My love of Greece

Billington Pix

I first came to Greece as a child in 1978 to stay for a week in Athens. In those days you could wander all over the Acropolis, stand on the ancient carved ionic marbles of the Parthenon to take a photo. How things have changed.

We went everywhere, with a crammed itinerary to cover the entire short week, including Agamemnon's tomb at Mycenae, the ampitheatre at Epidauras, the Temple of Poseidon at Sounion, and the three-island boat trip from Piraeus to Hydra, Aegina and Poros. It was a whirlwind experience for me.

Athens is a fascinating city. Perhaps not totally picture-postcard in the traditional sense, other than for the ancient ruins dotted around. But more for the fascinating people-watching, urban life, realness.  Watch for the carts crammed full of cherries or the cafes filled with ouzo-drinking locals; look at the fresh fish markets or admire the graffiti around the backstreets of Plaka. Athens has a vibrancy and individuality, perhaps unlike any other European city.

The famous rusty shipwreck on the island of Amorgos in Greece

Then there are the islands. Take the Cyclades for instance; some of these islands are barely changed to cope with modernity. Beautiful whitewashed chora, contrasting with cerise-flowering bougainvillea and eggshell-blue painted wooden chairs. Contrast that with the azure sky and sea and it is a dream to behold. And the locals, so friendly and proud to entertain the camera-ready travellers, serving up fresh fish meals that always end with a free slice of watermelon or some cherries.

And the countryside, a realness of untouched beauty. The colours and clearness of the vista is spectacular. And the ruins are everywhere, if you look. Discreet settlements that you climb into the hills to enjoy. Ancient theatres where you can indeed still wander around and touch the stones or clay pots that the artisans from two millennia touched, some even bearing the impressions of their fingers. It's a personal experience that I will cherish forever.

So I, like every modern tourist before me, has snapped my interpretation of these relics and landscapes with a photograph. Something as a keepsake, from which my memory will later reference and inspire a stream of evoked experiences.



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