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Greek chaos

Patras, GR (View on map)
Posted 19 Feb 2008:

Sixteen countries off the list, eleven more to go. The order of countries prescribed that I visit Cyprus before Greece, which I think may be the reverse order. Anyway, Cyprus allowed me to get used to the Greek alphabet, to the Greek flag and the bilingual capacities that most Greeks and Cypriots share. Day one in Greece therefore starts off a lot easier than what I got used to in Italy. The following article is an overview of some things worth knowing about Greece before going into details.... Read more

Letters and numbers

Patras, GR (View on map)
Posted 20 Feb 2008:

Reading and writing are among the first skills Greek children learn in primary school. However, they won`t learn to write A`s, B`s and C`s, but Alpha`s, Beta`s and Gamma`s. Only by the time they start learning English they will get familiar with the Latin characters. Before then, it`s the Greek alphabet they learn. What else do young Greeks learn in the country where schools are not named but numbered?... Read more


Patras, GR (View on map)
Posted 21 Feb 2008:

Starbucks and Pizza Hut: I didn`t see any of those in Italy but they do exist in Greece. Greeks are less conservative about coffee and the same applies to the pizza. Or even about food in general. Whereas Italians take time to eat, the Greeks instead prefer to spend their time on drinking coffee. They don`t allow eating to take much time, which explains their love fast food. However, they will not surrender to McDonalds` and alikes ? so they claim.... Read more

Greeks on holiday

Athens, GR (View on map)
Posted 22 Feb 2008:

When I started `Us Europeans`, I decided that I would try to leave my Dutch mindset behind and write stories as if I could be from anywhere. Many people I meet do not recognise me as Dutch at a first glance, but oftentimes, speaking about this project, they suspect that I can`t be from anywhere but The Netherlands. Travelling alone, for an extended period of time and with a specific purpose in mind ? all of that sounds very unfamiliar to people living in countries that value the group over the individual, think short-term rather than long term and prefer to party or do nothing whenever they finally manage escape their daily lives. The Greek traveling philosophy is similar to that of the other Mediterranean countries, and this is how it works:... Read more

Football champs

Athens, GR (View on map)
Posted 23 Feb 2008:

2004 was a magic year for sports in Greece. The Greek national football team won the European Championships and the Olympic Games returned to their birth place Athens. While few Athenians were bothered to stay in town to see the Olympics, the unexpected football victory sparked a seemingly endless chain of celebrations across the country.... Read more

Religion and superstition

Athens, GR (View on map)
Posted 24 Feb 2008:

Greece is known to be a very conservative country when it comes to religion and traditions. Although young people are turning away from the Orthodox Church, especially in Athens and on some of the islands, the influence of religion resonates in their everyday behaviour and in the way they take the important choices of life.... Read more

Eek, an earthquake!

Athens, GR (View on map)
Posted 25 Feb 2008:

Earthquakes are more common in Greece than they are anywhere else in the European Union. During recent months, there have been several small earthquakes all over Greece, but most of those tend to cause only slight inconvenience. They last for a few seconds and disappear. Bigger earthquakes, like the 1999 one in Athens, can destruct buildings and kill hundreds of people in a matter of minutes. Never having experienced an earthquake in my life, I am asking some Greeks in the street of Athens what earthquakes are like and how scary they are. ... Read more

Ancient soap operas

Hydra, GR (View on map)
Posted 26 Feb 2008:

Put twelve Gods on top of a mountain in Greece and see what happens. What nowadays sounds like a boring scenario for yet another real-life soap was an everyday reality for many Greeks in ancient times. Before Christianity was imposed and all the ancient temples were burnt, a small cast of twelve managed to keep a whole civilisation busy. Welcome to Greek mythology, where every single story seems to have 1001 different versions.... Read more

Dreams and objectives

Hydra, GR (View on map)
Posted 27 Feb 2008:

When I asked young people in Manchester about their ambitions for the future, almost every single one of them wanted to leave for an exotic location at the other end of the world. Greeks of the same age have other priorities, especially those who live on the island of Hydra, two hours away from Athens.... Read more

The Greek islands

Egina, GR (View on map)
Posted 28 Feb 2008:

Hundreds of books have been written about the Greek islands, and about who should visit which one and why. I unfortunately do not have the time to visit many islands on this trip, but would still like to have a global understanding of how they relate to each other, and how they are different from mainland Greece.... Read more

EU the Greek way

Thessaloniki, GR (View on map)
Posted 2 Mar 2008:

Democracy may well have its cradle in Greece but the Greeks have only seen little of it during most of their history. The most recent restoration of the democratic legacy dates from 1973, when a student uprising led to the fall of Greece`s last dictator. The resulting revolution and free elections paved the way for membership of the European Economic Community (EEC) in 1981. But how much of the European dream actually makes it all the way to Greece?... Read more

Love and marriage

Thessaloniki, GR (View on map)
Posted 3 Mar 2008:

Greeks have little appetite for rules, but they are fond of traditions. They don`t like anybody to decide about what they do, but will calmly consider obeying when the authority in question is a family member. Paradoxically, they like to see everybody as their family member. Maybe that explains why the Greeks are so eager to marry. Or would it just be because a wedding is an excuse for just another party?... Read more

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