Two Muses in Athens

I wasn’t sure how I would feel being back in Athens. It is a place of such emotional contrasts for me — its wonderful history and the warmth of the Greeks alongside the tragedy that comes with a collapsed economy, not to mention the heat and pollution of summer. But arriving in Athens on Wednesday, I felt a sweet familiarity. Athens was a partner during the life-changing time I was here among a community of refugees. 

View from our apartment — we can almost touch the roof of this Byzantine Church

Avery and Bella and I are only here for a couple of days so we visited the Acropolis and rambled through the charming neighborhood of Plaka. The streets are packed with tourists but we don’t care. They get henna tattoos, enjoy the souvenir shops and sample the souvlaki.

Flea market at Monastaraki

It rains while we are eating lunch at an outdoor cafe. They go into full duckie mode.

Last night, we had dinner with my adopted refugee family, such a happy event for me. The family is doing well although their lives remain difficult.  Sayed is still working for a large NGO in a very stressful job helping refugees navigate the changes in their lives. 5-year-old Ali is in a special program for children with cerebral palsy and he is noticeably more active and engaged. Muhtasham and Mutahar will be in school in fall, which will give Nahid a chance to catch her breath!

Muhtasham takes the opportunity to make us rethink the uses of paper stickers.

Today, we walked through Psirri, a central neighborhood that is edgy, artsy and increasingly the darling of young tourists.  We took photos of some of the thousands of wall murals and tags we found. Here are a few of our favorites.


Tomorrow: Italy!


  1. Love the summer rains in Athens but it makes the marble sidewalks so slippery! So glad the girls and family got together. Have to laugh at your flea market photo. Not so flattering of the headless woman!

  2. I’ve loved watching your journey with your two relatives/buddies, Kim, seeing everything through their eyes. What a lovely holiday!

  3. i’m going to nominate you for the prestigious Coolest Aunt of the Year award Kim.

    I love the reference you make to Duckie Mode!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s