Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Efharisto Greece!!

This past week I visited the Greek islands of Mykonos and Santorini.  I traveled with people from all over the world, including Mexico, Spain, Egypt, Brasil and Argentina.  I had a really fun time with the people I was with, and I was so happy to see the sun and bright blue sky and waters of the Aegean Sea.

I have to say though, I didn't find the Greeks to be particularly endearing.  It felt like I was back in Asia, people screaming at each other (maybe just "talking", but it sounded much stronger than that) and at tourists, people driving crazy in cars, on bikes, motorcycles and trucks, vendors yelling out at tourists, trying to get us to buy their junk (made in China).  Prices for food and clothing were OUT OF CONTROL.  Dresses that normally cost 15Euro were 75Euro!  Greek food is great, especially for a vegetarian like myself, HOWEVER, I am embarrassed to say how bad I got ripped off at a restaurant with a sunset view.  I'll leave it to your imagination how much I overpaid for a dinner of the following: Greek salad of tomatoes, cucumbers, capers and olives, a ravioli dish, and two glasses of wine.

In that moment, I actually really missed Asia and the variety of cheap street food that is available.

There was nothing quaint or cozy about life in Greece; at least not the version I saw.  I felt like the tourists were all trapped in a Disney park-like zone, and we were not welcome to go beyond that threshold.

For me, the best part of traveling is to see the locals moving about their daily lives, and enjoying local food/music/customs.  I think the most authentic part of my visit was to the Greek supermarket, to check out the local people.  Also, we slipped into a Greek bar by accident, and got to hear Greek music with the ladies dancing traditionally.  Otherwise, I was trapped in the tourist bubble.

Given my love for Spain, I know this all sounds so biased, but the Balearic Islands are WAYYYY better.  In terms of preservation of history, culture, food, local/sustainable/organic tourism practices, I feel it's a much better value in terms of time and money spent.  Even Capri seems much more quaint in comparison, than either of these Greek islands, which is saying a lot, considering I didn't really think all that highly of Capri last year!

I would recommend Greece if you really enjoy cats, extreme wind, and overpaying for everything.



























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