"My Big Fat Greek Holiday" Athens by b1bob

Athens Travel Guide: 4,469 reviews and 10,228 photos

From 13-26 August 1994, I was in Athens and Naxos, Greece. I stayed with my Greek pen friend. It was quite an adventure getting to know Thanasis' family and friends and experiencing the Greek culture from a typical Greek home. I found the Greek people to be very friendly. The weather was hotter than a $2 pistol the whole time I was there. (After all the ice storms here in Virginia the previous winter, I didn't complain.) Greek food is exceptional, almost as good as Southern American food.

I went to Greece that summer to visit a fairly new pen friend named Thanasis Rizos, then 22 years old, with whom I have been writing since February, 1993. Thanasis is an only child, his daddy is retired, his mama minds the house. Greece was my third choice of places to go for holiday that year. The first was back to Santiago de Compostela, Spain because I had such a great time there the previous year with Fernando and all our friends (Fernando visited me here the following summer). The second was visiting Alexandre Camara in Brazil (whom I finally got around to visiting in December, 2001). The third was visiting Thanasis in Greece. Although Fernando wanted me to come, he wasn't sure how much we would get to do given that, at the time, his granddaddy had one foot in the grave and the other on a banana peel. We may have had to leave town on a moment's notice. (Fernando's granddaddy died in 1995.) Alexandre was also perfectly willing to have me, but the seasons are reversed. Getting time off in mid-winter (on both sides of the equator) is like putting out the Chicago fire with a seltzer bottle. Thanasis invited me to stay at his place literally from day one. He was slightly disappointed that I didn't visit him the previous year when we started writing.

My parents, especially Mama, had misgivings about me going to Greece for two reasons. First, I had never been to Greece before. Second, I had only been writing to Thanasis a little over a year at the time I decided I would go there. Since I was paying every drachma of this trip, trying to stop me from going was like trying to stop a semi truck with a spit ball. There is a first time for everything. If I followed the rationale "well, you've never been there before" I never would have made my first European trip in 1986. Furthermore, if Columbus took that attitude, I would be still be in England or Scotland. If the American government thought like that, we would have never made it to the moon. The second point made a little (very little) more sense. It is true I had only known Thanasis for a year, but you never really know somebody until you meet them.

  • Last visit to Athens: Aug 1994
  • Intro Updated Jun 7, 2004
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b1bob

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