Halcyon Days in Athens

Local Flavor, Travel Tips, What's New — By Paige Moore on January 15, 2011 at 10:22 am

Alright boys and girls, now gather round. I have to tell you the story of why, for no apparent reason, Greece is granted a few days of perfect weather in the dead of winter- a phenomenon that has been occurring since ancient times.

The daughter of the wind, Alcyone, was deeply in love with her husband, Ceyx, the son of the morning star and a king. They were very, very happy. One stormy day, Ceyx was at sea and the waves were so terrible that the boat sunk and Ceyx drowned. When Alcyone learned of the sad fate of her husband she was overcome with grief and threw herself into the sea. Zeus was so moved by her sadness that he turned her into a bird, a Kingfisher. Every year, when the Kingfisher lays her eggs by the shore, Alcyone’s father, the wind, calms the seas so that the eggs remain safe until they hatch.*

'Halcyone'', by Herbert James Draper (1863-1920) courtesy of Wikipedia Creative Commons

Now some versions of the story say that the couple jokingly called themselves Zeus and Hera which caused the irate god to blast the ship of Ceyx with a lightning bolt, felt guilty afterward and turned them both into birds; whatever the root of the tale, the fact remains that there is a lovely stretch of sunshine. Days can get so warm that people put on their swimsuits and head for the beach.

Today- and for quite a few days after- it’s a lovely time to be in Athens. Should you be planning a trip to Athens for next year, don’t forget about Alycone and her father, for it’s surely the best of both worlds: the bargains of low season and the dreamy weather of high season. Just be sure to pack clothes that can be layered.

The forecast this weekend in Athens: blue skies and lovely weather.

*A little note- I’m aware that this story may not perfectly coincide with the habitat and nesting habits of the kingfisher, but that’s why it’s called a “myth.” Interesting fact-  a family of kingfishers is called Halcyonidae.

Tags: alkyonides meres, Athens weather, Halcyon days, Interesting fact, Mythology, Travel Tips, winter in Athens

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