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|Why Greece Will Always Be My First Love
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|Author:||wiz [ 02 Nov 2015 19:25 ]|
|Post subject:||Why Greece Will Always Be My First Love|
Why Greece Will Always Be My First Love
Gods, Myths, Heroes in 30 minutes.
I should give fair warning that this is going to be less of a ‘travel guide’ post and more of an elaborate love letter to the country I spent the first few years of my life in – Greece. I am feeling quite nostalgic at the moment, especially after my return, from the island of Kos, where I spent a week’s holiday in an apartment, right on the Aegean Sea.
Greece is a stunningly beautiful country, naturally blessed with blue waters, endless miles of beaches, and picturesque ruins scattered all over the hilly terrain. No matter where in the country you find yourself, every sunset view is breathtaking. This is what attracts millions of tourists to Athens and the Greek islands every year, whether they are history buffs touring 3,000 year old ruins, college students looking for nightlife that keeps going well past dawn, or British/German/Scandinavian citizens hoping to finally experience this mythical ‘summer’ they have heard so much about.
In recent years, this image of Greece has been replaced by images of protests, upheaval, recession, and economic suffering in the international media. There are definitely many Greek people undergoing financial distress, feeling the effects of crushing austerity measures and fighting to regain the prosperity and comfort they once had. I can only hope this situation will eventually improve.
But I want to talk about what Greece means to me; what the country evokes in anyone lucky enough to step on its shores. Obviously no place is perfect, and in a less forgiving mood I could find many things to complain about in Greece. But I keep going back year after year, because no matter what the problems or issues, the country is a part of me, and I will always cherish what makes it beautiful to me. Here is what comes to mind when I think about Greece.
Greece is Always Welcoming
I’m not talking about the people who stamp your passport at the airport, because God knows they could use some customer relations courses. I’m talking about the country itself, the nature of it.
The environment in other countries, especially in the US, can seem intimidating and foreboding. Jagged mountains that pierce the clouds; stormy, dark-green seas that obscure the ocean bottom; forests that block the sun from ever shining all the way down. In more populated areas, 8-lane streets and mile-long blocks discourage people from congregating, or even using the streets at all. Greece is not like that.
In the summer, the sea is clear and inviting. Even in the winter, the water never seems intimidating or frightening. The waves rarely thunder down; instead they splash against the warm sand softly, drawing you in, comfortably enveloping you as you dive underneath and open your eyes to see the sparkling sand and broken shells down on the ocean floor.
The forests have trails running through them that you can easily walk on, while listening to a symphony of cicadas in the summer heat. The trees provide shade but are not large enough to overwhelm you and block out the sky. The pleasant smell of grass and pine cones and earth is present everywhere. I still remember walking through the woods behind my house as a child, going further and further up the mountain, without a care in the world. Why would it frighten me? There were no dangerous animals to be found here, no chance of suddenly encountering treacherous terrain, nothing to scare me at all. Everything feels familiar and welcoming; the nature here invites you to play.
This same feeling extends to Greece’s many charming towns. They always seem to welcome people with open arms. I can always find a place to rest, a shady spot in which to cool down, a cafe to just sit back in and get lost in daydreams. Narrow alleys run through most rural towns and Greek islands, full of people going about their daily errands, children running through and playing, neighbours meeting in the streets to share the day’s gossip. These areas are devoid of huge highways and grand boulevards; but that is what makes them so appealing, the fact that they seem to be built for people, rather than machines.
I better let you watch this 30 minutes fantastic video that was made for the Greek Tourist Organisation and then you will understand why so many million tourists visit Greece every year.
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