Athenian Spring: A New Dawn
Greece may be a 4 seasons kind of country, but let’s face it, we’re all living for the summer. And the summer begins now. The first rays, the blooming flowers and the pheromones dancing in the air turn a collective frown upside down. And we’re not exaggerating, either. Spring in Greece may just be as magical as the summer. It’s a great time to visit all parts of the country. Athens in particular becomes all that more palatable for us folk who endure its harsh winter (well, we say harsh, but it’s probably more like mild. We southerners are soft that way).
Athens isn’t just the balmy weather and the bars and clubs. Athens is culture and joie de vivre. Spring time is a welcome reminder of that, as events ramp up to get ready to welcome the sun back. There are a multitude of events, both one off and recurring, that mark the beginning of the summer. Athens has oodles of cultural events, catering both high and low brow tastes.
March sees the inauguration of the exhibition ‘Leonardo Da Vinci-500 Years of Genius’ in the Gazi neighborhood. Just round the corner you can catch up on your Japanese book binding and iconography at the Municipal Art gallery of Athens. The National Archaeological Museum is also putting up a temporary exhibition about the ancient textiles that sounds just right. Cretan aficionados won’t want to miss what’s going on at the always impressive Museum of Cycladic Art; an expo of about 500 artefacts centering on the 3 main centers of Minoan culture. The Benaki Museum is hosting a great Japanese traditional dolls and toys collection for those that are into that kind of stuff. And last but certainly not least, Banksy rolls into town with an exhibition at Technopolis. Later on in March, the Comic-Con gets under way in the Kolonaki district in central Athens. This is Greece’s premier comic and illustration conference and it gets better by the year.
For those interested in music, Athens and its newly minted Stavros Niarchos Foundation hosts the National Opera, so there’s always something going on over there. In March, there’s the ‘Marriage of Figaro’, by Mozart. A mere visit to its impressive building complex is enough to set you straight, though. It really is one of the prettiest sights in Athens, and one should dedicate a good portion of time exploring its surroundings. The Greek National Opera at the stately Megaron is putting up its version of “The Wax Doll’. That ought to be interesting.
The Athens half marathon and the 5 km Lycabettus run are the two events that will alleviate you of your feta induced binge.
Spring in Athens is a magical time. With high temperatures and sparse crowds, taking in events and experiencing them as they should really is special. A trip to Athens would be poorer without taking in some of the local flavor. As the hippies in Crete say ‘today is life, tomorrow never comes’. So heed that advice and suck the marrow out of life.