Earlier this year I was in New York City, and while waiting for some food to be delivered I started talking to a gentleman who was waiting as well. We quickly got to “where in the city do you live” type questions, and when I told him I left the city for Greece, he quickly asked worried – are you OK there? Do you have food to eat? I remembered this discussion and how it can be very relevant to Greece travel.
Given the controversial “fake news” debates going around, culminating with Google implementing some online news verification schemes, I thought of sharing my impressions as someone who actually lived there for a while… I will also gloss over the state of travel and experiencing local cultures around the world, and the impact of globalization.
Let’s start with Athens. The first feeling I got in Athens was that of a homey place, something of a lost world. It’s weird, but this city, while bustling with life at a crazy pace, has a calming effect on me, and makes me feel at home. “Calming?” – you will ask – “With all the riots, fire bombs, clashes with the police, refugees and other news drama?” Well, yes, there is (some of, remember the fake news) all that, but at the end of the day everyone – from the young anarchists, professionals and tourists, to the police officers – meets in the lively restaurants to chat, eat and drink until late at night. And then there is peace. So there is food – and very good, healthy food, because most agriculture is still being done by “old school” farmers, without all the hormones and pesticides associated with mass production. I can tell you, it really makes a difference – after a while your body feels different! And starts rejecting the junk food it used to like in New York, which is a problem 🙂
I remember New York City in the 90s, the lower east side and the village were underground places where you could find cheap bars with amazing bands. Every trip there was an experience, even with the drug dealers hanging around at every corner. Then things moved to Brooklyn, but now these underground places are becoming almost extinct. Most restaurants look the same, same designs, similar food, and sadly this happens all around the world. I was in Barcelona recently, and I was shocked to see how difficult it was to find a bodega with some traditional meats and their famous red wines! The local culture is slowly disappearing, unfortunately the globalization and technology make these unique places cool over night, making everyone rush there, and then they change… sometimes not for the better…
Coming back to Athens, you can still get a suit or dress hand made in a tailor’s shop, hand made shoes, mom and pop stores, farmers markets, a thriving music scene, and most importantly – not everything is on Google, Groupon and the likes! You still need to interact with the locals to find out the best spots… But technology is catching on, the local taxi app looks like Uber, and I can get food delivered to my door while writing these stories 🙂
So, use your vacation time to visit some authentic places, where you can reconnect with the land and waters of this planet, while they are still around. Greece is one of them. And the best way to travel Greece is with us 🙂 And the best time is NOW!