As we are slowly falling into a state of winter hibernation, which lasts pretty long in Poland … and if we aren’t real fans of extreme winter sports … we often look forward to having longer and warmer days, which are brought by wonderful spring or summer seasons. While working at school, I have very little time for travelling besides the summer holiday months. That’s why, I’d like to rise to the journeys from previous years, which were amazingly edifying and unforgettable experiences. Today, I’d like to come back to 2011, it was the year in which I had visited Greece for the first time, a country which I can certainly call my little paradise on earth.
The journey itself, you should know that I’m a compulsive hoarder and I always try to fill my suitcases with everything what comes to my hand and can theoretically be useful, was quite long … around 32 hours from Katowice to Athens by coach. Even though it may seem to be a little bit uncomfortable way of travelling, for me it was just ideal! My luggage was way too heavy even for the limits accepted by the carrier, but I was truly satisfied with myself, having all my clothing with me! Besides this I was bravely practicing my willpower not to be affected by travel sickness, which has troubled me since I was a child. And now I’ll try to be serious! I promise! If we want to think of the advantages of travelling by coach, one of the leading ones will be admiring picturesque landscapes in the countries, which you haven’t had a chance to visit before. In my case, I could travel through the Czech Republic, Hungary, Serbia and Macedonia. Every time (so far 5 times) when it was possible, I tried to admire beautiful views from the windows. I also had a chance to be by myself for a while. It’s really needed from time to time! I also love trying new local specialties and during such a journey you get loads of such opportunities! Unforgettable knedliki (well-known dumplings in the Czech Republic) or Hungarian goulash, that’s it! Besides this, since I always got out of the coach in Athens, which was the final destination of my journey, I could also devour charming landscapes of this beautiful and proud country – Hellada, with the main stops in Thessaloniki, Larissa, Lamia, Katerini and finally in Athens itself. If you survive such a long journey to this fascinating country – Greece, you’ll find the following days only more beautiful!
What made me fall in love with Greece? The list will be pretty long … so I’ll try to make it as short as possible. I’ll enumerate only the most important aspects which arose my passion to this country!
As a truly thermophilic creature, I adore all the places in which I can soak up the sun with impunity, for all the times! In summer, Greece is an ideal place for those of you who love beautiful weather and clear blue skies … on and on, on and on, on and on! Having the opportunity to spend my summer holidays in Greece twice, I could enjoy long and idle weeks there … and believe me or not … it rained only once, and it was a very short downpour! The spring season arrives much earlier than in Poland, and it’s a very pleasant time. If you don’t like boiling hot weather and taking a compulsory siesta every afternoon, visit Greece in spring or early autumn! Winters are certainly milder than in Poland, but have no illusions about this season at all … it’s good to take a thick jacket and some good boots with you! I stayed in the seaside town in the vicinity of mountains. That’s why, the omnipresent coldness was quite noticeable, and what’s the most important, it was really penetrating! Remember to check out some information about the region of Greece you’re going to visit!
Another important asset of this country is its wonderful coastline and beaches! The water has an incredible azure colour. While swimming you can sense cold and warm sea currents flowing just next to you. You can also admire the sea bottom with its astonishing marine life and everything it hides in its depths. When it comes to the beaches, in the places which I visited, dominated the pebbly ones. Remember, if you don’t want to hurt your feet and you want to increase the comfort of swimming, you should take some good swimming footwear with you. You can also find wild sandy beaches which are really charming, too. I can still remember such picturesque views, while visiting those secluded beaches and watching stray dogs playing cheerfully. They changed from lethargic and hiding in the shade creatures into playful puppies, uninterested in the presence of unexpected guests. Don’t be surprised if not all the beaches are as clean as you’d expect. However, it’s only a tiny drawback which has never disturbed the beauty of the surrounding landscapes.
It’s also worth visiting Greek islands and their idyllic villages. They have attracted, looking for peace and quiet, tourists for years. I haven’t had a chance to visit any islands yet. That makes me think that I’ve got the next reason to come back to this amazing country one day.
Greece is invariably associated with the ancient times and mythology. It abounds in magnificent monuments and architectural gems … you can find them almost at every turn. I recommend visiting Athens and Acropolis, but remember that you can find interesting buildings in many different places. They include beautiful churches, monasteries, and ruins … the remaining of yesteryear! It’s also worth visiting nearby markets and bazaars. You can find there lovely souvenirs and goods, which you won’t find in your country. If you’re thinking of checking out some grocer’s, you should really visit small corner shops. They will often offer you single pieces of unique products, which you won’t taste anywhere else! You’ll be surprised while popping in Greek supermarkets, and you’ll not only be astonished with the prices … but also with the fact that most brands presented on the shelves are Greek ones. I had an impression that in Poland we have a greater variety of foreign products.
Another thing which totally stole my heart is Greek cuisine. It’s really delicious and light. However, you must probably get used to it at the beginning, as it may not be as strongly seasoned as our Polish cuisine. A great asset of Greek food is that it’s really fresh and light. I devoured voraciously all new flavours. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to recreate them at home. I’d like to start with the simplest salad ever – Greek salad – which can’t be really made as well as it’s prepared in Greece, because of high quality fresh produce and finest ingredients they use. You should remember that in Poland we don’t have as sunny weather as in Greece. That’s why fruit and vegetables have a completely different flavour. Greek olives and olive oil are the best in the world! It’s also worth trying souvlaki, moussaka and crepes, which are popular and yummy Greek dishes. Another dainty, which really pleased my taste buds, was seafood such as squids, octopus or shrimps … eating them in a tavern with the tables placed so close to the sea that with every gust of wind I could feel water drops on my hot skin … I felt as if I had been in a totally different world! I think you should also try delicious Greek desserts and sweet treats, such as loukoumades (honey puffs), kourabiedes (walnut sugar cookies), Greek baklava, kokakia (Greek cream puffs), halvas (semolina pudding), melomakarona (honey and spice cookies) and last but not least kataifi. The last culinary points on my list are beverages. You should try aromatic wines and liqueurs which are really inimitable. Some of the most popular beers include Mythos and Fix, which are ideal to quench your thirst on a boiling hot day!
What makes you feel at home in Greece? The answer can be only one! People are very friendly. Family and friends are very important to them. Time flies there much slower, you can devote it fully to those aspects of life which are really important. Many hours’ chats in cafeterias and taverns bring people together. Forget the rat race and remind yourself of the things which really count in life. Travel with passion and visit this beautiful country!
See you around!