our team

Tina

Founder Photo of Founder Tina

In 2005 I was at the highest point of my career: I was one of the youngest marketing directors in the country, had a great salary, a hefty bonus, a corporate car and a very safe and steady life. In 2010, the Greek crisis hit and the country went into freefall. I was left without a job, a car or even medical insurance, and there was little perspective of finding a new job any time soon.

Well, what’s new there? It’s the story of thousands of people around the world. What was new to me was the fear. No one had ever prepared me for that. I had done everything my parents and teachers had told me to do. I had been first in my class, studied at a good University, got a Master’s degree, learnt four foreign languages (and let’s not forget piano and ballet).

Two years later, still without a job, I was running out of money and hope, and the fear was still there. And then one day I became very tired of being afraid. So I decided to create a job for myself that I would like. I didn’t analyze what the market wanted, or business strengths and weaknesses, like I had always done before. Instead, I thought – what do you love doing?

I love travelling and exploring and understanding how people live in other places. I love peeking into their windows, no matter how improper that may be. And this is what I decided to do in my own city. I created my first Food Tour and went out there and did it, and people loved it. And this is how Alternative Athens was born. Out of fear and love.

I am now back to a comfortable life. Not secure, but a life less ordinary for me and, hopefully, for those co-travelers around me.  Of course the journey doesn’t end here. I always remind myself that what goes up must come down -at any time – and this makes me think about all the simple things that really matter in life.

The fear may still be there. But now I know that whatever it takes and wherever life takes me, I can make it. And this is a comforting thought to go to bed with in a country like Greece today ☺.

Photo of Travel Designer Elissavet.

Elissavet

Travel Designer

"I remember when I was about 17, my friend asked me what my plans for life were. Sincerely, I had no clue. I had some scattered images in my head of how I imagine myself. Like photographs. The only thing in common, I remember, was that all these images were in some far lands, with unusual landscapes and distant cultures. Living abroad was something I use to fantasize a lot as a kid. It was a constant change and an excitement over new things that attracted me."

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Photo of Guide Andreas.

Andreas

Guide

“I grew up in a neighbourhood called Nea Smyrni. The first settlers here were refugees from Asia Minor. People in our neighbourhood are proud of where they come from; they respect history because many of their grandparents or great-grandparents were lost or had to emigrate following the end of the conflict between Greece and Turkey.”

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Photo of Head of Travel Design Tess.

Tess

Head of Travel Design

"Tess comes from the Byzantine name Theodosia; in ancient Greek, this means “God gives”. It came to me as an inspiration not from Thomas Hardy’s Tess of the D’Urberville’s, but from a much more superficial 80s movie with Harrison Ford and Melanie Griffith (Tess in this movie); I often joke that a Hollywood movie helped me in my self-marketing effort in a time of need."

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Photo of Guide Tania.

Tania

Guide

“I was about five, and I was taking part in a school celebration. Dressed in a traditional costume like all the other members of my “troupe”, I was waiting to recite the lines of the poem I had painstakingly learnt by heart. At last, my turn came. But when I stood behind the microphone, my mind went blank and my mouth went dry. Tears welled up in my eyes. Terrified, I glanced over at my classmates who, grouped behind the wings and dressed in their own slightly silly costumes, were waiting to act their part."

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Photo of Guide Vassia.

Vassia

Guide

"There is a book I like a lot. Its final sentence reads: “It is never too late to have a happy childhood”. I was in my early twenties when I read it and my childhood had been relatively happy. But I tend to take stuff written in books very seriously. Why had the author chosen to end a book about an improbable love story with this sentence?

It was around that time that I started to travel."

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Photo of Guide Niko a.k.a. Rude.

Niko a.k.a. Rude

Guide

"It must have been at the end of middle school when I discovered graffiti, although my fascination with drawing and the arts had been with me a lot longer. My new hobby began stealing ‘precious’ time I could have used for studying for school. I realised that action had to be taken..."

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Photo of Guide Christina.

Christina

Guide

"Although I loved Greece, when I moved back here after spending so much time away, I didn’t feel that I belonged in the country that I loved. The people confused me – I really didn’t understand them – and I thought about getting out again. I changed jobs over and over before I realized that it wasn’t the right job I was looking for, it was the change itself, the feeling of travelling within my own life."

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Photo of Guide Zoe.

Zoe

Guide

For the most part, my adult life was spent drawing lines.  Working in architecture and urban planning meant that I spent most of time observing cities from above, ground plans and master plans, orthographic projections, bird’s eye views.

 

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"We went to beautiful places, historic places, trendy places. It was a great experience. It was much more then just bar hopping. It was having drinks with your Greek friend."

Edward Q

"My children are avid Percy Jackson fans, obsessed with Greek gods and myths, so seeing where the stories had come from was a real highlight for them. And then there were the turtles in the cemetery.... seriously!"

Claire C

"We had Alexandra as our tour guide and she was fantastic! She made the myths and legends so interesting and was very informative. She kept it entertaining, historical and relevant to all the places we visited"

Emily F