In my lifetime (and I am not that young anymore), I have travelled quite a bit and visited my fair share of places. I can say, in all honesty, that Greece is my favourite place. To be more precise, one cannot classify Greece as just one place. That would be unfair. In such a small area, this amazing country has such a wide collection of holiday resorts that entire continents would envy. And they are all so different from each other.
The famous and the unknown Greek islands
There is no need to say much about the Greek islands except perhaps that we, foreigners, know so few of them. Most of us usually hear, read and thus visit only Mykonos, Santorini, Rhodes, Paros, Corfu and some others popular amongst the party crowd. We are mostly ignorant of the fact that Greece has somewhat between 1000 and 6000 islands and islets, many of which can be visited and are of exceptional charm and beauty. In fact, as my husband says:
in Greece, there is an island for everyone
Take for example Kythnos, Anafi, Kimolos and Milos from the Cyclades islands that so few tourists are familiar with. Most of their visitors during the tourist season are Greeks. How about Evia, Karpathos, Kythira and Skyros? The list is long, much longer than can be numbered here. Even a large number of deserted islands are worth visiting by water taxi just to be sure you have an island of your own for a day, although it would be a good idea to be well supplied with the essentials and keep an eye on the weather.
Greece is a lot more than the islands
For those who have never taken the time to look for what more this great little country has to offer, I have some good news. Greece is beautiful all around. It will literally take you years to discover all its treasures, its hidden shores, its imposing mountains, its traditional villages, its rural landscape and its authentic people. What you will need most of all is time and the travel bug.
And when it comes to food, you are in for a great surprise. Each area has its own unique recipes unknown to almost everyone who is not Greek. Sausages from Trikala, from Arcadia, from Karditsa, from Evia or from Karpenissi, feta cheese from Naxos, from Tinos, from Tripoli and, of course, from Kalavryta, tomatoes, olives, olive oil and so on… (suddenly I feel hungry!).
What about the history? No western country has a richer and more important historical background than Greece and that is an undisputed fact. Even though a large number of attempts have been made over the past centuries to strip the country of its historic heritage, most of which have been successful, Greece still remains the place where our modern way of thinking was established.
There are many reasons why you will fall in love with Greece and the Greeks. They have been accused by many for their laid back way of life, however, we all want to know how they do it and deep down I think we envy them a bit, if we want to be honest with ourselves. I know I do. I am painfully aware that in our hustle and bustle western way of living that hard work will get us ahead, but how far ahead do we need to go and at what price to our health and peace of mind?
It is not just about accumulating more things! What about individuality? What about our right to define our own time and our own lives? And most of all, how many things do we really need to be happy? It seems that some Greeks have cracked this and are living the good life. That does not mean having an expensive car and a big fancy house, it means being able to enjoy what you have and those who are around you. And this is the most important reason why I love Greece, because it is here that I learned to enjoy my life.