Travel Greece. Street Art in Athens. Artists like to Tag without Hash

There are roughly 100 museums in Athens, reason enough to visit, right? Tourists usually visit Athens to eat, and to learn about ancient history but the recent history is in fact just as fascinating. The Greeks are obviously upset about what is going on in their country; they are disappointed in their politicians who (they feel) let them down.

In Ancient Times People "Wired" Money

Years and years ago, while I travelled from Nea Moudania in Halkidiki to Athens, I ended up broke (I completely run out of everything) in Euboea. I had such a brilliant time and didn’t watch what I spent. That can happen easily when you are young and still have to find out how things work. This was well before Facebook, Instagram and (gasp) Twitter. Can you imagine I travelled without these? That is another topic, sorry. Back to me stranded in Greece because I was stupid. My parents wired money (that is how things were done in ancient times).

It took the rescue fund a few days till it arrived at a money institute in Greece, and there was also a weekend, you know how it goes. At the bank, while I tried to convince a clerk to lend me money, till the help from my parents arrives (heavens I love how very innocent this is), a lady offered to help. Brigitte was one of the warmest people ever; she took me home with her, fed me, and lent me some money.

Two Jobs to Make Ends Meet

"Most Greeks have to have two jobs to make ends meet" Brigitte told me over shared stuffed capsicums. And these days? You still hear people blaming bureaucracy for the current situation. Politicians hold emergency meeting after emergency meeting, and in general people believe to be the heart and soul of Europe but then there are some who don't want to be part of it anymore. It is so complex and there is no easy answer to the whole situation.

Is Street Art an Art Form?

While walking through the streets of Athens I feel overwhelmed by the sheer amount of art I find. There is a lot to look at and I truly fear to miss too much of it. There is a lot to think about, I can hardly take it all in. To many people street art is vandalism. Take the time to look at the skill that goes into this art form. Take the time to think of all the messages you get from browsing around town, feel the anger, and the excitement and the hope that things are going to change, or better, improve. Take it all in, it is for free. 

This is Athens, and this is what people make from their city. And then there are all these things one can turn into street art, it all depends on how you see the world and how you perceive art.

While walking through Psiri I see a few of these guys and decide to dig deeper to see what they are all about. This is a Manga (can also be a Koutsavakides) playing his komboloi

Whereas today you can peacefully walk through Psiri, in the late 19th century people were scared to do so because it was Manga's territory. The Greek working-class men were anti-establishment, and made up the underworld of Athens. They could be recognized by their striped trousers, long moustaches, putting on only  one sleeve of their jacket, and often playing the komboloi.

By Athenian Street Artist Sonke

By Greek Street Artist Cacao Rocks

Time Travelling - Do You Really Want To Go Back?

Looking at all the street art you soon understand Greeks care about their country and their city; they want to make change and secure a beautiful future. I read one thoughtful message on a wall “I think I’m cool enough, but am I cruel enough?” (It is a line by Canadian Indie Band Arcade Fire). 

Peace and Democracy are the most important goods we have in Europe, and we better protect them with all we have. It is delightful to see how many street artists believe in it by showing their art in public spaces. We shall not be scared of each other, but certainly better watch the ones who want to build walls, erect fences and with that want to restrict our freedom and happiness. Europe has been this place, not so long ago. I love travelling. A lot. But that is a place I don’t need to visit again. Do you want to go back?

Best streets to see Art: There is art everywhere in Athens, a few great spots to browse are Leokoriou, Evmorfopoulou, Melanthiou, Athina Street. 

Would you like to read more about Street Art?

Madrid: Street Art favours a direct understanding of life in the city.  
Discover Street Art in Rotterdam, the Netherlands.  
Street Art London.
Travel Germany. Street Art, abandoned places and coffee in Leipzig, Saxony. Street Art in 7925 Cape Town: Hipster, social justice and tolerance.  
Berlin – stroll through an open-air gallery: Part 3. 
Berlin– stroll through an open-air gallery: Part 2.
Berlin– stroll through an open-air gallery: Part 1.  

From Berlin with love