Whether on a lovely Athens Walking Tour, or while strolling the main streets of Athens, or by climbing the mountain slope of Delphi, or even during your swim at the beaches of Hydra while on a one day cruise, there is one major thing that you should never forget to take along: a bottle of water.
So simple, so ostensibly plain and humble, but yet, water is so absolutely necessary. I’m sure that you will agree with me, on a hot day, there’s nothing more replenishing for the body and mind than a glass of crystal clear, ice cold water.
The Greeks know this so well. That is why here in Greece, whether you’re on a house visit or you seat in a coffee place or restaurant, water is the first thing that automatically comes to the table. It’s our way to welcome the visitor and to show our hospitality.
Even in antiquity, water was considered as the source of life, of power, of youth and in some cases immortality. Many beautiful myths were born out of the love of humans for nature’s biggest present, the water: Styx’s (Acheron river) frozen waters, which gush from the “Tartara” (Hades Gate) was where Thetis, Achillea’s mother, plunged him in order to give him immortality.
The lesser-goddess Psyche (Soul) was forced from Aphrodite to carry water from Styga, in order to find her soulmate Eros (Love). The Kastalia purifying spring, where Pythia, the priestess of Delphi oracle used to wash herself before she gave a prophecy, got its’ name from a nymph.
Water is nature’s gift and as such, it has to be shared among the people. Therefore, the tabwater in Athens is clear and perfectly safe to drink. But even if you are reluctant to drink the tabwater for any personal reason, you can find bottled water from the best Greek sources at the super markets, the kiosks, the coffee shops, the restaurants and taverns and of course at the special vending machines.
Our special tip: While in Athens, always keep a bottle of water in your freezer. Take the iced water with you on your tour and let it slowly melt. By the time you will need it will be de-frozen but pleasantly cold!
And closing, a wonderful wish, us, Greeks make as we drink a cold glass of water:
“Tin drosia tou na eheis” = May you be as fresh as this!