"Ellada, Ellada, mana tou kaimou" Greece by Aitana
Greece Travel Guide: 27,574 reviews and 78,377 photos
In 1992 I went to Greece for the first time. It was January. I had gone to work in a project in Akrata, in the prefecture of Achaia, for six months.
Athens was my first contact with Greece and I have to recognize that I didn’t like it at all that first time. It was cold and cloudy, nothing to do with the idea I had about the bright and light city. I was really disappointed, and I admit that I was frightened: if this was Athens, the capital, what could I expect of the village I’d be living in?
But after a weekend in Athens, my fellow student and me took a bus to go to Egio (Aigio), where someone was waiting for us. Along the way, as we left Athens and the industrial populations nearby and we entered the Peloponnese, everything changed. I began to see a different country. The road runs between the mountains and the coastline. The sun was shining and the villages I saw were white and bright.
As I said before, I stayed six months in Akrata. During this time I went several times to Athens and I have to say that I began to see the city with different eyes. Now, I indeed like it. A weekend in Athens with an Athenian friend was decisive. She took me to the Megaro Mousikis (Palace of Music) to see Electra of Richard Strauss. She also showed me the best of Athens: the National Pinacothec, Kalimarmaro, the Ancient Olympic Stadium, the First Cemetery (Proto Necrotafio)… We also went to Piraeus and Kyfissia. From then on, I see Athens as a beautiful city. Omorfi poli, as the song says…
I had the opportunity to visit many places, especially in the Peloponnese. We used to make short weekend trips and we visited Corinth, Kalavrita, Olympia, Nafplio, Mycenae and Epidaurus… Nafplio seemed to me the most beautiful town in Greece (and after some visits, I still think the same). We also visited the island of Zakynthos, Meteora and Delphi.
It was 1992, the year of the Olympic Games of Barcelona. In June we went to Olympia for the lighting of the Olympic Flame that would come to Spain. This was very moving for me. At the end of my stay in Greece, I visited Crete and Santorini.
Patras and Egio were places we visited often. We collaborated with a consulting placed at Egio and we used to go once a week to meet the responsible for the project. Patras is a city I like quite a lot. As it was the closest big city, we used to go often. So, we saw all the preparations for the Carnival during several weeks, and finally the parade. I have visited Patras some years later and it has changed quite a lot, many streets in the city center have transformed and also the areas close to the harbor.
In the last years I have visited Greece in several occasions. I have travelled sometimes with a friend of mine (also a philhellene) as in a road movie, but I have also stayed for some weeks in Patras, a kind of short stage at the University. I have visited friends from the past, but I have also visited new places: Thesaloniki, Larisa, Volos, Mount Pilion, Nafpaktos, Monemvasia, Sparta, Mystras, Kerkyra (Corfu), Cefalonia…
Paco and I married in 2006. For our honeymoon, he chose a cruise that had stopovers in three Greek islands (Mykonos, Rodos & Santorini) and Piraeus.
Last summer we travelled again to Greece: I attended a conference in Crete Island. As I had just seen Heraklion and Agios Nikolaos in my first visit, this time we travelled also to the west, visiting also Chania and Rethymno.
The knowledge of the language helps to communicate and to move around, of course. But Greek people are kind and friendly and no matter if you don’t know a word in Greek, they will manage to communicate and to help you.
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