Oh Greece! How I love thee! Let me count the ways:
1. I love thee for thy wondrous food.
The vegetables that taste so exceptionally fresh, prepared so simply. Why doesn’t Greek salad taste like that at home? What DO they put in that coffee?!? Could calamari even get any better? Baklava is just the best dessert on the planet. (But I cannot stomach ouzo. It is just too licorice-y, and I do NOT like licorice at all.)
2. I love thee for thy exceptional weather.
Living on the Wet Coast of Canada, it is such a treat to wake up in the morning, look outside at the blue, blue sky and just know that it’s going to be another hot, breezy day and that I’d better put sunscreen on. It may rain, true, but it will likely last all of ten minutes, then it’ll be back to sunny, hot and breezy. Love, love, LOVE it!
3. I love thee for thy art and antiquities.
As DD said, if she lived in Greece, she would be constantly digging up her back yard, finding pieces of marble statues or columns and inviting the local archaeologists over to have a look. In so many areas of Greece, ancient ruins are just part of the everyday scenery. Living in such a new country as Canada, this is a mind-boggling concept. The museums are all chock-full of absolute treasures, just waiting for you to go and admire them in the flesh rather than in a textbook.
4. I love thee for thy ancient history.
Again, living in Canada (Western Canada, yet, which has even less history than the East – except for the Native culture, I suppose), I find the whole concept of a building being in use for 500 years almost unbelievable. And to be at, say, the site of the ancient royal palace at Mycenae, and to see all the stone foundations for all the buildings that were constructed there in something like 1280 BC – it just scrambles my brain to think about it!
5. I love thee for thy Acropolis and the Parthenon found thereon.
My first sight of it was walking down the street from our hotel the morning after our luggage-less arrival. There it was, a scant ten-minute walk away, towering majestically above the city! Seeing it all lit up at night is even more memorable. And to actually walk up the steps to the top and stand beside something that you have studied at school, seen a million photos of, have just absorbed into your body of knowledge over the years is simply amazing (despite the ever-present scaffolding around the Parthenon). DD was awestruck (and speechless for about a minute – no doubt a record for her!) and I had to pinch myself to accept that this experience was real.
6. I love thee for thy colours.
Although I have seen the Mediterranean Sea before, its azure blue colour never ceases to stun me. It’s just so blue! And it’s a very floaty body of water too: it’s much easier to float in than the Pacific Ocean. Is it the salt content maybe? And olive trees really are – um – olive-coloured. Now I see where the name comes from, or else the colour. (I guess the trees came first.) And the white or pale buildings of Santorini are so picturesque that I just couldn’t take it all in! All those houses perched on the cliffs, with their predominantly blue doors and shutters are so beautiful and so quintessentially Greek!
7. I love thee for thy mountainous landscape.
It is an incomparable experience to arrive at one of the docks in Santorini and look up. Way up. Because the road goes up to the top of that cliff in front of you, and all the towns are along that volcano ridge up there. The road is narrow, with few guardrails, and many, many switchbacks on its arduous journey skyward. In a big coach, gazing out the window, this can be scary, because all you can see is the blue-green sea and way, way, way down to the port, with nothing in between. Of course, being a BC resident, I am quite used to mountains, but this was something else!
Just a taste, people (don’t want to bore you – looking at someone’s holidays pics can be quite tedious, after all), but there is a bit more to come. Like Istanbul. Like what I didn’t like (that’s a pretty short post). But I need to go nap now …