Today is a major Greek national celebration, a day commemorating the start of the war for independence back in 1821, following 400 years of Ottoman occupation. It is traditionally celebrated with student and army parades throughout the country. The biggest military parade takes place in the centre of Athens and usually involves tanks and other army vehicles. This year the parade was rather less elaborate, as befits a country in serious financial trouble, and lasted just 45 short minutes.
Even so, thousands of people turned up bright and early to watch the good men and women of the armed forces marching through town. As a result, those of us who enjoy a lie-in (ahem) had to put up with other people's heads in our line of sight as well as (sigh!) in our photos. Still, I thought you might like to see some of my pics, so here is a small selection:
This is the Presidential Guard, dressed in national costume which includes a pleated mini skirt, an embroidered waistcoat, red fez, tights and shoes with pom poms.
These guys carried their guns AND their ski gear. James Bond, eat your heart out!
The Underwater Demolition Team came ready for a dive in the deep sea - some of them even brought their flippers.
As it was 23°C (73°F) by midday, I wasn't sure who to feel sorrier for, the skiers or the divers! I had long trousers and a T-shirt on, spent most of the time in partial shade and still wished I'd sacrificed fashion for comfort and put shorts on. But I'm not complaining. It's nice to have a bit of summer in the middle of spring, and I know from experience that marching in the sunshine is much more pleasant than marching in the pouring rain.