Anna is originally from Balgowlah Heights, Sydney, Australia. She is a lawyer, previously of the Australian Government Solicitor, as well as a freelance journalist who writes about social and community issues and has edited dissertations, websites, and books.
What Brought you to Greece?
In a nutshell, I wanted to take a year off work. I was a Senior Lawyer (Associate) with the Australian Government Solicitor in Sydney, a job I thoroughly loved, when a weary heart and a passion for creative writing made me hit a cross road. I also wanted to see about a great guy, Evan. We had met three years beforehand at Super Paradise Beach in Mykonos – of all places.
I had just been promoted to work in-house with one of our major clients, but even as they slid the offer across the table, I knew I’d turn it down.
The following month I was on a plane. Six months after I arrived, Evan and I decided to get married.
Now I have the privilege of raising my daughter and working part-time from home as a freelance journalist. I have never looked back – although I do miss my family, my friends and my wonderful job and colleagues back in Sydney.
Why do you choose to live along the Coast versus another area of Athens?
At first, it was because I had relatives living here, but truth be told, I hardly ever saw them!
We have lived in Voula for the last ten years which we love. It reminds me of the Northern Beaches where I grew up – relaxed, beach-side and verdant green.
Soon we’ll be moving to the quiet hills of Vari, also near the beach, which we’re looking forward to.
Which is your favorite beach and why?
Astir Beach at Vouliagmeni because of the clean, soft sand and crystal turquoise water. I also love how it’s shallow for little legs to scamper around. It also has its own archaeological site!
What is your favorite area to spend time at during the day?
I love walking to Voula village where my daughter and I wander around the wonderful new frock shops and eclectic home-ware stores. There’s also a bloom of new restaurants along the paved areas.
I love Glyfada too. My family and I can spend hours there during the weekend!
For a night out, can you name a few of your favorite places?
There’s a burst of new bars and restaurants that open every few months around the Coast, but I do love my old haunts.
My local wine bar in Voula is Cava Faidon, a dear favourite because of Christos, the owner, who takes custom care to a new level. He teams up the very best cheeses and luscious fruit jam to your liking with top-ranking wines from all over Greece. We love his ambient music choices too.
We also head to Sardelaki Me Thea in Vouliagmeni which has fresh seafood (they have the best rock oysters I’ve ever tasted) easy to consume even for an eight-year old, with speedy, courteous service all in front of a great view.
An old classic is also Moouu at Glyfada which has the very best cuts of succulent meat this side of Athens and the megawatt smile of Tasso who part-runs it. There’s a fantastic selection of 80’s remixes on Friday night if you like to sit at the bar and bop along with friends.
A special mention should go to Posidonio – Music Hall at Elliniko. It’s a classic landmark where the megastar Greek singer, Plutarcho was first discovered and then established his career. It’s riotous fun and finishes at 5am in the morning. A lot of flower throwing, dancing on tables and heartfelt singalongs are to be had. I love taking the annual onslaught of visitors there.
Do you have any tips for someone who is a new resident on the Athens Coast?
For starters, check out the Coast Life section on Athens Coast.
Next, don’t call or knock on doors between 2 and five pm when everyone is having a siesta. If you need help, just ask a Greek; I find them very kind.
Finally, the public transport system rocks because it’s easy, efficient and cheap as chips.
What should the rest of the world know about the Athens Coast?
I used to visit Greece with my family when I was growing up, yet I never knew Athens and its beaches. It’s a whole other world as soon as you get onto Poseidon’s Avenue from Faliro and as you drive along the coast, you are spoiled for choice.
Restaurants, pools, beaches, bars – it’s all there plus perfect weather. There’s even go-kart racing!
Is there anything else you would like to add?
We all know that Greece has been through one of the worst economic crisis’ in history, yet the people here are quick to smile and help a stranger in need. I love that about Greek people.
One thing I don’t like is all the smoking, but at the same time, there’s a lot here that makes up for it. For me, it’s the sense of freedom, the islands and the history!
Also, there’s not that much drinking. It’s super rare to see anyone drunk on the streets or being loud or troublesome in bars in all the years I’ve been here. It’s all very civilised.
* By the way, if you DO want a night of drinking on the beach (completely illegal in Sydney) try Bolivar Beach Bar at Alimos to catch some of the most fantastic international acts around and have some party fun no matter what age.
* One must have a massage at Yabanaki Beach Resort at Varkiza as soon as you’ve left the plane.
* There are some great adult classical ballet classes, musical and hip-hop at Ballet Arts in Glyfada if you like keeping fit with all forms of dance.
* The Athens Insider is a great read if you want to know the latest around town.
* If you love long walks, try the natural beauty of Vouliagmeni opposite Island Bar, Varkiza.