Urban travel tales

Photographing again in Athens

We have been hearing the last years that it is dangerous to walk around in Athens. Athens is my native city. I have always lived at the center. I used to walk and explore our neighborhood Kypseli with my friend Sofia, at the age of 10, because it was safe for a child to do so in the 70s and 80s. My parents were not happy, but I was.
I am still curious, now I walk with a camera and I take notes in my mind. I admit I could see the storm called “crisis” coming. All the signs were written in the walls, in the streets downtown, years before TV announced it. Like in any other city the heart bits downtown. The symptoms are obvious before the sickness, if only you can see and listen.

Exarcheia

Today I felt optimistic and I walked again. I chose to walk around Exarcheia, not far from where Athens Polytechnic uprising of November 1973 took place against the colonels, the junta; we celebrate every November the 17th, but the rest of the time the adjacent streets are mostly occupied by junkies, the last years.

Reading the walls I detected sparks of humor and creativity along with anger, neglect and despair. An open market at Exarcheia Square was not exactly like the Green market of Union Square, but neither am I a great photographer. They are just starting, producers selling oil, fruits, honey, raisins. A lot of people were hanging around dressed in black clothes; anarchists or depressed, my heart sunk with so much black.
I photographed some colorful street art.
I like to carry a camera. It certainly makes me feel safer. However, I try to be conscious like whenever I am traveling solo.  Exarcheia is a safe place though a lot of Greeks would not agree.
I wanted to share my experience with you. The more of us will visit the area, drink our coffee or eat in the tavernas and restaurants the safer the place will become. I think it is time to reclaim our city, in daytime and at night.

Why I am writing in English? I can put in one sentence: ‘Once a traveler, always a traveler!’

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if you want to know more or refresh your memory about the history and political significance of the neighborhood of Exarcheia since 19th century: 
Greek: http://to.ly/gIcd             English: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Exarcheia
2012 © Copyright. All rights reserved 

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