Rafina: Athens’ Hidden Gateway

Rafina, Greece
Photo by Depositphotos.com

We arrive in Rafina around two in the afternoon and walk straight towards the least commercial looking fish restaurant in the port. Amarandi and I share a plate of kalamaraki that they didn't even bother to clean. Wrong restaurant.

I used to have a method of finding the best kalamaraki restaurant in Rafina. They all look the same, some bigger some smaller and it's always hit or miss. "Is this the one we went to two years ago that was so good?"

"No I think it was this one with the checkered tablecloths."

But maybe they just switched tablecloths. The problem is that I don't come here enough. I used to come all the time with Corinne, at least a couple times during the summer and those summers that lingered until November we came more often. It's a twenty minute drive from Athens on an off hour of a weekday. It's a murderous crawl most weekends with traffic backed up from the port to central Athens. But it's worth it. I don't care that the town looks like a suburb with it's ugly apartment buildings by the sea. The port itself is like an island. It's the perfect place to go for a day of drinking ouzo, eating fried fish, grilled octopus and watching the ferries to Evia and the Cyclades sail in and out of the harbor all day and into the evening.

There are colorful fishing boats too that supply the many restaurants, one of which we are sitting at that is not very good. My father's favorite was the one with the ouzo bottles lined up on the counter. Apparently the word got out because now they all have ouzo bottles lined up on the counter.

Andrea made friends on the boat with a woman named Mariah who had been beaten up by her Greek fisherman ex-husband last night. The whole ferry ride she shared with Andrea the calamities of her life and Andrea is burned out from it. She can dish it out but she can't take it. We all catch the bus to Athens together, but sit separately. I am with Amarandi and keep a running commentary on the suburban scenes that are passing our window. Half way through the trip she falls asleep. We switch buses at Leoforos Alexandras and board one of the new mini-buses that winds around the back streets between Exarchia, Kolonaki and the Agora. We get off on a pedestrian street a few blocks from Mary's apartment in the Plaka and walk the rest of the way with Amarandi still asleep. It feels good to be away from all that peace and quiet and back in Athens.

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