In our “Chats With Expats” series, The Pappas Post catches up with expatriates living in Greece to find out what they love (and don’t love) about the country. This series aims to share insights about life in Greece from unique perspectives and allow our readers to examine Greek society through an alternate lens.
Name: Marilyn Montalto
Where are you from originally: Melbourne, Australia
How long have you been in Athens: Four years
Occupation: Project Leader, Christian Dior Athens
Social media profiles: Instagram & Twitter – @marilynmontalto
Favorite street in Athens?
It’s not really a street but I absolutely love the path that leads up to Lykavitos, especially if you take it from Dexameni Square in Kolonaki and head up to the picturesque St. Georgios Church on the hilltop.
Your best friend from back home has just landed in Greece, where is the first place you take them?
A late afternoon stroll through Plaka and Anafiotika, sunset views from Filopappou Hill, then back down to Ergon House for a delicious meal.
Best souvlaki in the city?
I prefer paidakia (lamb chops) to souvlaki, and my go to places are Steki tou Ilia in Thissio and Mavros Gatos in Pagrati.
One Greek food you will never eat again?
I haven’t tasted everything, but everything I have I’ve liked. Although don’t hate me, but I don’t like feta cheese.
What’s your favorite Greek wine?
House wine at any Greek taverna. It really is a lucky-dip, and while you can sometimes get bad wine, more often than not I am pleasantly surprised by the quality.
Where is the worst smelling place you’ve been in the city?
There are some trees that have a very distinct smell just before winter, not sure what they’re called but once you smell them you’ll know about it.
Is the Athens transport network better than the one in your hometown?
Most definitely. The Metro system in Athens is fantastic.
Ferry or plane to your favorite island?
I hate to admit it but I prefer the plane. That said, my favorite islands don’t have airports.
One thing you miss from home?
Other than my family and friends, and my dog Jerry, I miss a good old Melbourne dim sim with vinegar.
One thing you don’t?
The famous Melbourne weather and Melbourne beaches. I don’t miss those at all.
What’s your favorite time of year to be in Athens?
All year, but I am definitely a summer girl and having Athens as a base in summer offers me access to some of the best islands and beaches in the world.
What’s your least favorite part about Athens/something that could be better?
Rental property options, footpaths and running tracks.
What’s your go-to beach in Attiki?
There are a few — I like Kape, Little Sesi and Varkiza the most though.
Where is your favorite day-trip getaway (non-beach/island)?
Without a doubt Nafplio. I absolutely love going there anytime of the year.
Favorite coffee/hang-out spot?
ME in Kolonaki. The food and coffee is great.
Favorite museum in Athens?
I would have to say the Acropolis Museum, it’s spectacular.
The graffiti — love it or hate it?
Love it. Not a fan of most of the tagging, but I love the art and appreciate the wittiness of a lot of the political / social commentary (which I need translated).
What’s your best Greek taxi driver story?
I have a go-to taxi driver, Giannis Katzos. Every trip with him is an adventure. One night he drove us to an outdoor club by the beach, when we arrived the music coming from his taxi was louder than that in the club.
Have your Greek language skills improved (for non-native speakers)?
Εννοείτε (Enno-EE-tay) – of course.
What’s your favorite Greek word or phrase?
Ένα freddo espresso σκέτο παρακαλώ (one black freddo espresso please).
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