A charming neighborhood in Athens. It’s true; I swear.

Athens is not known as a picturesque or inviting place. It’s crowded, ugly, and noisy. Like Naples without the redeeming quality of the world’s best pizza.

However, there is at least one place in Athens where you can go to escape all of that chaos — a little neighborhood called Anafiotika. You’ll find it immediately north east of the Acropolis. Anafiotika was founded by migrants from the island of Anafi who came to Athens in the 19th century. Then, towards the beginning of the 20th century, more migrants settled in Anafiotiaka. This time they were refugees from a war between Greece and Turkey. They say that stepping into Anafiotika is like being transported to the Greek Islands.

The streets running east to west are open to cars, but the “streets” running north to south are just staircases and alleyways. When you go to Athens to visit the Acropolis and other historic sites, spend an evening in Anafiotika.P7141213.JPG
A typical evening scene in Anafiotika. I sat on the steps underneath the green sign on the left. P7141212.JPGP7141210.JPGNotice that the chairs here are set up so that both diners are facing the street instead of facing each other. We’re there to people-watch, eating and conversation are secondary. P7141190.JPGI sat on the steps for delicious baklava and a latte from Yiasemi Cafe. Europeans love seating on steps.

P7141194.JPG
The cafe cat trying to act like she wasn’t eyeing my food.
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAShe thought she was slick . . . P7151289.JPGP7151287.JPG

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