The sign on a clothing shop on Ermou Street in Athens reads “10 euro crisis special.” All along this main shopping drag near Parliament, similar discount signs abound.
As Greece’s economic troubles deepen, many prices are declining, including those for hotels. That seems to be drawing tourists back, just as concerns that Greece could abandon the euro kept many away during the summer.
The marble streets of Plaka and shops in the winding Monastiraki tourism areas near the Acropolis were startlingly empty a month ago, but they have snapped back to life. Restaurants and bars were bustling on a recent Saturday night; shoppers browsed jewellery stores and the streets were dense with crowds. But step on to any side street, and every third store is closed for business, covered by a thicket of graffiti.
Still, Greeks are going about their lives, settling into a rhythm occasionally interrupted by strikes against a government austerity plan and transportation slowdowns. Like the shuttered stores, the inconveniences are merely something for tourists to figure their way around, although there may be more to come.