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THE WELCOMES

Our inherent habit

Kalos irthate! You’d better get used to the sound of these two words, because you are going to get that a lot while you’re in Athens - it's our “welcome!"

We don’t just do it for the sake of good manners, it’s in our nature. Blame it on the nation’s genes, on an obscure mutation that has made us instinctively eager to welcome everyone to our home, to Athens, to Greece.

We welcome strangers at the airport as if they were loved ones, holding up name signs with ̶ not one, but ̶ two exclamation marks! We ask them how their flight was, we pry about the delicacies served on board, we advise them on the weather, on the traffic, on happenings not to be missed… Don’t misunderstand us, we don’t mean to interfere; it’s just our natural welcoming impulse!

You’ll recognize it in the strong pat on the back you’ll get from the merchant in the Monastiraki flea market that just agreed to lower his price.   It’s in the hurry of a waiter in Plaka, who insists on rearranging your chairs to make sure you can watch the sunset. It’s in the cold beer and the rich froth of your coffee, on the serene faces of the statues that invites you to explore their age-old stories. It spreads above you, a daily “Welcome!” in the sunset’s silky banners trailing across a motley sky canvas.

The whole city is waiting to welcome you, and that’s no idle metaphor. Because we are a big bunch of welcomers who will put on our best smiles, prepare the tastiest treats, and in no time at all  find a reason to celebrate with you. 


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