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Athens with chestnuts flavor

06 November 2010 / 16:11:01  GRReporter
3318 reads

Emanuela Karastoyanova

 

Athens as each capital city has its own flavor. In the winter it is hot chocolate, which warms the Athenians in cafes from the supposedly great frosts. In spring throughout the streets scatters a deadly strong smell of blossoming orange and tangerine trees and... it enchants everyone in a row. Summer here as the whole world knows smells like sea. And the fall... like roasted chestnuts. The fragrance of roasted chestnuts spreads around the city from October. Almost on every street on top of a hot metal plate are huddling together slit in two, smiling roasted chestnuts. Yellow, warm, fluffy, jumped out of their shell, happy little suns. Gentle and sweet is their taste. Taste, which revives low-spirited people in the autumn. From the corners of the city shine the chestnut trees themselves. That's right. Everyone needs a warm autumn tale.

On Ermou street, at the navel of the city, two sweet old people have set their little chestnut kingdom. Maria and Georgeous. Although the elderly people are not from Elin Pelin’s story Choheno kontoshche, they are very similar to the characters. On their faces appears undeniable peace and understanding, backed by the experience of the years passed. They understand each other, without words. She is putting with a metal burnt up peg chestnut by chestnut in a small paper pouch, while he is counting with a look the number of. 7 chestnuts are sold for 2 euro, roasted corn cob is again 2 euro. The two of them sit on the street every day for hours. The stove burns, chestnuts are warm, warming them too.

In the late Friday afternoon many passers by stopped to buy a pouch of the fluffy suns of the elderly. There are many sellers of chestnuts in the city, but the chestnuts of Maria and George are the sweetest. I have tried them and I know. To buy some of that happiness and to happily take a bite somewhere on the streets is pure autumn pleasure. And the Athenians are not at all shying away from it. Towards the stove of Maria and George are looking not only carefree youth, but also elegantly dressed "serious" passers by. They do not refuse the children's temptation, even at the cost of getting dirty with charcoal from a burnt shell.

The mobile oven of the elders has become one of the symbols of Ermou. "For many years now we are here every day. My husband comes in the morning about 09:00 o’clock and I come at lunch time. We stay here up to 21:00 o’clock until the shops close down", says Mary, who is more talkative than her husband. "Autumn and winter we live of the chestnuts, though every day is different. Today we might have work tomorrow not". The elderly people are calm, but deep down still worried. "We have two children and we must help them" - says Maria. Then he adds that the stove on Ermou street is on even if it is raining. "We are opening the umbrellas and we are here again we never leave" - finally her husband joins the conversation. "But we are happy because for so many years working nothing bad has happened to us... The worst we have seen is for a hungry child to steal a chestnut. We do not chase the child, we do not scold him... There are many hungry children, you know..."

For the elders the world is like a carousel. Colorful, variegated, dynamic. Noise and countless tales are flouting through the street full of shops with illuminated signs. And they were like an island amidst the sea. Staring silently into the stream of passers-by and flipping blighted chestnuts. "People are different. Some are happy, others are not..." – thinks Maria. "For so many years we saw so many things... Whoever has money is happy and this can be seen from far away on the street. Whoever doesn’t have money is not happy. But everyone buys chestnuts" – she says with a smile. "Except for the foreigners" – she adds. "They recently don’t even want to buy a bottle of water".

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Tags: Athens autumng chestnuts Ermou street
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