Friday, March 21, 2008

Greece - The Future??

Having lived in two very different countries, I have come to the conclusion that Greece is a country envied by some, loved by few and desired by many. Its geographical position is its advantage, as well as its drawback. Its natural beauty is its main quality as well as its Achilles heel. Its history is its lesson to all as well as its foresight into the future.

Geographically, Greece is a bridge between East and West (if we can still refer to the world in these terms). Recent decisions have made it a country of strategic importance, not so much for its own interests, as for other interests. The fact that major players in the energy market, such as Russia and the United States, are battling for ground shows that it is in demand. Unfortunately, the Greek state system is not strong enough to hold its head high in these instances, and so, as with many other weaker countries around the world, it has become a useful tool.

Its natural beauty is something worth seeing. There are so many beautiful sights to see, and such a plethora of undisputed natural phenomena, that it would take years to be able to see them all. Volcanoes, gorges, mountains, caves, rivers, islands, natural lakes can be found all over the country, giving everyone the opportunity to enjoy what has been here since time started. This natural beauty is truly Greece's biggest gift to the world.

Historically, Greece has passed through many phases. Its Ancient History is perhaps the best known around the world. Philosophy, art and physical fitness all have their roots embedded in this country. Greeks have endured civil wars, slavery, world wars, disaster, emigration and immigration, and through all this have managed to keep their customs and traditions a part of their daily life. These are the things, though, that should lead Greece into a clearer future. It's not a case of not changing, but looking back at the mistakes made, and trying not to make them again.

To me, Greece has so many positive points, that it should be a leader in many things. It should be the country making bigger strides towards a better world. It should have higher expectations - great expectations, and not humbly follow others.

I love this country, not only the earth that we walk upon, and the sea we swim in. I love the feeling of standing in the same place as others, when they fought for freedom, for equality, for the right to live the way they want. It's that feeling that I want to pass to my children, and if I am lucky, to my grandchildren.

Thank you for your time....

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Greeks, Food and Drink

There is nothing more pleasant than enjoying a good meal. I don't know about you, but since I have moved here to Greece, I have found great pleasure in enjoying evenings out with friends at nice - economic - restaurants.

Last weekend, I felt the need to go somewhere and relax for an evening with a cousin and my husband. We decided to hit the nearby village of Sivota. It is a beautiful, magical village which is built along a small harbour. If you have never visited this area, it really is worth paying a visit to this village, merely to enjoy a typical Greek sunset.

Anyway, a friend, who has become a good friend over the past months, has a hotel and restaurant near the harbor, called Filaka. We all needed something to pick us up on Saturday, and this seemed to be on of the better ideas that were flying around (of course it was mine). So we set off, for that quiet evening out. When we reached the restaurant, it was almost full. Live music was playing and as we sat at our table, I got that feeling that this was going to be one of the more relaxed evenings of the week. We decided to order mezethes (a variety of Hors d' oeuvres) as we wanted to get a taste of everything available. We opted for a local wine, and sat to enjoy the atmosphere.

At some point my cousin and I were asked to sing a few songs, and so he, with his bouzouki, and I , with my voice (which was not up to standard due to a cold) picked up a few oldies and let the stress of the week flow out.

We all had a wonderful time, and I must admit, that I will make a habit of this, whenever I can. If you are ever in the area and feel the need to relax, pop in, order some wine and let the Greek music take over your mind.