Friday, 23 August 2013

It's all Greek to me

Last year, when we returned to Australia from our much shorter 2012 European tour, Greece was in trouble.  Austerity measures had just been introduced, and it caused rioting on Greek streets.  The 'conventional wisdom' that prevailed in Australia on our return was that if you were considering visiting Greece, you should forget it!  The economy was in dire straits, people were rioting, and it was now very risky to go there, we were told.

We thought at the time that this was totally refutable.  If a country is in an economic mess, then it needs more and more tourists to come and spend their money there.  And we can tell you there appear to be millions of tourists from all over the world here.  And we don't see anyone rioting.  The other day, when sailing from Turkey back to Greece, I met a young Greek girl who has been unemployed for two and a half years.  Yes, there is something like 27% unemployment in this country. But it doesn't mean Greece is a place to avoid!  Just the opposite!  And Greece has so much to offer!  Things are reasonably cheap here, and the food's good.

Yes, Greece is teeming with history.  And yes, Greece has its Greek islands, popular in the imagination the world over.  We've only had a sampling.  You should come and visit.  And so many Greeks speak English.  Anywhere where there is the remotest chance that a tourist will come by, there you will find English-speaking Greeks!  At train stations, on the ferries, in the historical sites.  Everywhere.  And all over the place, signs are in both English and Greek.  And many young Greeks, like the young unemployed lady lady I met on the ferry, speak French, Italian and Spanish as well as English. They have so much to offer other people.  

I don't know where some people get their strange ideas from about a place or a country.  The media?  It's all Greek to me.

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