Even though I was strolling all over Athens, exploring the secrets of this mystical city by myself, I know that there are many more things that I haven’t heard about. Is there are any better way to experience the city than living it like a local for a day? That’s why I was more than happy when I got the invitation to be a guest of Epiculiar tour and discover the taste of Athens with a help of local guides.
To tell the truth, before the day of the tour I didn’t know so much info about where I am going except that it is a food tour. I wanted to be like I am heading to spend the morning with friends, for a coffee and bites. The meeting point was at Akropolis station, exactly at 10 am. I think I was a few minutes late, following the stereotypes that Greeks are always late, and that rule that this morning we are acting like locals. The ladies from Epiculiar tour were waiting for me with a smile and started the tour immediately with a short history lesson about the neighborhood.
Koukaki neighborhood is the well-known corner of the city about which I heard many times, Vogue has named Koukaki as the ‘new up-and-coming neighborhoods’ to visit in Athens. It is a hot place with many small streets in which are hidden cafeterias and mostly family owned restaurants. Everything here has its own story! It made me wonder how the past, present, and future are connected. Koukaki neighborhood is a small lively museum!
MORNING COFFEE TIME
As we were locals for that day, our first stop was a coffee place. I believe that you know that coffee is the best friend of many Greeks! The coffee store we headed to is not like any other store. Besides the coffee, it is also a book store, and second home of many people who are coming to read, work, or just chill out with their friends. While being surrounded by books, drinking the traditional Greek coffee and tasting handmade sweet spoon, Elena from Epiculiar presented me a small history lesson. In about half hour I had the opportunity to learn many interesting things connected with Athens and memorials here. For example, I learned the story about The Battle of Marathon. Have you heard about it before?
Next destination. not far away are a family owned a bakery and next to it bar. Need to say that this became my favorite spot in Athens where I kept returning after the tour. As any other place, this one has its own story. It started from being just a famous bakery who was producing a thousand “koulouri” every day. After the young generation from the family came into the business. they decided to put some new modern things that they would find attractive. Likewise, the two brothers have moved the bakery to the new destination as well as opened a bar. Today you can buy products at the bakery and just go to the next doors to enjoy the drink and eat spinach pie, my favorite, for example.
Need to mention that during my next visit beside the drinks, I also ordered the plate of meat which was delicious! The prices at this bakery- bar are really affordable and I was surprised with them taking in consideration that it is placed in the middle of the Athens.
On the way to the area for food, Elena described me the meaning behind the Greek flag, and also why the owl is the sacred animal of Athens. But let’s keep it for some other time! Anyone up for food?
We found our spot in taverna that in the past was a place for workers to come to eat. All meals are traditionally cooked meals specially prepared for that day and people could choose from the shelf what would they eat. Elena helped me to choose things I must try, and need to say that they were so tasty! Sitting there, chatting about the Greek wedding traditions, and many others, I really felt comfortable with sitting with friends and learning many new things with every new sentence.
Next stop was a surprise.
We have visited the family owned small factory of mastiha and Turkish delights. As Manos said there are people who are the best friends of mastiha and other ones who are its enemies. I was in the second group for a long time. When he gave me this time to try, I took it just wanted to be polite, but guys it was so delicious and the best delight I needed for the warm day! It was the mouthwatering delicacy! Manos has an interesting story behind himself, a student from abroad, he decided to return to Greece and overtake family business. Although he is trying to keep the traditional way of production, he presented me the new modern way of organization that he implemented. As a marketing student, I truly enjoyed listening to him. It is one more story about the connection of past and present.
Now it’s time for ouzo and meze!
For these bites we have stopped at one place that looks like a story. Indeed, it is, but behind that, there is a lot more. It is a place where you can sit and enjoy a tasting of Greek cheese. The owners of this place are two friends, lawyers, who decided to exchange their suits for their passion.
Heading to the next stop, Elena told me some information about their tour agency and the tours. This tour had a goal to meet us with the Greek’s everyday life, and it includes 17 bites. Honestly, I didn’t count those bites but I am sure it was a lot more. The cost of the tour is 89 euros and it has up to 6 people.
Together with Epiculiar tours, I have good news for you! You can enjoy Athens or Thessaloniki as a local and get 15% discount on the tours until the end of this year with SERBIANGIRL2017 code. For more information please visit their website or contact them by email email@example.com.
And here we are, the time flies so fast when you are surrounded by positive people and interesting things!
The last stop was at the pastry renowned store. Cannot find the word to describe you my facial expression when I heard that they are awarded for their ice cream! Upon I received my uniform from the general manager Kostas, I got the chance to try my skills and to bake my own triangle vanilla cream sweet.
The first try was not so successful but after few times, I want to believe that I was successful in it! Have you ever tried to make triangle sweet?
At the end of the post, I want to thank Epiculiar girls for this morning. This tour is made for everyone. Be aware that there are some steps to be made in order to reach your bites, it is not far away and it is possible even for kids. I especially loved the fact that all places we have visited are mostly family- friends owned places founded back in time, who struggled, adapted and found their place in the modern world. All products we tried were Greek products! Have you tried them yet?!
I was a guest of Epiculiar tours at Koukaki alluring sensations, 4 hours food and culture tour.
If you want to experience Athens or Thessaloniki as a local and enjoy the day with Epiculiar team, you can use SERBIANGIRL2017 code and get 15% discount on the tours until the end of this year. For more information please visit their website or contact them by email firstname.lastname@example.org. And do not forget to tell me your experience! 🙂