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Gazi. The trendiest neighbourhood in Athens.

Full of life, Gazi neighbourhood (Γκάζι) is one of the most cheerful in Athens. This is the place to taste the nightlife of the Greek city, a labyrinth of narrow streets full of multitudes to enjoy a great offer of leisure.

This was the first neighbourhood hosting gay-friendly clubs and, after time, became the trendiest place in Athens, with an energy that cannot be seen anywhere else in the city and its own rhythm.

In Gazi there are the modern cocktail bars, night pubs, new cafés and restaurants, also museums, galleries and theatres. The main spot in the neighbourhood is an old gas factory that was reopened in 1999 as an elegant arts centre named Tecnópolis.

Gazi means exactly that, gas factory, and is at this factory where there are exhibitions, concerts and festivals regularly. The building is from 1862 and includes cultural spaces, a big patio, the María Callas Museum, the city radio and a cosy café.

This might be one of the few gas factories that remain after World War II. The reason is that is near the Acropolis and the old archaeological setting of Keramikos and the nazis, who were into classic culture, were afraid to bomb this area.

At night, the relaxed cafés of Gazi Square and the streets around, like Iakou, Persephonis, Dekeleon and Voutadon, become modern bars and restaurants.

Go to Mamaca's in Persephonis street. It’s a classic around here, the place to eat great Greek food. At the same street, The Butcher Shop, an excellent psistaria, typical Greek tavern specialized in roast and grilled meats. Both restaurants have tables in the streets.

In Vitonos there is Thalata, a great restaurant specialized in seafood. Even it’s a little bit expensive for the Greek standard, the quality is great and you won’t feel like you’re in a fake place made for tourists. Walls are painted with the beautiful colours of the Cyclades and you can get the advice from the owner to get the freshest products.

In Athiri you have a great weekly menu, made of gourmet courses, for about 25€. The restaurant was awarded several times so is a safe option, with fresh products, organic olive oil and homemade desserts. Even the bread is homemade!

To go for a drink, Gazarte is the most famous place to go. Getting a cocktail at the roof, with great views over the Acropolis, is so refreshing. There is also a cinema, a restaurant, a bookstore and a room where there’s live music scheduled daily.

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Top destinations this autumn

The trees have turned yellow and golden. Autumn has suddenly arrived and we think that the best way to make the most of it is by travelling! Today we would like to invite you to travel in autumn and discover our favourite destinations.

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Gods' Capital

This fascinating city, the cradle of Greek mythology and philosophy, offers an endless number of magical places to visit. We recommend to start at the Temple of Olympian Zeus, where tickets can be bought to visit the set of archaeological landscape. With this ticket, you can then go to the Acropolis, also known as”high city” and the Agora, the ancient center of commercial activity and culture.

As it is one of the longer tours, it is ideal to start early in the morning: the pedestrian area around theAcropolis has a length of 3.5 kilometers, we will access
from Dionissiou Aeropagitou street, where we can also admire numerous buildings of neoclassical style and some more modern buildings, very elegant and stately. Once inside the Acropolis, we will find Dionysus Theater (the oldest in the world), among other interesting sites.

Once the tour has finished on the highest part of the city, it is recomendable to go to the neighborhood of Monastiraki to rest and recharge in one of its taverns or in any of the traditional restaurants and finish the tour in the Agora. In winter it is more appropriate to do the route in reverse (first of all you can visit the Agora and then the Acropolis, as the Agora closes its doors at three p.m.). The picturesque Ifestou street can be found in the surroundings of the Monastiraki square, a street full of old little shops selling furniture, second hand books and all sort of things which it is worth to take a look at.

It is indispensable to visit the motley Palka neighbourhood, located in the old town, to immerse in the Athens heart and taste some of their typical dishes like a delicious moussaka or the souvlaki. On the other hand, Psiri is a less touristy neighbourhood due to the austerity of its buildings and streets. Nevertheless it has a buzzing nightlife, as it is a vibrant neighborhood in continuous motion.

Syntagma Square is a must see as it houses two iconic Athens monuments, The Hellenic Parliament and The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier where the National Guard always patrol clad in their fustanella uniforms and also accompanied by a military band on Sundays.

Mount Lycabettu, known as The Wolves Hill, offers the best panoramic view of the city and you can see both, the islands of Salamis and Aegina, the Attica’s basin, from there. From Cape Sounion (where according to the legend, Aegean was launched to the sea), you can enjoy an enigmatic and breathtaking sunset that captivates the senses

Meteora por Evlahos

If you have spare time and want to finish this journey with one of the most beautiful visual spectacles of the world, we recommend you going to Delphi (declared World Heritage site by Unesco and considered the center of the universe in the ancient times) and also visit The Meteora mountains near the town of Kalabaka. Meteora is characterized by its rock formations that look like meteorite fallen from the sky. In the summits of The Meteora mountains we find the Orthodox monasteries build by the hermits living in the IX century to protect them from the Turkish invasion five centuries later.

By Blanca Frontera

Picture by Ferengi

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Eight Places Not to Miss in Edinburgh

To start, let’s recall that Edinburgh is both a World Heritage Site and also the first place to be designated by UNESCO as a “City of Literature”, because of its numerous well-preserved buildings and monuments and its age-old literary traditions.

The city is best seen at a walking pace, and as a pedestrian you’ll find its hidden nooks and crannies and perchance the spirits of the city’s famed authors and even more famous creations, such as Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and his shrewd detective Sherlock Holmes, Robert Louis Stevenson and the two-faced Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, or Sir Walter Scott and his heroic Ivanhoe and Rob Roy characters. And there’s even a chance you’ll see some of the city’s literary figures in the flesh, for we shall start our tour in the café with the red façade where the contemporary author J. K. Rowling penned many of her early stories and planned her books about the boy wizard Harry Potter.

1. Few people noticed the young Rowling scribbling in her notebooks at a table in the unprepossessing Elephant House café. The establishment, which opened in 1995, remains a favourite of literary types, thanks to its selection of the city’s best coffees and teas, which continue to stain many pages of manuscript. Huge breakfasts are also served, as well as hot midday and evening meals, plus the usual sandwiches and cakes, etc. And there’s an excellent wine list, too. No excuse for not sitting down and writing your book!

2. Or you might prefer to take a stroll down Edinburgh’s legendary Royal Mile, linking the city’s two most popular monumental sites, Edinburgh Castle, standing above the city atop the towering volcanic basalt plug known as Castle Rock, and, at the other extreme, Holyrood Palace, the official Scottish residence of the British monarch. A slow and attentive walk down the four stretches of the Royal Mile, called Castlehill, Lawn Market, High Street, and Canongate, will infuse you with the unique, friendly atmosphere and stony charm of this historical city.

3. If you appreciate the macabre, on your walk down the Royal Mile you must stop at Mary King’s Close, a warren of gloomy underground streets and enclosures widely believed to be haunted by the ghosts of the past. Once a thriving market, the close was named for a woman who lived there and traded in cloth in the early 1600s. According to urban legend, when the plague struck the area in 1645, the authorities walled it off, leaving scores of people inside to die. Since, then reports of strange lights and noises have fuelled beliefs that the zone remains haunted. Visitors often brings dolls to calm the ghost of the legendary Annie, a child plague victim thought to have been left by her parents to die in the Close, and whose heart-rending cries can still be heard. Perhaps.

4. For a Facebook-worthy selfie showing Edinburgh Castle in the background, the place to go is Princess Street, Edinburgh’s main shopping street, which featured in the 1996 film Trainspotting. Apart from the shopping opportunities there, the street happens to be the best place from which to capture a panoramic view of the castle, since there are no buildings on the castle side of the street, but only gardens and monuments.

5. If you’re looking for quirkier and more out-of-the-way shops, head for the wildly picturesque Victoria Street, a curving slope just off the Royal Mile that is a favourite of photographers because of its colourful specialised shops selling liquors, cheeses, handicrafts, and all sorts of treasures. You’re sure to find bargains in the several charity shops selling used clothing and other items, the proceeds from which are donated to worthy causes. Harry Potter’s creator J.K. Rowling acknowledged that this street was her inspiration for Diagon Alley, where her wizards bought their magical gear.

6. Edinburgh is not made entirely of stone, despite initial impressions. It also features expansive green zones, such as the parks of Calton Hill and Arthur’s Seat, where the city’s joggers, cyclists, and dog-walkers go. Both offer fantastic views of the city from on high. The 251-metre Arthur’s Seat is the peak to which, according to legend, King Arthur used to repair when he needed time alone to think. Atop Calton Hill are two monuments to British victories over the French, Nelson’s Tower, commemorating the battle of Trafalgar, and Scotland’s National Monument, an unfinished construction modelled on the Parthenon in Athens, built in the 1820s to honour Scotland’s dead in the Napoleonic wars.

7. At Ocean Terminalin the Port of Leith, Edinburgh’s harbour, stands the Royal Yacht Britannia, used by the British royal family from 1954 until 1997 when it was converted into a floating museum that is well worth a visit –don’t miss the little bedroom where Queen Elizabeth II slept during her nearly 1,000 state voyages.

8. To finish up, you might visit Greyfriars Cemetery and have your picture taken next to the statue of one of Edinburgh’s heroes, Bobby, a Skye terrier traditionally believed to have stood watch by his master’s grave for no less than14 years, until his own death in 1873, after which he was buried next to his master.

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Text and Photos: Nani Arenas

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