Grecian Formula Number Five

Back on dry ground in Athens it was another day to explore. Be assured, we never monkey with our food. (Even with Gluten Free needs, we could eat absolutely everything…and we sure did.)
We had heard about the interesting practice of the ‘Changing of the Guard’ at the Presidential Palace so we hiked over to see what it was all about.
The change of the guards takes place every hour by the military unit whose members stand proudly in perfect stillness in front of the Parliement.

The Evzones is a special unit of the Hellenic Army, also known as Tsoliades, who guard the Monument of the Unknown Soldier in front of the Hellenic Parliament and the Presidential Mansion.
Through the historical movement of Greece, the Evzones have become symbols of bravery and courage for the Greek people.
The Presidential Guard, as the unit is now called, was constituted in 1868 and has taken many names through centuries (Guard of the Flag, Royal Guard, etc).

The soldiers of the Presidential Guard are selected according to their height, excellent physical condition, and psychological state as well as character and morality, as they follow a hard training before they become part of this honorary unit. The training lasts for one month and includes exercises to keep the body and mind still. Apart from staying still, the soldiers must also not make any face or eye movement and must not show any expression.
Even mammary glands of unusual size can’t phase or change the solemn expression of a guard.
Their uniform has a historical meaning. It refers to the uniform of the Kleftes and Armatoloi, two groups of Greek warriors during the War of Independence in (1821) against the Ottomans.
In fact, the white skirt of the uniform has 400 folds to represent the 400 years of Ottoman occupation over the Greeks.

The uniform consists of:
– the phareon which is the Evzone’s hat, made from red baize with a black tuft
– the white shirt with loose sleeves
– the phermeli, which is the waistcoat and it is the most difficult part to construct, handmade with many shapes wrought on it
– the Greek kilt (or else foustanella), its structure requires 30 meters of white cloth
– the tsarouchia, the traditional shoes of Evzones which are red, made of leather, with a small tuft in front. Each shoe weighs three kilos
– the fringes, blue and white standing for the Greek flag
– the garters which are made of silk
– the leather belt
– the inside garnet
– and the gun which is the most difficult piece to carry, not only for its gravity but also for the physical pressure exerted on the soldier’s body.

After standing perfectly still for one hour the pair of guards perform what looks like something from ‘The Ministry of Silly Walks’. But each move is choreographed to bring circulation back to muscles that were rigid for 60 minutes.
Ya…pretty sure I wouldn’t make the Evzones.
Next a short hike to Syntagma Square the central square in Athens. The square is named after the Constitution that Otto, the first King of Greece, was obliged to grant after a popular and military uprising on 3 September 1843. Under Syntagma square is a major transportation hub for buses.
Akadimia Platonos, Plato’s Academy. Established on this approximate location in 387 BC.
In scouting out a bakery to get one of those delicious spinach and cheese pastries, I came upon this great reflection shot. The building next to the one with the mural was all glass.
What better way to cap off a fantastic day of sightseeing than to join the other happy shoppers at Monastiraki Square.
For the ‘off season’ there were plenty of tourists around.
Even was able to pick up a little street musicians culture.
My beautiful girlfriend and favorite photographer took this photo. The people, the color and the Athens Acropolis all in one picture.

One response to “Grecian Formula Number Five”

  1. Fun one.


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