Even though we like to spend a large part of each day being out and about, our evenings are confined, trapped, it feels at times, at home in the apartment, unless we have been invited to someone's house or have to go somewhere specific. Gone are the days of wandering around the city, taking in the palpable excitement of the streets of Athens, looking at the Christmas lights or visiting favourite bars and tavernas. The reason? The smog that envelopes the whole city in the winter months.
Since austerity hit Greece five or six years ago, people can't afford to turn their central heating on as the price of heating oil has soared. Instead, they burn wood (or other unidentifiable substances) in their fireplaces or stoves. The resulting smog at night is dangerous and unbearable for asthma sufferers like myself. During the day it clears sufficiently for me to be able to go out, but not completely. You can find out more about this and see some photographs here .
Last night we went to a book signing of my niece's novel Road Trip .
This is the entrance to the beach we use in the summer which is at the end of our street.
We drove to Palaio Faliro - the streets were all lit up
as was the lovely little bookshop where the event was held.
A small but perfectly formed bookshop. This is the book selling area
the café area is adjacent and has books suspended on the ceiling
a Christmas tree made out of books in the corner
and Tatiana with the two authors who introduced her novel before the signing.