Seven things to love about Greece and Greeks

Blue cave - Alonissos

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(Actually, the list’s grown now as I keep remembering things to add at odd moments, ie;  three o’clock in the morning – that type of thing.  But I’ll keep the title the same).

Someone was talking about a Bucket List at work the other day.  It got me thinking about lists…shopping lists, mail lists, etc etc.  I decided to make this list and share it with you here:

Why I love Greece and the Greeks so much.

Most of it will be a summary or repetition of posts I’ve shared before, but no harm in reminding everyone and summarising here, especially in these times.

1) Because half an hour from the centre of Athens (by public transport), I can be here:

The Southern beaches of Athens at sunset
The Southern beaches of Athens at sunset

2) Because if I have some time, I can rock up at Piraeus and be here:

Greek island of Poros - about 1.5 hours from Athens
Greek island of Poros – about 1.5 hours from Athens

3) Because even though I live in the centre of a big city, when I leave my place in the morning, I am offered a “Kali Mera!”

(“Good Morning!”) from at least 4 people – be it the man in the electrical shop next to the apartment block I live in, the flower seller at the end of the street or a complete stranger walking 2 very old pug dogs.

4) Because people join in on the trolley buses and get involved if there’s a ‘problem.’

Of course, this can become a problem in itself sometimes as it’d be nice if people could sometimes mind their own business – but mostly it’s the older people that get involved and I feel a little bit safer, knowing there are older people around me who aren’t so afraid to speak up (how long will THAT last?).

5) Because mostly, a Greek is honest with you.

This can range from:

“There’s cappuccino froth on your nose”

to

“How the hell did you get that job, you incompetent asshole.  My grandmother could do a better job, and she’s dead.”

They are at least STRAIGHT with you.

 

 

 

6) On that subject: Because Greeks have lovely sayings.

My favourite is “A dog licks its balls because it can” to “Agappy mou!” (meaning “My love!” but it must be said in a high pitched voice and accompanied by lots of air kissing, even if you’re male.  It sounds lovely, particularly when said to a young child or pet.  Go on, try it).

7) Because once you’re accepted into Greek society – that’s it…you’ve made friends for life, and I mean REAL friends.

I had dropped in to see 2 friends the other night and they made dinner (another one to like: you can just drop by and you’ll be given dinner, raki, ouzo and not leave till about 2am, be warned) and our conversation inevitably lead to “The Crisis.”  I was told in no uncertain terms that they ‘had my back’ if I EVER had ANY problems.  He can kill chickens and pluck them and also cook, a real ‘hunter gatherer’ so if it comes to it – we’ll be OK for a while.

I should stress the chicken made for dinner the night in question was actually bought from an Athenian supermarket…but it’s reassuring to know there are still ‘real men’ out there.

8) Just thought of another one:  Greeks know how to drink alcohol in a civilized fashion.

No, you will NOT see your ‘average’ teen or person in their 20’s rolling around drunk in the street, spoiling for a fight and thinking it’s hilariously funny.  (Actually, come to think of it, British people do this WAY past their 20’s).

The number of times I’ve been asked by Greek friends “Why do British people, or Northern Europeans need alcohol like this in order to have a good time?  Life is for LIVING!  Why do they spoil it?!”

Hmmmm – I have no reply (not being a huge drinker like that, and never having had been).

9) The FOOD (“fageto”)!!

I had never really eaten until I came to Greece.  Well, clearly I had otherwise I’d be dead, but I mean EATEN.  And I eat LOADS and the weight seems to come off me – go figure!  It’s because the quality is so good.  My favourite: Spinach salad with pomegranite seeds, chicken masticato (a chicken dish made with a thick, creamy mastic sauce on a nest of stringy pastry) and of course, gyros.

At least the fast food is sort of healthy.  Hell, their fast food chain “Goodys” has a massive salad counter.  If you’re here, go and experience Greek fast food.

Of course, Greece and Greeks are also frustrating, but I want to concentrate on the positives for now (for obvious reasons).

One final note: Greeks have been through hell before and survived…don’t underestimate them.


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15 COMMENTS

  1. Your list brought to mind some good things I love about Greece too and I am looking forward to experiencing them again plus more this June. I plan on traveling with my daughter (her third trip) and 3 other “newbees”. Little do the “newbees” know they will be haunted by the “pull” of Greece until they return again (and again!). Now back to my “Packing List” for this summer’s trip. I work on it constantly to remind myself I am going back! OPA!
    Christy

    • Glad to hear, Christy, that you’re exposing them to Greece from a young age! May they grow to love it over time. Always good to review the packing list and have something to look forward to, especially with the ability of the UK to have appauling weather most of the time.

  2. The thing I love about Greece the most is that you can sit and eat or drink for as long as you like and no one will come and snatch your plate away as soon as you put your fork down as happens here.

    • Yes – that’s true. You can while away the hours very pleasantly over just one coffee and take your time over a meal.
      Food is part of LIFE here, not just something to be eaten to keep you alive.
      Where’s ‘here’ – Anonymous? The UK, the U.S?

  3. I live in Romania now, but lived in Greece 15 years. Here people always seem to eat in a hurry and I’m always the last one to finish. Greek habits die hard 🙂

  4. You are a very nice and kind person, I admire that you can blank out the negatives and concentrate on the positives, this is really something you can show us Greeks how to do. I also try to do the same about other nationalities – nobody’s perfect on this world, otherwise history would have already come to an end. Best wishes!

  5. I’m pleased I’m passing on the love – it’s easy to hate, not so easy to love. But try it – once you see the positives, they just keep coming (like how I kept adding to this blogpost! Once I found 7 things to like, I ended up finding more and more).
    One thing ‘they’ should never take from you Greeks is your humanity and hopsitality…keep that and you will always be one step above the b*stards who’re trying to grind you down.

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