In Greece I feel like a special guest
As I’m half Greek, we have visited Greece ever since I was young to see my mother’s family. Up until I turned 16, I’d only been to Athens and a small village called Marmari on the island of Evia. I loved it there. It was so unspoiled and there were absolutely no tourists. The first discovery after that was Skiathos, where I travelled with a friend of mine when I was 17. We had a wonderful time. Of course, I’ve seen the ancient sites of the Peloponnese (twice) and during my studies in Thessaloniki, I visited some truly amazing places in Macedonia and northern Greece, like Meteora or the Prespes Lakes and Ioannina. The last ones are still undiscovered by tourists although they are some of the most beautiful lakes I’ve ever seen. The islands are something I’ve missed out on so far. However, after Skiathos, the islands of Kerkyra [Corfu], Lesbos, Aegina and Poros made it on my list – all of them awesome, but so different to each other. Kerkyra is Italian inspired, Lesvos is kind of rugged, but with unexpected architecture, while Aegina and Poros have nice hidden beaches and really warm water, which I fell in love with.
I’ve been to tropical islands as well, but I love the colour of Greece’s waters the most.
I just love the heart-warming welcome of the people. I’m half Greek and speak Greek fluently. So they consider me one of their own and treat me so well. I never feel like a tourist here, more like a special guest, a long-lost friend. I love that welcoming!
When I close my eyes I think of the colour of the water. I’ve been to tropical islands as well, but I love the colour of Greece’s waters the most. This blue has captured me. When I see it from the plane, I already feel at home. And to tell you something, if I were looking for a beach holiday, there is just one destination for me: Greece.
I often crave the sweet indulgence of Greek cuisine, like oven-warm galaktoboureko or freshly made bougatsa with cinnamon and confectioner’s sugar. Or this great sweet bread called tsoureki made with mastiha [gum mastic]. Since I have lived in Thessaloniki, I have to have the one from Terkenlis Bakery, filled with chocolate and the one with sweet chestnuts, every time I visit Greece. You won’t find tastier yoghurt topped with honey-coated walnuts for breakfast combined with a variety of summer fruits like peaches or figs than the one in Greece. And finally, my mind lingers on the simple, but delicious, sesame ring you find all over the streets of Greece, the famous koulouri. If you’re there during Lent, you have to try tahinopita, a sweet swirl with tahini cream. I love it!
I always take home olive oil, because Greek oil is truly the best and connected to lots of memories even during my childhood: we always took home olive oil when we visited my family in Athens.
I would love to explore Crete. My idea actually is to go from Athens by ferry boat to Crete and make a relaxed road trip over there while looking for monasteries to stay overnight and explore the coast and the countryside of the island.