I’ve come to realize while I’ve been here that I’m not a big coffee drinker. I love my espresso, or maybe a cappuccino, but I think it’s best in small quantities. However, during orientation, the program introduced us to frappes, which have the caffeine of four cups of coffee, warned us of past students who have ended up in a doctor’s office from too much in a day… and taught us how to make them at home with instant coffee, an ice cube and a cheap go cup that looks like a sippy cup. I tried my first frappe over the weekend. It was my last!
There are a number of cafes close to the apartments and the center, and I’m trying to test out as many as I can. The one closest to school, named Stadium cafe after the Panathenaic stadium just around the corner, has these cups to amuse the many CYA students who visit from semester to semester. We’ve realized that they give the pink cups to the women and the grey cups to the men. I’m challenging myself to be on a first name basis with the shop owners I visit often. So far, Gregory at Stadium is one of my first local friends!
Some cafes close around 3:00 in the afternoon because Greece has quiet hours, and many businesses close during that time only to (maybe) reopen (some days…I’m not sure which yet) around 5 or 6. I had to hunt for a while the other day to find one that would not close for the siesta, but landed at one with a handful of old men reading the paper. I felt slightly out of place as I opened my workbook to begin copying the alphabet…
Everyone spends lots of time in cafes, because by buying even a simple tea or coffee, you effectively have rented the table and are free to stay. In the US, you can be pressured out of a restaurant or cafe for sitting for hours and buying only one thing, but this is normal here!