Cheap flights from the USA to Athens

News site Quartz, recently teamed up with flight search engine Hopper, to present a tool that helps you find cheap flights from some major US airports to select destinations (US and international), with Athens being one of them.

The results aren't really that surprising - if you want a cheap summer flights to Athens you're out of luck - but the tool does help you to come up with some ideas and focus your search a bit if you're not really set on certain dates. 

For five US airports (Baltimore, Boston, LA, Miami and NY LaGuardia) the cheapest Athens flights can be found in the fall. For another ten (Atlanta, Chicago O'Hare, Dallas, Houston Bush, NY JFK, Newark, San Francisco, Seattle, Washington Reagan, Washington Dulles) the cheapest flights are during the winter. So, if you're a New Yorker start your search by LaGuardia in the fall and JFK or Newark in the winter, not that the one is necessarily cheaper than the other (different airlines use different hubs). So, maybe this is just a publicity trick and I took the bait! But it's a good reason to start you thinking about a non-summer vacation to Greece, especially if you're less tolerant to heat and you live in a place that enjoys a reasonable amount of sunshine in itself.

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Latest events in Greece and your vacation (pt. 2) - Continuous updates /snapshots of life in Athens (latest: July 22)

I find it hard to hit the streets and post photographs of sunsets, buildings and the like these days. I'm sure you understand why... So, in this evolving post I will give you snapshots of daily life in Athens as the latest episode in "the Greek financial crisis" unfolds.

Also, following my previous post ten days ago (that seem like an age the way things are running) I will post here (and update when necessary) articles that are worth reading in order to get a full and concise grasp of the situation in Greece. I have done it in the past and always provided a clear picture for visitors and all people interested in the situation in Greece. In recent days, a great number of Greeks living abroad, mostly Greek-Americans or Greek-Australians, have been talking out of their @ss about the situation in Greece and the need to be "heroic" and the like. Sure, when you have your big, safe house in New Jersey to go back to every night, it's easy to ask people 5,000 miles away to satisfy your morbid fantasies of traditional Greek "heroism".
But I like Americans as a whole, so I won't stick to that. I just had to get it out of my system!

So, here's the one insightful political analysis that you need to read about the current Greek government: "The referendum was one of the biggest frauds in Greece’s modern political history" (posted in GR Reporter).
The other big news of the day (Wed., 8 July 2015) was the pulverizing speech of Liberal MP Guy Verhofstadt in the European Parliament today, in a plenary session with Greek Prime-Minister Alexis Tsipras, which has been watched and re-watched by millions of people throughout Europe. You need to watch this 7min50sec video, especially if you're a Greek expat and you think you know what's happening in the country! Finally, here's a good attempt for a balanced perspective from a Greek professor working in the UK: Half-truths in the Greek crisis conceal the big picture (by Haridimos Tsoukas).

Now, concerning your vacations, CNN put on a really good and concise article this week with the latest travel advice for tourists heading to Greece: Do as it says; it's really good. Just one detail: Bring small change with you as well (in Euros or dollars), because people are practically left with 50 and 20 Euro bills (and debit cards) with few other banknotes or coins in circulation. Also, if you follow the advice and bring cash with you remember to keep it safe when moving around such as in a safety pouch a.k.a. waist pouch or wallet.

Thu., 9 July 2015: A much smaller rally of the "We Stay in Europe" camp in the evening, at Syntagma Square. Summer heat, pessimism, optimism or exhaustion? 
Rays of light and hope towards the evening, as news emerged that French and EU officials have taken the Greek govt. by the hand, to help it draft a decent bailout / reform package / expense slashing proposal.  

Fri., 10 July 2015: Too hot and a lethargic day at work today. Air-condition in bad condition (for the nth straight year). 
On my way home I passed from the drugstore. A 50-year old man came in, holding two plastic bags. He was trying to sell(?) 250Euros worth of coins in 1 and 2 Euro-coins. He was asked to return on Monday, when the boss would be there.

Sat., 11 July 2015: I bought my first beers after more than a month. Cheap domestic lagers. No final deal yet on the bailout...

Tue, 14 July 2015: I have become quite ruthless in passing out my 50 Euro banknotes in order to get change... "No madam, I have no change. Nothing!"

Wed, 15 July 2015: This morning, for the first time ever, I came across 2 broken buses on my way to work. Running short of supplies?

Wed, 22 July 2015: A hot summer day, following another hot summer day. During our -unofficial- lunch break I had a craving for an ice-cream. I ventured out into the heat towards a nearby kiosk to get an ice-cream of my favorite brand. As I approached I saw an ambulance and people gathered around a bench behind the kiosk. I heard the paramedic saying something about a body bag. It was then that I noticed the body of a homeless(?) man laying still, sideways, on the bench. I went back to work.

Fri., 25 July 2015: Almost impossible to find "Lucozade Lemon" in supermarkets. Only the crappy "Lucozade Orange" available. I was told by a manager that as neither of them is a very big seller they are not prioritized in the supermarket's procurement policy in light of capital controls. "Necessities" first. I get furious thinking of the pretentious idiot who will find it appropriate to say something ironic about this. On related news, I read a post by a farmer that tomato seeds imports are not prioritized either by the special government committee set up to oversee the regulation of product imports (and exportation of cash)...

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Latest Greek political events: "We Stay in Europe" rally, bank run, your Greek vacation and travel advice (update)

"We Stay in Europe" : A pro European rally was organized last week in Syntagma Square, in front of the Greek Parliament

I have deliberately avoided discussing politics in this blog, even though, as a typical Greek I am fiercely interested in the country's political life. My difference from the typical Greek is that I don't feel compelled to incessantly spew my opinion on others. Well, I'm going to make a small exception today tonight.

Two hours ago (at around 1:00am at night) the current Greek Prime-minister, following a 5-month long nationalist-socialist rhetoric and practice (with constant threats to dissenting TV stations, newspapers, journalists and even cartoonists), announced his government's intention to carry out a referendum on a tentative deal offered to the Greek government by its international creditors (the text of which the average Greek citizen has of course not seen). EU leaders will most likely say that this is a referendum on staying in or out of the Euro. It is doubtful (if not outright impossible) that the government will be able to organize such a referendum in just 8 days and if it does try to pull it through in such short notice I doubt about its validity and legitimacy.

Meanwhile, Greek banks are on life-support from the European Central Bank and people have been constantly withdrawing cash from their bank accounts or transferring their savings abroad. The current government's decision has already sent people rushing to ATMs in the middle of the night, making the bank-run inevitable to hide any longer, as Greek TV stations are now reporting.

As far as you're directly concerned, this decision is essentially setting a bomb under the Greek tourist season which has already been affected by the long-standing, fruitless, negotiating show.
Syntagma Square last Monday
Last week, a pro-European rally titled "We stay in Europe" was organized through social media.  About 10,000 to 20,000 people were present. I have no doubt that -sooner or later- the European side of Greece will prevail.

Some Greeks still have the merchant's mentality alive in them: A hot dog stand before last week's rally at Syntagma Square...

...and a seller of Greek flags and whistles (the rally organizer's suggested "weapon" for waking up the government)
The statue of Eleftherios Venizelos - a true Greek statesman - at the courtyard of the Greek Parliament.

More, continuing updates in my next post.

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