Life in Greece is very different from what journalists like you to think.
I am writing from the Alexandros-Kalikalos centre in Pelion, Greece, and I can honestly say that life here is still as idyllic and calm as it has always been – and I have been visiting almost every year for the past seven years. When I ask the locals about their views on the current crisis, the general reaction is a shrug: “Well, as long as we can still grow tomatoes!” they say. Then they take a leisurely drag on their cigarette and ask if you would like some (local, white) wine with that.
Because that is the Truth here. People are living, and they are living quite well: yes, the cash limit in the ATMs make it difficult for the locals (but not the tourists), but that does not stop them from dancing, fishing, and growing tomatoes, olives, lettuce, cucumbers, and so much more! Everything that I have eaten thus far has been grown and bought locally,with only a few exceptions. Greece may be running out of cash, but is certainly not running out of food or sunshine.
There also seems to be this idea that all businesses inGreece are shutting down – which is simply not true. One of the largest industries in Greece is in tourism, and the Kalikalos community network certainly contributes to the area. Every Tuesday, we take turns at dining in different tavernas, and we buy all our vegetables, cheese
and olive oil from local farmers. Snacks and souvenirs can be bought down at the seaside shops, and all at bargain prices – shopping is great here since the British Pound is especially strong against the euro. There are even Kayaking tours around the Pelion Coast, and Quadbikes for hire. ( I actually did take par in the Kayaking tours, which was very exciting. Pics to flow in separate blog.)
I have stayed here for nearly a month so far (one month to go…) and I have enjoyed exceptional beauty every single day. The smell of fresh coffee in the morning, the clear Aegean sea, the warm sunshine, the evening candles, the sea view, the delicious food, the lovely people…. all of these are treasures untouched by the Greek state. Here in
Greece, we are living comfortably, and while the media portrayal of Greece does have truth to it, please know that there is more to discover behind the headlines. Therefore, I would like to invite every single one of you reading this to join me in this paradise. Let us eat dinner under the grapevines, and enjoy the beautiful Aegean waters, and the lovely local wine. You are all invited.
You might want to bring cash, though.
Written by Anya Owen, Scotland
All photo credits to Rose Owen