Ice-cream is a key ingredient for a successful vacation. There are several Greek ice-cream companies and every café, restaurant or peripeto is the representative of one. You will see a brightly colored freezer box with doors on the top and large colored posters of each variety, expertly made to capture the attention of kids from any country. Names like ,Status, Boss, Overdose, and Choco-magnum will become familiar to you as you use them as a reward or a threat to keep your child behaving or eating what is on his plate. My daughter’s favorite variety is a cup with a hollow bottom that contains a small toy. Some of the toys she really enjoyed and spent time playing with them which was really a bonus for us but sometimes they backfired and we were forced to spend hours trying to figure out what they were supposed to do or how to put them together. Another potential disaster was getting the same toy she had gotten before and it got to the point where we were holding our breath while she opened the secret flap underneath the plastic container.
In the town squares and in various locations around Athens are rides where you put a few eurocents in the slot and your child can go around in circles on a train, ride a lightly bucking bronco or whirl in a stationary helicopter. Combined with ice-cream this makes a fulfilling evening activity for a child.
An excellent good behavior reward or bad behavior remedy in Athens is the National Gardens at Syntagma square. It’s a square mile or two of semi tropical plants, trees and flowers and a variety of wildlife which could be described as predominantly winged, feathered and quacking. There is a nice pond full of these creatures and you can bring leftover bread from lunch, or buy some from a woman stationed nearby for your children to feed them. In fact you may be worried that they will eat your children for at times they will disappear from sight as the ducks surround them like they have not eaten in days, but generally they are harmless. Watch out for the geese though. They are bigger, braver and meaner, though thankfully fewer.