Hi, We've only been visiting Greece since 1991. Our first ever Greek holiday was Sidari in Corfu, and we've never looked back. We loved the friendly people, the laid-back attitudes, the beautiful scenery. Most of the time, nothing is too much trouble. "No Problem". I think the food has improved tremendously since we first visited, with many more Greek meals on offer. I used to hate black olives, now I buy them almost weekly (I love the whole Kalamata olives in brine). I've developed a taste for retsina, especially delicious served ice cold with a plate of olives. Almost all my cooking is now done using olive oil, and I always drizzle some over my salad.
I admire how the older women seem to do most of the work while the older men chat and drink coffee (I admire the women for putting up with it, and the men for getting away with it)! and how the young Greek women are almost always beautiful, and the young men handsome. As a woman, I'm not too impressed with the Machismo, but it seems to impress alot of women so they must be doing something right! I like how people are not afraid to ask you about yourself, your family, your opinions, virtually anything at all.
Since 1991 we have visited many places in Greece, both on the islands and the mainland and, as in the rest of the world, not all locals are friendly and trustworthy, not all food is delicious, and not all wine is drinkable! But there does seem to be a higher percentage of friendly people in Greece than in some other countries I've been to. It must that the Greek people are a lot less reserved about expressing themselves - I wish I could speak good Greek sometimes, when overhearing a particularly spirited debate! I find it interesting that politics are often discussed - people in the UK don't seem to do this, except maybe for the occasional derisory comment about a certain party or political figure.
Greek people seem to have a shrewd business sense, don't seem to take competition lightly, and in business most would do you up tighter than a kipper, - but I see this as a positive trait, especially as it is all done with a smile.
The closeness of the family impresses me, as does the popularity of the church. The one thing that I can't come to terms with is the rubbish and litter. I know that in many areas now the rubbish is dealt with better than it used to be, but one bold memory I have is of a journey we made on the mainland when we were touring by motorbike for a few months. We were riding through a fantastic wooded gorge in the mountains going towards Megalopoli, the day was bright but cool (late September), fantastic views from some of the hairpin bends, when we slowed for a particularly sharp bend and were hit by an awful smell, so bad it made you gag. Upon looking down the side of the valley, we realised that there were mounds of rubbish bags, the rubbish falling down the side of the gorge and piling up at the bottom! As we drove by, a pickup truck stopped and tipped another load over the edge. I noticed this on a quite a few occasions as we were travelling. I know the rubbish has to go somewhere, but I can't understand why its sometimes dumped in places of such outstanding beauty.
I hope not to offend anyone, I love Greece and its peoples, it's the one place I'll always return to, and the only other place in the world apart from Britain that shares that part of me that registers as "home".
Oh dear, I'm getting too sentimental now. I'll go and do some ironing, to bring me back down to earth. Bump. Di