Athinas Street, where you can find items made only in Greece, such as a unique bottle of olive oil or an excellent bread knife. There are also a lot of little ones around the markets – the best is Double door. There is no menu, eat what is served that day. “The only time it closes is in November, when the owner of the village returns to make tsipouro, which is something like a Greek grappa, something you have to try in Athens,” he emphasizes.
In addition, he recommends some local jewelry designers, such as Lito, Nikos Koulis, Ileana Makri and Giannis Sergakis“They all do very different jobs, but they combine the cosmopolitan with the Greek element,” he explains.
As for the art scene of Athens, he describes it as “fascinating”. “The National Museum of Modern Art is a great starting point, and there are many galleries I like, such as The Breeder, PET Projects, Eleftheria Tseliou, Rodeo and Carwan. But only walking in areas like New world or the Mets you can talk to artists. “We probably ended up in their lab at two in the morning, talking about the most important things in life.”
Ms. Panagiotakou closes her tour of her favorite places in Athens, stating that next year there will be a new space of Onassis Culture, designed by Yinka Ilori, where fashion, art, biotechnology and design meet. “It will be a place for the things that make everyday life more human: food, drinks, music, art. “Athens will be more interesting than ever.”