Friday, May 15, 2009

The Chronicles of Berry: My Thoughts on Greece

For the past couple of weeks I've given you pretty much a day-by-day account of what's been going on here in Athens. Today I want to switch it up and talk to you about my perspective on this city. Keep in mind it's merely an American's thoughts whose only been here for a couple weeks, anybody whose been here can chime in and tell me if I'm accurate or not. Here we go:

- Food: It seems like they take so much more time to prepare the food here compared to back in the states. Everything from the pizza to the salad to the fruit just seems to taste that much fresher over here. Even if you go into fast food places like McDonalds, KFC, and Pizza Hut you will see much cleaner looking establishments than you would in the US.

Even the things that are mass-produced (candy and juice, for example) just seem to have that extra care that I don't see back home. One of the many great things I had while I was here was strawberry juice. I love strawberries and I've always wanted it in juice form but you really don't find that in the US, and I found it over here. It tastes absolutely great, I wish I could bring the whole brand back with me. I guess I'll have to come back to Greece soon. I really could get fat over here with all the food I love. By the way, I think I mentioned it before in a previous post but if you ever go to Nafplio, please check out the gelato shop here. It is absolutely the best gelato I've ever had. Granted I've never been to Italy but still! If you didn't notice I loved the food over here.

-Smoking: Simply put, there is no place in Athens that you can't smoke! It's unbelievable. It's also interesting because as I read and experienced Athens, I found out that there are laws that ban smoking in public places. I had yet to be in a public place in Athens for the entire trip that adehered to those rules. It was really something to see everybody that smokes; the most astonishing statistic that I read while I was there was that one in four 10-year-olds smoke. 10 years old! That is insane, I can only imagine how bad it is at 12 or 14 or even 20! You could see a very attractive young lady over there and there was a pretty good chance that she smoked, which is a shame.

-I am thankful that we ended up in the neighborhood that we did for our stay in Athens. Pangrati is an actual neighborhood in Athens, not a tourist area where most of the locals spoke english. I think it was good for while we were there because it helped us learn how to deal with being there. If all we had was people speaking to us in english, it would have been too easy. Truthfully, I came to Greece because I wanted to experience a different culture and obviously a different language. It's not an easy language at all but one that is worth the time and effort to at least learn the basics. We as Americans have butchered the pronunciation of the Greek alphabet. We probably only get about 15% of it right, it is really something to see.

-For the most part, the people in Athens were nice and willing to help. They could clearly tell that I was American, with the only exception being one lady who thought I could have pulled off being French. There were a few people who fit the "cold" European stereotype but for the most part they were very friendly and helpful.

All in all this was an extremely enjoyable experience and I would absolutely love to do it again. I'll be back to my regular blogs coming up soon, I have plenty to talk about. Thanks to everybody who was with me on my tour of Athens!

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