You wouldn’t know that there was a global pandemic apparently going on.
Today, I decided to walk to the large Nea Filadelfeia Park to see if I could find any horizontal bars that I could use for pullups. I have walked through the park before, which has some pleasant trails, but have never been fully to the “other end” where I heard there had been installed some exercise equipment that was free to use. The days I had been there before, there were people, but not swarming with people.
Perhaps because it is Sunday, today it was swarming with people.
And I saw barely anyone wearing a face mask, but I sure saw a lot of people wearing big smiles! Greeks tend to be a very social people and are at the their best with smiles, laughs, stories and songs when they are around others. Today was certainly like that at Nea Filadelfeia Park. There were a lot of others!
The park, according to Wikipedia covers an area of 0.48 square kilometers (although it seems larger to me than that), and used to also be home to a zoo. I’m told there were rumours that a former mayor of Nea Filadelfeia would somehow arrange to make meals out of some of the zoo animals, but am not sure that the rumour has been confirmed. There are several access points including from the Nea Ionia side, which of course, one of them I used.
On arrival, it was astonishing to see just how many people were in the park to enjoy a Sunday afternoon walk or to get other forms of exercise including jogging and bicycling. There were also parents pushing strollers, dog walkers, and people playing tennis on a court inside the park.
What a contrast to the reports I’m reading of people being concerned about too many people in public parks, back home in Ontario! Today in Nea Filadelfeia, there was no “social-distancing” being maintained, and to be honest, I’m not all that worried or concerned myself.
It was a beautiful day, and everyone was out to enjoy it, and get some exercise, myself included. According to my fancy Amazfit Smartwatch, I walked about 4.5 km in total, there and back to the end of the park, where indeed, I found bars suitable for doing pull ups!
The park does also have exercise equipment where people can do a variety of exercises using their body weight as resistance – good enough for someone trying to get into some semblance of shape, or some muscle maintenance and strengthening, and there were quite a few elderly people making use of the equipment while I was there.
It also has a nice pond where at times, there is a fountain in the middle which provides a nice visual sight, in front of an Orthodox church. Today, the fountain was not working, but that did not stop the crowds of people that wanted to just hang out at the waterfront. There were large groups of people, families, and individuals sitting around, enjoying the sunshine at the waterfront.
In Greece, the COVID-19 lockdown partially ended on May 4th, with almost all restrictions removed a week later, on May 18th. On May 25th, restaurants and bars will be allowed to open.
What is interesting to me is that in other countries including Canada, there are opinion reports in the newspapers proclaiming that “life will never return to normal,” and while it certainly isn’t exactly like Pre-COVID in Greece, general life is pretty normal now. Greece is trying very hard to open back up to tourism as that is a huge percent of their economy, and presently there are discussions about the best way to go about this.
There are also still restrictions in place on the numbers of people that can be in enclosed places like supermarkets at a time, depending on the total area of the shop, but overall, at least what I’ve experienced, there has been not much change. Some shops require their staff to wear face masks, but not all of the ones I’ve been in do.
If the future is anything like what I saw in the park today, Greeks are going to do just fine after their lockdown, and no one is itching for more restrictions, but are looking forward to more liberty!
A couple of photos (blurry as I was walking while snapping) of the people on a walkway through the park: