Your favourite time of year in Athens and why?
Halcyon Days—Alkyonides—in January-February. Those weeks in mid-winter when you get wonderful warm, still weather. According to the legend it’s when Alkyoni (who was transformed into a kingfisher) was granted conditions to make her nest.
What do you miss most when you’re not in Athens?
Living much of life outdoors, spontaneous social life, the freshness of food, sea swimming.
If you had to Pack Athens, which 3 essential things would you put in your suitcase?
A ceramic pot of Hymettus thyme honey, some handmade earrings in an ancient style and a poem written for me on an old taverna napkin from someone I was dining with.
And if it were up to you, how would you bottle the scent of Athens?
I’d take bitter orange blossom (springtime is intoxicating in Athenian streets), a few herbs like basil and oregano, and for bass notes, frankincense (like walking past a church) and freshly-ground coffee. Pine resin and warm figs come into the equation, as does a whiff of salty skin on a beach.
Finally, describe Athens in 3 adjectives
Intense, seductive, shifting.