5 Ways to Let Your Inner Zorba Out in Greece
Zorbas and Greece
Nikos Kazantzakis' fictional character, Zorba is one of modern literature's most famous characters. He was a man who really knew how to live life to the max. That's probably why Zorba the Greek is still one of the most popular backpacker's novels.
Here are 5 ways to let your inner Zorba out when you're traveling in Greece:
Shop of the world's most famous sandal maker
When you're in Athens, call in at the shop of the world's most famous sandal maker, Stavros Melissinos. While he has made sandals for everyone from Jackie Onnasis to the Beatles, it is not his expertise as a cobbler that has made him famous. Melissinos is a cobbler-poet, whose works are on the curriculum in many large universities. It could be argued that even that is not what makes him famous.
What makes Stavros Melissinos famous is that, in spite of his brilliance and fame, he chooses to remain what he is: a sandal maker. He is, in the eyes of many of his friends and admirers, the embodiment of Zorba the Greek. In fact, Anthony Quinn, the man who played Zorba in the film, has also purchased sandals from Melissinos.
The Psiri District
Stavros Melissinos' workshop just happens to be in the Psiri district. It's easy to see how Zorba would enjoy hanging out in this fascinating neighborhood, which seems to be two places at once. During the day, it is very working class and aside from a few modest cafes and tavernas, you would be hard-pressed to find anything to eat here. At night, however, the streets come alive and it is the hotbed for Greek nightlife. The formerly empty streets are filled with tables and chairs and even the parking lots are magically transformed into restaurants. Music and laughter fills the air and it doesn't take much imagination to see Zorba jumping up on a table and dancing and clapping.
Athens Central Market
If you want to see life being lived to the fullest, Zorba-style, on a day-to-day basis, then check out the Athens Central Market. You can't live if you don't eat and the Greeks know how to enjoy good food. This is the place where everyone in Athens buys their fresh groceries. You may be staying at a hotel or a guesthouse and not be able to buy food for cooking here, but there's nothing stopping you from sampling some olives until you find one you can't live without and buying a kilo to munch on as you absorb the lively atmosphere of the market.
The port city of Piraeus
Zorba the Greek is set in the port city of Piraeus. Now the largest passenger port in Europe, its main attraction is that it is the gateway to the magnificent Greek islands. In spite of the relentless rise of tourism over the past fifty years, Mykonos, the main island, remains as alluring and magical as it has ever been. Just the glistening whitewashed buildings and the narrow cobbled lanes in the villages give the island an air of sensuous magic. While it's difficult to single out just one main attraction here, Alefkandra is simply not to be missed. Nor are the windmills. Forget everything about everything as you breathe in the fresh sea air and bask in the brilliant blue of the sky and sea and take in the sweeping view from the cliff-side. You'll feel like shouting for joy - as Zorba would.
Beyond a shadow of a doubt, nobody who goes to Greece should miss a visit to the Acropolis. It is not the most spectacular ruins in the world, nor is it the largest, but there it stands, to this day a symbol of all that is great about Greece and, in a larger sense, about humanity. Here is a quote from Nikos Kazantzakis for you to chew on while you're there: "Every perfect traveler always creates the country where he travels."
Books about Greece
- The Golden Age of Athens
- Palaces of Ancient Greece.
- What to do in Athens, Greece
- Greece Vacation: 5 Useful Tips for a Great Trip
- Budget Travel Greece - Tips for a Cheap Vacation
- Greek Islands - Delos, Birthplace of Apollo
- Honeymoon in Greece - Five Places for Newlyweds
- The Best Women's Travel Clothes
- Greek Islands - Books and movies
- Best security wallets for your travel adventures
More by this Author
Sun-soaked, historic and beautiful, Sicily is an extraordinary place to visit. Often overlooked for Italy’s more northern attractions, a visit to Sicily is like discovering a well-kept and delightful secret. From...
Here are ten ancient ruins of Rome, Italy that are definitely worth seeing. When you're planning your trip to Rome, save time for these ancient highlights!
How ever well you think you know Venice, Italy, you're in for a some surprises! One of the most popular tourist destinations in the world, it's still possible to escape the crowds in its narrow streets and hidden...