Discover Greece

How I Discovered and Continue to Discover Greece

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Communications Consultant

30/8/2016
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When asked where I was born, I often jokingly respond by saying: “On a jet plane, somewhere over the Atlantic, on a flight aller-retour JFK-ATH or vice versa.” Actually, I was born in New York, but the number of times I visited Greece in my youth made it feel so much like “home.” In fact, one of my coveted travel possessions from those days is a baby blue blanket and matching headrest pillow with the Olympic Airways logo.

 

As a teen and young adult, the annual trip to Greece meant freedom: freedom to take the bus to the Peloponnese; freedom to take the trolley to the center of Athens;  freedom to take the train to Kifisia in the northern suburbs; or a taxi to the southern suburbs of Glyfada and the beaches and beachside clubs of Voula, Voulgiameni and Varkiza. I was free to explore, excited to discover… Greece. Very little has changed.

 

I have been living in Greece for just over a decade. But it feels like I’ve lived here my whole life.

In the beginning, as an eleven-year old travelling solo, my sightseeing adventures were organized and chaperoned by my aunt who lived in Athens. Always there to greet me at the airport, she was my loving and tireless guide to all the ancient sites and monuments of the great city as well as the rich history behind them.

 

I gazed wide-eyed as we walked through the lush National Gardens; I remember how we would quench our thirst halfway up to the Acropolis by squeezing lemonade out of little plastic containers shaped like lemons; we enjoyed ice-cream at Syntagma Square and tasted sweet grapes at the local weekly street market (laiki), where the sun always shone down on us and the enticing aroma of barbecued corn on the cob hung ever-present in the air.

 

 

 

Today, as a permanent  Athenian resident, I often recall those early days, grateful to my aunt who first mapped out the city that I now zip and zigzag through day after day, season after season.

I have been living in Greece for just over a decade. But it feels like I’ve lived here my whole life.

And in a way, I have.

 

Thinking about it, almost every summer as a child and as a young adult was spent in Greece; visiting family and friends in Sparta, Argos, Mystras, Patras, Tolo, Kalamata and Korinth.  Swimming in Gytheio was always a highlight, as were those contented evening strolls along the promenade in Nafplion. And then there were the long journeys by bus staring dreamily out of the window at grove upon grove of olive, fig, lemon and orange trees.

 

These experiences —and more — would fill my summer weeks in July and August; their memories and images clear in my mind would keep me going for the rest of the year. As I got older and started to work full-time in Manhattan, the long two-month holidays inevitably got a little shorter. But it was a rare summer that I missed going to Greece altogether.

 

These were the years as a young woman that I learned about island hopping and its inexhaustible delights; Santorini sunsets; the mastic (masticha) trees of Chios;  shopping on Paros; the Temple of Apollo (Portara) on Naxos;  the emerald green of the Ionian’s Corfu and Paxoi;  bike riding along the beach on Kos; the delectable cheese of Astypalaia;  the must-eat froutalia omelette on Andros; the enchanting accommodation in the castle at Monemvasia; the succulent lobster at Elafonissos; the multitude of beaches on Milos;  the pristine Porto Katsiki beach on Lefkada; spiritual Patmos; the big blue of Amorgos; the picturesque ports of Cephanlonia and, of course, the amazing Mykonos.

 

In 2003, I was fortunate to get a job with NBC Olympics.  This was the first time I would spend more than just the odd week living and working in Athens. I was hooked. So much so, in fact, that despite initially returning to my native New York, in the July of 2005 I made the decision to move back to Greece for good.

 

In my role as a communications consultant in the tourism industry, I am privileged to have the opportunity to continue to discover this country on foot, by ship, by car, by bus, by train, by tram and by plane. Business trips have taken me to places such as the luxury resort Costa Navarino in Messinia; Grecotel in Mykonos; magnificent Metsovo; pretty Paleros; vibrant Ioannina; The Crete Golf Club; Rhodes and the sweet isle of Symi next door. Collaborations with the City of Athens Convention & Visitors Bureau, Marketing Greece, Flisvos Marina and the Municipality of Naxos and Small Cyclades have been a pleasure; a dream that continues to fulfill me personally and professionally.

 

Often on these trips, I’ll take my cherished Olympic Airways blanket; and it feels just like home all over again.

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