Living in Greece

A practical guide to moving, living, working & traveling in Greece, plus musing and misadventures from an American in Athens

Roasting season is upon us


We all know what it means when summer is officially declared in Greece — roasting season has begun!

Even before words like καμíνι and φούρνος come out of the winter closet and make their appearance on newscasts to describe the day’s weather, you know summer is fast approaching because Slimline and Gili Center start pushing their services on those who might have overindulged at Easter, and Laserline offers to zap unmentionables off fuzzy men and women.

For those who prefer to be discreet, Nair and Neet can assist in the quest to be one of those women stretching their legs on boats, beach chairs and underwater swims, and infomercials sell magic gel to smear on problem areas, squeeze in plastic wrap and melt away the inches.

The annual Playmate of the Year contest, shown at the turn of summer, has plenty of lithe young women bouncing and bending over in fake showers should anyone need inspiration.

If you are successful in making yourself presentable, you can appear in one of three reports running weekly throughout summer, which promises to be a hot one:
1) Act surprised or uncaring about how sun exposure causes premature aging, wrinkles, age spots and skin cancer, then marvel at or dismiss this “new” invention called sunscreen. People ask me why certain nationalities look so old. It’s not hard to figure out.
2) state the obvious by saying, “πολύ ζέστη” a lot and fan yourself, when asked about the weather; or
3) be an unsuspecting woman in a barely there bikini that attracts peeping tom closeups on two primary regions.

But for me, the saddest thing about the end of summer is the fact that ice cream takes its leave. That’s right. Unlike the Danish and Italians who are my kind of folks and love it year round, ice cream is an “only for summer” product in Greece, much like deodorant. This may explain the demise of Baskin-Robbins in Syntagma several years ago, and the malodorous smell in winter.

So why does my Greek counterpart call it roasting season? It’s that time of year when Mr. and Ms. Butterball slather butter on white skin and bake themselves to a crispy, golden brown. 😀

In the news

The seven sins of Greek summer: Experts warn about sun exposure without sunscreen, dangerous driving, drinking & eating too much, abandoning pets and littering, but Greeks don’t listen” — Ta Nea

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  melusina wrote @ June 24th, 2007 at 18:12

I hate the summer, mostly because of the sun. With lupus, sun is a bad word, and living in a country that is so outdoor-centered during the summer just reminds me even more how I’m not “normal”. Hey, at least I’m not at risk for skin cancer, right?

The ice cream thing does really suck. It is especially hard when you make a nice apple pie in the fall with no vanilla ice cream to be had! I told my husband this year we are going to have to stock up on Polaretti (the popsicle things they have) before the season is over so we can enjoy them year round.

  Zoe wrote @ June 26th, 2007 at 12:52

Hi there, nice blog. Re comment about ice cream, you can always go to the ‘ice cream cafes’ for some during the winter season. Try Dodoni. I’m certain you’ll like it!

  Kat wrote @ June 28th, 2007 at 23:07

Mel- I read your post about lupus, which was extremely informative and straightforward. Being in the sun for long periods during peak exposure isn’t good for a lot of people. I was guilty of it when younger, however I wised up early enough to “preserve” myself (haha). If I really feel the need to look tan, I’ll do the self tanning thing or use a nice bronzer from the States. I just came back from a few days on an island, and I’ve got a little color, but I used sunscreen and stayed under an umbrella much of the time.

I’m going to look for the popsicles you mentioned. I make my own out of juice and fruit, but sometimes it’s nice to have pure sin.

Zoe- Thanks for the suggestion, but I tried Dodoni 10 years ago and didn’t like it. It does suit other people though. I make my own ice cream from scratch, so I can have any flavor I want, anytime I want.

  JennDZ – The Leftover Queen wrote @ June 29th, 2007 at 22:34

Hi Kat!
Thnaks for coming over to my blog and commenting! I loved this post! Very witty!

  Maria wrote @ July 19th, 2012 at 09:16

If you live close to Ilioupoli, you must try a little ice-cream shop I discovered, out of luck! This store actually closes in the summer months, because the man doesn’t have fresh milk to make his daily dairy products. It is the best of the best! Turns out my pethera used to go there, when she lived in Athens over 30 years ago..

Chryssostomou Smyrnis 15

When he opens in October, he stays open 7 days a week, including argies, until 9pm. Try the crema and rizogalo too! You will thank me later!! 🙂

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