Greece – The cradle of European culture

In todays article I will tell you about my impressions of Greece. The journey already started with trouble as all trains delayed and I almost had missed my plane to Thessaloniki as well as the connecting flight to Athens. But thanks God in the end everything went fine! Usually you associate Greece with hot and sunny summer holidays. Well, I must disappoint you as I have completely other memories. As I went there at the end of January I had the pleasure of landing in Thessaloniki in a snow storm. A Greek lady living in Germany siting next to me said that it’s her first time she sees Greece in the snow. When speaking about Greece the first thing that will come on your mind is the economic crisis. I can tell you that I know some Greeks and they are fed up with being associated only with their complicated economic situation. In this article I want to remind you that this country offered us so many great things like democracy, philosophy and very educated mathematics. Even though I used to hate mathematics at school but that’s a different story! Athens for me is a city with to completely different faces. I arrived on the Airport and took the bus to Syntagma Square near the Greek parliament. This building is very famous for their guards the so called evzónia who walk up and down and wear their traditional Greek uniforms. In the evening the city has something very romantic and elegant. Siting in the 360 Cocktail Bar near Plaká Square which I really recommend you drinking my Ouzo I enjoyed the view on the splendid Acropolis in the light. Unfortunately I also got to know the other side of Greece. Walking back to my very modest hostel I saw homeless people sleeping on the street between garbage cans. Going to the market you can see many people begging on the sidewalk. If you want to see a really lovely place in Athens I recommend you Anafiótika. This part of Athens is like an island paradise in the middle of a big city. It has white houses, cute little cats walking around and people siting outside and enjoying the Greek mocca which I really recommend you for breakfast. You might think that you are on Mykonos or Santorini. It’s on the other side of the Acropolis than Plaká Square and it seems to be far away from the noise and the traffic of Athens city centre. If the wheather is great you can even see the sea of Pireus on the South of Athens. There you should visit the famous Yiasemi Café where you can get Greek Mocca and a piece od orange with honey. Yes, the Greeks love honey and they even use it for their delicious yoghurt. But there’s another thing Greece offered us and that’s the music. When speaking about Greek music many of you will think of the bouzoúki. Well, I hate to disappoint you but this very instrument is not as typical Greek as many of you might think! The bouzoúki is an instrument which was used in the so called rebétiko a kind of that was invented in the poor parts of Athens and Thessaloniki in the 1920s. Its inventors were Greeks who emigrated from Turkey. The melody of rebétiko sounds a little bit oriental and that’s why it was criticized and rejected by the Greek elite in those days. The bouzoúki for instance is an instrument related to the Turkish bağlama a long guitar. It was the Greek musician Míkis Theodorákis who made the bouzoúki popular in the rest of the world. Music contest by the way were very popular in the Antic Greece. In the 7th century BC people organized music contests to define what’s typical Greek. The most famous one in the Greek mythology was the contest between Apollo and Marsyas. Apollo won and Marsyas was punished. Going to Greece you should at least once go to a manifestation of rebétiko music as I did in Athens enjoying some Ouzo and a plate full of kleftikó a traitional Greek grilled lamb. Even though our media talk so much about the Greek crisis we shouldn’t forget what this country and cultered offered us once upon a time! Thank you, Greece! Ευχαριστούμε πολύ, Ελλάδα!

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