SHARING the Athens WE LOVE with YOU !#1

PEOPLE LOVE our Tours & Walks … we LOVE THEM too!

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We started the tour by climbing up from Dion.-Aeropagitou to Anafiotika


What’s this plant?

Do you know how Lecabettus Hill was made?

How a 1870 building can host modern art.

Old Greek ads and posters.

Spice and herbs kingdom

A touch of red!

Dried pepper kingdom

A small chapel with fantastic icons.

Reaching the Central Market.

The fishmonger of our hearts is recommending fish that…

“Barba-Mitsos” grilled for us.

“No diet” day!

PLEASE NOTE THAT: The itinerary is never prefabricated as flexibility is our motto !

Walking Tour and a Sing Song in Athens

via: http://www.davestravelpages.com/

Walking Tour In Athens

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Although I have lived in Athens for nearly 4 months now, I know that I have barely scratched the surface in terms of what there is to see and do. Certainly, my current series on museums in Athens is helping me to see one side of it, but finding the time to work, blog, and get out and about more is a difficult balancing act. Except when you can go on a tour with the Travel Bloggers Greece group though – then you get to do it all at once, with huge doses of pleasure as well!
The walking tour in Athens was organised by Katerina and Aristotelis of Livin Lovin, who cater to a predominantly ex-pat clientele. Starting off at the Acropolis metro, we strolled through some side streets, stopping off at a few interesting places, until we got to our ‘surprise’…

text & photo source/read more: via: http://www.davestravelpages.com/

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Katerina Tsitsipi, Aristotelis Makris
 Contact us @: info@livinlovin.gr
Land Line +0030 210-8077073
Cell: (+0030) 6988 607866
Cell: (+0030) 6980 120978
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Distinguished EPITAFIOS in Athens

Some of you are going to be in Athens during Easter, so we thought it would be nice if you knew where to find the most picturesque and traditional Epitafios (a procession of the icons and the coffin of Jesus Christ around the streets of the district).

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It ‘s always on Good Friday evening, usually around 8 or 9, except the Monastery of Kaisariani where it takes place 2 – 2:30 in the afternoon through the forest.
So, the most beautiful are in Plaka, at the churches of Agia Aikaterini (starts at 19.30)
and Metohi Panagiou Tafou in Erextheos str.(starts at 19.00).
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Other churches where the Epitafios are special and have beautiful choirs are: Kapnikarea church on Ermou street, Agios Georgios Karytsis with singers from the National Opera in Karytsi square, Agia Eirini on Aiolou street and, more quiet and peaceful, Agios Dimitrios in Plaka (7, Epimenidou street).
Another idea is the monasteries of Pendeli, Agios Ioannis Kynigos in Agia Paraskevi.
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Remember to have candles with you (brown for Friday, white or a decorated or plain white one for Saturday) and enjoy it with all your heart!

What follows on the video is perhaps the most beautiful hymn of the Greek Orthodox Church.

It’s the mourning of Virgin Mary for her dead son. Although it may sound strange to you, try to listen to it, especially after 4.25”. The singer is a very young traditional music singer, but her performance in Byzantine music is remarkable.  We would love to hear some of your impressions.
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The Greek Lenten Table

Several years ago, I spent the night before «Clean Monday», as Greeks call the first day of Lent, baking the traditional Lenten flatbread lagana with a local Athenian baker. Even though he went about his business methodically and professionally, turning out more than a thousand or so loaves, he didn’t fail to observe all the traditions of th fast. Indeed, he was a part of those traditions, for lagana, which traces its roots to the flat grilled porridges of the ancient Greeks, is the lenten bread par excellence.

Byzantine hymns wailed softly in the background as his assistant cut off quarter-kilo rounds of dough. The baker took each piece, slapped it onto his floured work table and proceeded to roll it into perfect ovals with a special studded rolling pin. Every half hour or so he walked over to a counter at the back of the bakedry where he had his evening meal laid out: a container with taramosalata, the Greek fish roe spread, which he ate with fresh tender stalks of young garlic; small pickled green peppers; a small plate of mixed pickled vegetables and olives; a few pieces of rice-stuffed squid and some octopus preserved in vinegar brine. A wedge of halva lay on its side, waiting for the baker to sprinkle some lemon juice over it and wash it down with some retsina. In that small array of dishes, I realized, the whole philosophy of the Greek Lenten table was apparent.

Thinking of Lent as a period of culinary significance might seem ironic–after all the Fast is meant as a period of spiritual and physical cleansing. Yet, some of the best fare in all of Greek cooking are the dishes culled from the tradition of abstention, from the 40 day period before Easter when one shuns all animal products. Until just a few decades ago, the majority of Greeks abided by the dictates of the religious calendar, fasting not only before Easter but before many other major holidays, so that they actually kept off meat and dairy products for nearly half the year. As a result, a whole culinary repertory evolved that is a mirror of the ingenuity of home cooks who relied on the bounty of the season to provide filling, nutritious meals. Greek Lenten recipes are delicious!

SOURCE/READ MORE: http://dianekochilas.com/2298/the-greek-lenten-table

 

 

 

MY EASTER SMELLS OF …

Easter for me has very specific smells that bring back memories from my childhood.

All that being said, I can confide in you that Easter smells of violets – understandable! -ammonia, that my mom used in Easter cookies to help them raise -NOT pleasant- and sour orange tree blossoms that bloomed in every neighbourhood,and still do.

 That’s about my Easters in Athens as a child.

Now let’s talk about YOUR Easter in Greece, or better, what we think your Easter in Greece should be like and what you should not miss.
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CORFU is famous for having a very artistic and …musical Easter.
On Good Thursday and Good Friday you can attend the mass at the Cathedral – with an organ -, the bands go around the streets playing mournful music, and the procession of Epitafios through the little streets of the old town late in the evening give an air of mysticissm and sanctity. The hymns of Good Friday are my personal favourites!
All that until Saturday morning at 11, when people break pottery by throwing them from the windows, in an attempt to chase THE evil-which is not intimidated at all, as we can all see!!!!
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CHIOS island and a lot more, like Kalymnos, are famous for the “rocket war”, a very fierce and loud firework throwing and battle between neighbourhoods.
 Very spectacular, very loud!
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HYDRA, this very special island of Argosaronikos, is famous for putting the Epitafios into the sea in order to bless the sea water. Considering that Hydra was a naval society that depended on sea fares and trade, that makes perfect sense.
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In the CYCLADES I have my personal favourites:
Paros, and more specifically the Epitafios in Marpissa and Santorini in Pyrgos, one of the most beautiful villages of the island, with the little lanterns on the slope of the rock that light up the whole place.
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CRETE.
 What I like about Easter in Crete is -except for the food and the music and dancing that I adore – is the burning of Judas after the resurrection. One big dummy that represents Judas is placed on a bonfire-with a whistle in his…well, backside, and is burned after church with everyone celebrating and the whistle blowing.
Mmmmmm, interesting habit!
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LEONIDIO IN ARKADIA , PELOPONNISOS
.A sweet place, quite near Athens, with small pebble beaches and mountain villages, with a very particular habit:
On Saturday, as soon as the priest announces the resurrection of Jesus -that’s midnight – the sky is filled with paper balloons of various colours that are made by the local people or neighbourhoods. Very spectacular!
 
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The other areas celebrate Easter in their own ways, all very particular and all related to the local habits, customs and traditions. I cannot recommend only one place, there are too many! Remember that Easter is our most important Christian holiday.
So, find your own favourite place, go, enjoy, come back and tell us:
WHAT DOES YOUR EASTER SMELL LIKE?

“Partagez notre amour pour Athènes”

 

 

Un superbe petit tour dans le vieux Athènes avec Katherina qui nous a livrée tous ses secrets et nous a fait découvrir des petits recoins admirables et originaux. Un grand merci Patrick & Sonia.

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“Partagez notre amour pour Athènes”
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Notre tour “Partagez notre amour pour Athènes” est très prisé chez nos clients, leurs proches, amis ou invités. 
C’est un peu de tout: histoire, mythologie, architecture, dégustation de préparations locales, tradition grecque, l’Athènes d’ aujourd’hui, du shopping etc.
Ça se passe au centre historique d’ Athènes, à Plaka, à Psiri, à Monastiraki et les quartiers autour avec leurs petits secrets, leurs monuments et vues uniques, leurs petites chapelles et bien sûr on se régale en goûtant des spécialités locales dans le vieux marché…
On s’amuse à faire de petites pauses pour un café ou un rafraîchissement, pour un snack, une dégustation ou déjeuner sur des terrasses-jardins et des lieux que peu connaissent.
Dans le prix ne sont pas inclus les cafés, les rafraîchissements, le repas ou le vin ou bien les entées aux sites qu’on visite.
Pour tout dire, c’est un tour coupé sur mesure, on s’ adapte alors, volontiers, aux intérêts, aux goûts, aux suggestions ou les préférences de nos groupes.

info@livinlovin.gr

An Ancient Greek eye on Meteorology

To everyone’s delight, the Αlkyonides days have come again this year!

We can see you wondering: the what???

The alkyonides days, the days of spring in the heart of winter. These days usually last from 15 December to 15 February and they visit Greece every year, with few exceptions, ie.1947.

Do you know the myth about them? Alkyoni was  daughter of Aiolos, God of the winds, and was married to Kiykos. They were so happily married and so much in love that they called each other Zeus and Hera. The real Zeus and Hera felt deeply offended by the sacrilege and decided to punish them severely. So they transformed Kiykos into a bird, a vulcher. Alkyoni searched for her beloved husband everywhere, but couldn’t find him anywhere. She cried and cried until the Gods decided to transform her into a bird as well, alkyoni. The problem was that alkyoni is the only sea-bird that lays and hatches its eggs in mid-winter. As a result of that, the waves carried them away and she was left in despair. The gods then, touched by her misfortune and misery, decided to cease the bad weather for two weeks to give alkyoni time to reproduce. So, as we can all see, there are some days of spring in the heart of winter which give us the opportunity to… hatch our eggs, take them out in the sunshine, admire them as they are riding their bikes while we are enjoying a nice …ouzaki!

(this is one of quite a few versions)

ΧΙΛΙΑ ΚΑΛΩΣ ΟΡΙΣΑΤΕ , ΧΙΛΙΑ ΚΑΙ ΤΡΕΙΣ ΧΙΛΙΑΔΕΣ (*) !

(*)Welcome 1000 times !!! 

Welcome to the world of the Greek tradition 

 

Dear friends
this time you will have the chance to literally “live” in the world of the most important elements of Greek tradition and culture: the traditional Music, songs, costumes and dances.
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We are going to visit Idryma Zisi (Zisis foundation), founded in 1975, which is one of the most important foundations working hard all these years to restore, preserve and spread the Greek traditional and Byzantine music, traditional songs, costumes, dances and instruments from all over the country. 
Its aim is to give an overall insight into Greek culture and tradition. 
 
Our visit will start with the history of the foundation and an introduction to the significance of the Greek tradition.Then the foundation people will show us their rich collection of 1200 costumes and give us info about them, and then, the people who would like to, will have the chance to dress up with some of them and take photos! 
 
Following the “theoretical part” of our visit, we have two surprises prepared for you !
  Not only will you practice your first steps of a few Greek traditional dances with one of their teachers, 
but also will have a lesson with one of their most talented traditional song teachers !
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This whole event will take place in Halandri, at 5 Kolokotroni str. right after Dourou square – platia Dourou- (Google maps)on Sunday February 17, will last for approx 3 hours – 1 hour costumes and photos, 1 hour dancing lesson and 1 hour singing lesson –  from 11:00 to 14:00, and, needless to say, afterwards we will all go eating at a nearby taverna.  Bear in mind that we changed the date from the 10th since some of you told us you couldn’t make it ! Since the event is on a Sunday, it won’t 
be difficult to park on the side streets near the foundation. Alternatively, there are parking lots nearby.
Details will follow.
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Date: Sunday February 17
Time: 11:00 to 14:00
Place: 5 Kolokotroni str. Halandri (after Dourou square)
 If the group is large, then we will have to form two  separate groups which will work at the same time, and we will need more teachers and a translator. 
Please apply by February 15
More details and  applications by 
email tsitsipi@gmail.com (Katerina Tsitsipi)
land line: (+0030) 210 – 8077073
Cell, Whats App, Viber  (+0030) 6988 607866
 
Do not miss this event !!!

A Walking Tour for the whole Family

Dear Katerina & Aris,

“I wanted to sincerely thank you for a very special day today. Katerina, you were so generous with your knowledge, time and energy – it was an AMAZING introduction to Athens. We both loved every minute. We were so lucky with the day, and while I know you would make everyone feel fabulous, we really felt that we made a friend today & I look forward to crossing paths again.
Your efforts to engage and tech Stella were fabulous & she really enjoyed it – thank you, it took our adventure to a new level !
I also wanted to thank you very much for guidance & information ”
Penny & Stella

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Katerina has immense knowledge of Athens. Although I thought I knew Athens well already, she still found new information to fill a 4-hour tour of the Plaka. From the first instance that I spoke with her on the phone, she made me feel like I was already a very good friend. She was a true professional throughout the entire process of booking and leading our tour. You will get a guide with supreme integrity who will think only of your best interests.

Her stories make her tours stand out from others. Buildings and monuments come to life as she tells you their tales. I’d seen one monument a hundred times, yet I saw it in a whole new light because of her tour. How did it get there? How did they use it? Why were they important? And why is it still there when everything around it disappeared long ago?

Katerina knows the ins and outs of Athens. Just ask her. She will take you to her favorite museums, but if she thinks that someone else knows your interests better, she will bring them in to guide you. Her vast network includes the best certified guides in Athens and throughout Greece.

Whatever your interests are – food, religion, art, dancing, theater, archaeology, architecture – and wherever you want to go, she will design a custom tour just for you. Most importantly, you will be pleasantly shocked by her reasonable charges. It would be a mistake not to include Livin’ Lovin’ in your Greece trip planning.

Marisa Feyen, Athens resident and travel blogger at With One Single Step

Let us plan your own tailor made experience !
Contact us at info@livinlovin.gr
#makingAdifference #walkingtours #citytours #foodtours

#familywithkids#guidedtours #tailormade #sharingtheathenswelove

#thematicwalks #expats#expatliving #expatlife #livingabroad

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Contact us at info@livinlovin.gr

“Kalin imeran archondes” (“good day Lords”)

(photo)”Children singing the Christmas carols”:

painting by Nikiforos Lytras

carols-lytrasIf someone rings your doorbell early in the morning of  24, 31 December or 5 January, don’t think it’s a naughty neighbor determined to wake you up, it will probably be children singing the “calanda”, the Greek  Christmas carols. These are sung by groups of children or, at least two, accompanied by little triangles, accordions, or guitars. As you open the door, the children will ask you: “Na ta poume?” (Shall we say them?). Your line here is: “Na ta pite” (go ahead and say them). After 25 groups of carol singers you may say: No, thank you, or just not open. Now, you should know that our calanda are very cheerful and joyful songs, they go way back in history (like everything else here), you will absolutely love them, you won’t understand a word because the language is formal Greek with a touch of Ancient Greek. Therefore, open your purse and give the little ones some money, even if you hated them, just for the time they spent learning all these words! You know, in the past homeowners offered the children sweets and pastries, but now…you can’t really pay for your PLAYSTATION with melomakarona, can you?

We’ll be back with more about Christmas in Greece.

* “children singing the Christmas carols”: by Nikiforos Lytras