Thursday, January 29, 2015

A damp day out in Europe’s anti-austerity capital

by Tony Barber

Financial Times

January 29, 2015

In Athens it rains, on average, 64 days a year. Last Saturday, the day before radical leftwing party Syriza won Greece’s parliamentary elections, was one of those days. Unlike a short but violent thunderstorm that struck on Monday evening it was a steady drizzle. Still, it posed the question of what to do in Athens when it’s wet.

You can hardly linger over a coffee at one of the capital’s many outdoor cafés. The Acropolis, up on its rocky promontory, offers panoramic views but is open to the elements. One option is to go for a walk in the spacious National Garden, just behind parliament. Known as the Royal Garden when Greece was a monarchy, this is where King Alexander was bitten by a monkey in 1920 and died of septicaemia at the age of 27.

On Saturday I ventured beyond the National Garden to the Athens War Museum on Rizari Street. This is the official museum of the armed forces. It was established in 1975, a year after the ignominious collapse of the military junta that seized power in 1967. The civilian democrats who replaced the colonels in sunglasses were no doubt content to let them reconstruct old Greek military glories in a museum rather than dabble once again in politics.


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