Athens is known for its grittier side. In 2022, I’ve discovered a newer slightly cleaner version of the city I knew from the 90s.
For sure, graffiti has exploded around the city and can be found in almost every surface visible to the eye.
Beyond the traditional football slogans, the latest street art is artier and talks to a new generation’s appetite to make a political statement.
From small notes, to IPAs, quirky logos, to beetroot cakes and fish tavernas, Athens is no longer limited by its suffocating random architecture but energized by a transnational vibe melting all that comes, goes and remains, in a true South Mediterranean crossroad vibes of its geography.
Every tourist and local love the view of Acropolis. The streets around the hill can get busy so here are some spots you can enjoy a cocktail, coffee, a romantic dinner or walk away from the buzz and hussle of the busy streets below.
Acropolis and Athens cityscape from Filopappou Hill. A perfect spot for walking amongst the trees, a short uphill hike to exclusive views over the Parthenon, Lycabettus and the city.
Some say London is paved in gold. That is not quite true. There are ways one can experience it and they are, in truth, golden. They are the walks, in a safe city, at all times of the day or night, revealing architectural marvels, historical corners, oral histories retold, under the bridge communities, housing estates, street art and corporate communes wrapped around a few blocks from each other. They may not always live in harmony with each other, but they certainly demand each others existence to enrich their own. This is not gentrification, or poetics of urban spaces but a slow crawl of inverted commas on concepts undefined, yet golden for their moment in time.
New year new start. Can’t help but look back a little, and yet remain grateful for today. Today I’ve gone back to Bethnal Green where I lived at for thirteen years. Bethnal Green is a strange yet warming place. If you were to look it up online, it looks quite grim. 2 up 2 down level terraced rows of workhouse housing, surrounded by loads of high rise social housing estates built in 1800s to the 80s dotted on every corner, with a through road high street. I must admit, I had some of the funniest and most learning times growing up here in my 20s and that’s purely down to a local and transient mix of people and pre war and post war architecture. Imagine in one day hanging out in a 1900s pub, a high rise tower block built in the 1970s, trekking on cobbled streets and through grafitti glad Victorian alleys. It’s pointless going into any detail on this as this is my story. But perhaps sharing these pics from today, will give the platform from which to imagine a constant of stories intertwined. From the housing flats, to the terraced houses, the odd patches of greenery, the mix of bengali, cockney, underground arty, and now poshy touristy and transient peeps, this is the Bethnal Green in 2022. Many will pass through and many more still remain. Yet, new year’s memories to come may remain similar to past.
Ibiza – a beautiful island, full of hidden gems. Sunsets by the lapping water, jumping off the rocks. I would have gone to raves and danced til the morning.
Oman, Malaysia and Myanmar – I should have jumped on a plane in November 2019/January 2020 to see a couple of familiar faces and smell the sweetness in the air.
Friends and parks and parties – could have gathered together more, drunk more together and danced, dropping the pressure of prioritising what we now know are very unimportant things in life.
Philosophy – read more ancient Greeks and a lot more Edward Said, a whole lot more of Said. They are good for the soul and got it all worked out. If everyone spent one hour a week doing this, the world would be much more prepared for this than it is now.
Notting Hill Carnival 2019 – I would have gotten out of bed at 7, arrive by 9 and put that big costume on offer to me to dance the day away. Still got to dance, but not in the band bc couldn’t get there due to overcrowding which also led to soundsystems being switched off early. Hot days in London…my carnival family which I miss so much.
It’s a tough time for everyone looking ahead from 2020.
May all your moments and wishes evolve into your reality.
Love to you all for a peaceful quiet Christmas and a kinder year ahead.