Friday March 7, 2014
"I am Woman, Let me Board!" In honor of International Women's Day
on March 8th, women passengers on all forms of public transportation in Athens and Thessaloniki will be able to travel for free. It's just one more way of honoring women on this internationally-observed day.
More on Women in Greece:
Women and Islands - Crete
Wednesday March 5, 2014
Much-loved actress and, later, two-time Minister of Culture Melina Mercouri
died on this day in 1994. In her honor, all official Greek museums are free admission on this day. Go get cultured and shed a tear for Melina - you won't be alone.
Greece offers a generous slate of free museum admission days, including Melina's death anniversary.
Tuesday March 4, 2014
Traveling in Greece this spring? You may benefit from an official extension of visiting hours for many major museums and sites in Greece. The Ministry of Culture, which sets the official hours, is extending them to accommodate more tourists in the "shoulder" seasons of spring and fall, and also expanding the number of sites which will offer the longer hours.
More on Sightseeing in Greece
Greeting Greece in Greek
Monday March 3, 2014
Just what is "Clean Monday" or Kathari Deftera
? It's the first day of Sarakosti
or Greek Orthodox Lent, a kind of transitional day between the full-on Carnival celebrations of the weekend and the "hard" beginning of Lent on Tuesday. I personally suspect it was designed as a day to use up leftovers that would otherwise be forbidden - because what Greek family would ever risk running out of food by making too little?
Traditionally, Greek families fly kites from Philopappou Hill, Lycabettus Hill, the Pnyx by the Acropolis, and from any other fine, windy spot. Then they join for a feast enjoying the allowed foods and special Lenten dishes. The true fasting will wait to begin tomorrow - which could be called "Skinny Tuesday" rather than "Fat Tuesday"!
Find out more about Easter in Greece:
Greek Easter Dates
Greek Easter Photo Gallery
This last one is not for the timid - learn why the "Clean Monday" celebration in the ancient village of Tyrnavos is called "Dirty Monday" in this eye-opening article from Odyssey Magazine.
Lycabettus Hill, a popular kite-flying location for Clean Monday in Athens, Greece. Photo © deTraci Regula; licensed to About.
Thursday February 27, 2014
This weekend is the last flurry of fun before the beginning of Lent - and parades and celebrations will warm up the still-wintry season. Carnival celebrations in Greece range from charmingly simple to rivaling Rio and New Orleans - the celebration in the Peloponnese town of Patras is the third largest in the world.
Carnival in Patras Schedule
The "Night Parade" on Saturday is followed by the "Great Parade" Sunday afternoon. Choose one or both.
Carnival in Athens Schedule
Sunday February 23, 2014
The earthquakes and aftershocks that unsettled the Ionian island of Cephalonia off the west coast of Greece didn't just shake things up - they actually shifted locations on the island. Greek Reporter cites a Ta Nea report
of satellite imagery on the island confirming that the port town of Lixouri is twenty centimeters away from its old spot.
Fortunately, things seem to be quieting down on the island, which is a precious refuge for several rare animals, including the Wild Horses of Cephalonia and an important nesting ground for Sea Turtles in Greece.
More: 10 Things You Can Do to Save Greek Sea Turtles
Wednesday February 19, 2014
Actor and activist George Clooney, who stars in "The Monuments Men" about the rescue of looted art after World War II, may be taking on another role in earnest - that of Parthenon Marbles advocate. If so, he'll follow in the tradition of another actor, Melina Mercouri, who as Minister of Culture for Greece was a passionate voice urging the return of the marble sculptures to Greece. A floor of the New Acropolis Museum
in Athens was built for their ultimate return, squelching critics who once claimed the Greeks had no place to properly protect and display them.
PolicyMic: Greeks Want the UK to Give Back Their Precious Marbles - And George Clooney Agrees
More on the Parthenon Marbles Controversy
Tuesday February 18, 2014
This is one of two dates often cited for the birth of Nikos Kazantzakis
in 1883 at Iraklion, Crete. The Cretan-born writer is renowned for "Zorba the Greek", "Report to Greco", and "The Last Temptation of Christ", among many other works. Travelers to Greece may especially enjoy "Report To Greco", as it details his own wanderings in Greece as a very young man. (The other date given is December 2nd).
On Crete, located in a beautiful area, the Nikos Kazantzakis Museum attracts visitors from all over the world; their website has dozens of pages on various aspects of Kazantzakis' life and work.
Saturday February 15, 2014
assumes the office of Foreign Minister of Greece on February 15th, 2006, becoming the first woman to hold the position.
Sunday February 9, 2014
Also on the list of lower-priced flights to Greece, Air Canada is offering a number of "Hello Europe!" flights to Greece that may not show up on some booking engines - but if you're located in a U.S. city with inexpensive flights to Canada, you may be able to benefit from a Canadian interlude on your way to Greece.
One example - Toronto to Athens Greece for $995 Canadian (this one ends at midnight February 10th).
You can see all of the "Hello Europe!" fares from Air Canada here.