Balcony Life: Self-Isolating Greeks Rediscover a Vital Space

Self-isolation during the coronavirus crisis can lead to a touch of cabin fever. Who knew that a balcony could provide such a necessary refuge?

It’s a strange new time. We’re all trying to fit our old lives into a much smaller world: that of our homes. Never have the walls of our city apartments carried so much weight, at once protective and suffocating. The stairways and elevators just outside are threatening, what with their shared air, handrails and buttons. But there is one door that still opens up to the world without risk, one that when it opens makes us breathe in deep rather than hold our breath: the one to the balcony.

Within a couple of weeks, many cities around the world have embraced balcony life. Apart from social media, this is now where we socialize, send messages of hope, and take part in group activities.

In Italy, Spain and France, musicians have come together to perform from their respective balconies – sometimes spontaneously and without even being able to see each other, led only by the sounds of the instruments. Regular shower singers also get their moments, belting out famous ballads and commercial tunes and dancing together; it’s the closest people in self-isolation can come to a party.

Last week, people in several countries including Greece headed out on their balconies to applaud the courage and strength of the healthcare workers on the front line in the battle against the spreading virus.

And, of course, our balconies and terraces also remain great spots to relax and enjoy endless cups of coffee.

Here’s a look at how Greeks are making use of their balconies and terraces right now:

When you can’t go to the playground, some fresh air on the balcony is the next best thing.

Or, well, it’s the closest thing.

Beyond social media, balconies have proven to be the best places to send a message.

Last Sunday, Greeks all around the country cheered and clapped to send a message of support to the healthcare professionals around the country. Other responsible citizens staying at home to prevent the spread of the virus encourage others to do the same.

Banner 1 reads: “We stay at home”

Banner 2 reads: “Grandpas and grandmas… I love you… but see you after the coronavirus! We stay at home”

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There are some residents that seem happy about the whole situation. Namely, all the pets that suddenly have company all day long…

Not only is the whole family staying home, ensuring plenty of play time, but they are willing to spend time in the “dog’s room”. Our furry friends are known to love their balconies.

Balconies and terraces have also proven to be excellent places to work out!

Working up a sweat inside is an option of course, but who wants their home to smell like a gym? Plenty of people are also going live during their workouts, inviting others to join in.

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Many decided it was time to beautify their outdoor spaces with new decor and fresh plants

Many who foresaw the closing of most stores bought gardening supplies that they’re now putting to good use, prettying up their balconies and windows.

(Tip: if you weren’t one of them you can still order plants, soil, and other supplies online from large stores like Praktiker and Leroy Merlin. Some of them are currently offering free delivery.)

Some have better views than others…

But even in central Athens and Thessaloniki, the urban views have their charm.

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Venturing out onto the balcony also gives you a reason to get dressed every day… (and when you look good, that’s what Instagram is for)

What else are you going to do if you’re an instagrammer in quarantine? Balconies have the best light.

Some get their groove on.

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…and others get to writing (songs about the coronavirus)

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And of course, balconies are now the city dwellers’ favorite place to read, relax, eat, and enjoy many, many cups of coffee…

For those living in small towns, in the villages and on the islands, it’s even better.

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