We fly to Cyprus today, and consequently, this is our final post from Greece. We’ve been in Greece for 6 weeks, and while this isn’t a long time, it has been our home. And usually we reminisce a bit about the place we’ve been.
Greece has always been on our list of places to spend extended time, and we’re really glad we did. Santorini and Athens are polar opposites, and represent two very different lifestyles. Both places can be crowded with tourists, but given the time of year, other tourists were never a problem for us. Santorini is a small town surrounded by working farms, and of course, Athens is a huge city which comes with all the positives and negatives of any large city.
One of our primary reasons for visiting Greece was the antiquities, and they didn’t disappoint. We’ve been here before, but having 6 weeks to absorb the information makes all the difference. In addition to the Acropolis and its associated sites, the State Museums are excellent as well. In particular, the Archaeology Museum is truly world class, and the collection there is unlike any other in the world.
We had the luxury of time and were able to explore areas of Athens that are off the tourist track. As we’ve said in the past, getting a chance to see how real people live adds so much to the experience, and you can only do this by roaming around neighborhoods.
After conversations with a few people, walking by riot police standing watch, and the almost daily civil unrest, it’s been very sobering to see the impact of the financial crisis on real people, as opposed to a broadcast on CNN. Greece has big economic problems that aren’t going away anytime soon. Most people have accepted the reality, but there is a very active, vocal minority that hasn’t.
We were smart to find a great apartment to settle in over the holidays, and Athens worked out perfectly. We found a very comfortable, modern studio (with a fireplace!) that let us live in a neighborhood like locals, away from the tourist trail. The Manager and her Assistant went out of their way to make our stay pleasant, and we can’t thank them enough.
Greece has been great fun. It was nice to unpack the suitcases for a while, but we’re both ready to hit the road. Our next post will be from the only country in the world with a divided capital, but more on that later.
James & Terri