Swatch Club Holiday Event Athens 2018

30-NOV to 02-DEC-2018, Athens, Greece

In 2018, the traditional Swatch Club Holiday Event took place in Athens, Greece.  On Thursday afternoon, about 110 collectors from all around the world (Europe, Japan, USA, ...) met at the ***** Athens city center NEW hotel near the famous Syntagma (Constitution) Square (Πλατεία Συντάγματος). The first thing that we saw upon entering the hotel was a big round rug with the event logo.  Every collector immediately said "I need to take this home" :-)  (In the end, one lucky collector from Germany did [not me :-[)

The NEW hotel (a very nice design hotel) was completely booked by Swatch and of course it had been "Swatch branded" everywhere.

Lots of "hello"s, lots of stories to share, it was simply great to see everyone again.

Registration for the event

Lots of Swatch watches were exchanged.  It is not always easy to get those local Swatch specials (eg. Destination watches).   Some of us had a lot of stuff to carry...

It is never too early for a first glass of wine!

At four o'clock, the team from Swatch Club International started the event with a welcome speech by Viktoria Bays, the head of the Swatch Club International. 

And half an hour later, we left the hotel for the first activity:  A "Welcome to Athens" city hunt.  We had been randomly divided into groups of 10 collectors, everybody had received a special badge determining the team.  Each team had a guide / assistant from the fantastic local Athens agency (so that no one would get lost).  Our team was called Kolonos (a deme of ancient Attica).  Everybody had a city map which showed six different places in the old town that we had to visit in a fixed sequence.  Fortunately, the old town (Plaka) isn't that huge so all spots were easy to reach, in walking distance.

Our first stop was in a very nice wine and spirits bar called Vrettos (ΒΡΕΤΤΟΣ):  Taste (and determine) the local drinks (Ouzo, Tsipouro, Masticha).  Actually, the Vrettos bar is not only a famous liquor store, but also the oldest distillery in the region, which evolved into a leading wine-bar.

The second stop was an ancient building:  Tower of the Winds (Αέρηδες, also called Horologium).  It is an octagonal building (made of marble) erected about 100–50 BC by Andronicus of Cyrrhus for measuring time (how appropriate!).

At each stop, we had to answer some questions and play a few games in order to receive some small greek gifts.  At the liquor store, we had received three small bottles with liquor :-)

The third stop was at Cafe Melina (Μελίνα Μερκούρη café). The name of “Melina” cafe bistrot is dedicated to the unforgettable Melina Merkouri, a Greek actress, singer, and politician (eg. the first female Minister of Culture and Sports). So after some drinks, we now had a cup of original greek coffee.

Even better, a few of us learned more about their future by applying tasseomancy.  You don't know this?  It is the academic term for coffee fortune telling, reading the grounds at the bottom of the cup.

Apparently, the future looks bright!

Stop #4 was the Swatch store in the old town.  Quite a few surprises had been arranged:  The complete GLAM collection was available for one night only, include about 60 pieces (of only 510) of the SISTEM51 Sistem Helmsman (YIZ400S).  Some crazy collectors bought the complete GLAM collection!  Additionally, the new Destination special for Greece was available:  The Gent It's All Greek To Me (GW408C).  And the two Xmas specials:  The New Gent Shinebright (SUOZ287S) and the Swatch X You Seasons Set (GZS71).  Probably more which I might have missed (I think that I have seen the Japanese version of the limited Club special Find Your Way as well).

It took quite some time until all desired watches were purchased...

The buying process for the Swatch specials was quite exhausting so stop #5 was at another cafe:  O Glykys (Ο Γλυκύς).  We tasted some sweet fruits.

And the sixth and last stop was at the other end of the old town at a traditional Greek restaurant called Bairaktaris (Μπαϊρακτάρης).  This was also the place where we would have a Greek Dinner later in the evening.  But before:  Show time!

During the dinner, we had a lot of traditional Greek folk music.  Quite entertaining!

Sirtaki (συρτάκι)!

A wonderful afternoon and a very entertaining evening in a nice Greek restaurant. 

Click here to read part 2 ("Cook Like A Greek") of my Athens Holiday Event report.

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