Stormy weather in Greece

    Pantheon, cr-wikimedia

Pantheon, cr-wikimedia

I have noticed in my perusal of question and answer forums on the Net, and in viewing TV reporting of the “Euro Crisis” in Greece, that people are concerned about their personal safety and not choosing this as their holiday destination for this year.

Being a lover of Greece, a true Grecophile, I cannot see why people have the idea that they will not be safe. Yes the streets of Athens have seen some riots, although mostly these have been peaceful demonstrations marred by the activities of the fringe group of anarchists as usual. This always happened when I lived in Athens, so nothing has changed. Greeks do not generally engage in personal violence. If you happen to see a couple of Greeks having an argument, there is a lot of yelling, a little pushing, or perhaps prodding would be a more appropriate word, and then they walk away from each other. No one gets hurt usually.

The Greek islands have some of the best beaches in the world, and Mykonos is not going to stop being the party island simply because of an election or because there are fears that Greece might drop out of the Eurozone. Life on other islands will go on as normal, and those poor Athenians who still have some money will leave Athens in droves in August and head for their ancestral homes on islands and in villages on the mainland.

The food in Greece may not be to everyone’s taste, but if you hunt around you can find something that you will enjoy, just be a little adventurous and if all else fails to tempt your palate, try the thick Greek yoghurt with honey and loads of fresh fruit for breakfast- or lunch. Snack on a healthy, juicy watermelon with crumbly white feta cheese, which is absolutely delicious, even though you may think it is a strange combination.

If you go to an island why not choose one with an airport, so that you don’t have to stay in Athens? Try Samos in the Dodecanese, and take a day trip to Kuşadasi in Turkey while you are there- it’s only an hour and a half by boat. It has its own unique character so don’t expect it to be the same as the islands in the Cyclades with their whitewashed houses with quaint blue doors and windows.

For families you can’t beat Crete or Rhodes, the larger islands where there are plenty of things to do. Crete has two sides to it at least, one the Greek city of Heraklion and then the more Turkish influenced Chania and Rethymnon. Take a drive up the mountains and see the little villages and monasteries perched on hillsides, walk through the Samaria gorge which connects the two side of the island, if you are energetic, but take plenty of water. It is a National park area and there should be a doctor there in case of any emergencies. The park is open from May to October, but you are asked to abide by the rules, which are given to you when you enter the National park.

In Rhodes you can see the famous butterfly valley and swim in the clear blue sea, having first viewed the windmills and the old harbour where the Colossus, one of the Seven Wonders of the ancient world, once stood.

Eat fresh sea food and island-grown vegetables everywhere on the islands and relax; perhaps sampling some of the very palatable Greek wine. The pace of life is very slow and just what you need to wind down and recharge your batteries..

For a great holiday, I would have no hesitation in recommending Greece. Currency?
No problem, you can exchange currency everywhere and still be given euros. It will take some months, if Greece leaves the Eurozone, to print a new drachma. If you have euros, then you will have a value for money holiday in Greece this year, as businesses will be competing fiercely for your custom, so the holiday-maker stands to gain.

Have a wonderful (cheap) Greek holiday this year!

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