Monday, March 30, 2009

Exit Greece

From Greece 09

I'm sat in Athens airport, where there's 45 minutes of free net access and thinking, I'll just post a final blog entry before submitting myself to British Airways and the flight home. And I've loads of thoughts about Greece which i shall put down while trying hard not to sound like Jeremy Clarkson.

- Greece is drop dead beautiful and there are a load of places where most tourists haven't heard of. I think I'll be back and maybe a bit later in the year next time so I can do some swimming.

- The ban on smoking in public places is a good idea. Getting used to secondary smoking again has been no fun. Greeks light up all the time, often with other people's food within range. There is no culture of public health here the way we have it at home, and over the years I've got used to it.

- Greek drivers are fine outside cities. But put them on a motorway and they will try to kill themselves and take you with them. The hard shoulder is just another lane to them (and they use it for overtaking slower traffic) as are lanes closed off for maintenance. And if the traffic is a bit slow on the main carriageway they'll speed through rest areas just to hop a few cars. In 150 miles of anarchic motorway yesterday I saw no police whatever.

- Greek food. It's fine as far as it goes but basically its in a ghetto because none of the cosmopolitan influences that have transformed our eating out experiences have arrived here. They used to major on fish but thats not possible anymore because the fish stocks are so depleted. And there are too many chips. They arrive unbidden with virtually everything. But on the plus side, God, I like chips.

- The collapse in the value of the pound has made Greece quite expensive. And if it's bad here what will it be in France for example? We Brits have got used to our spending power on the continent and it's hard not to see a political fallout when UK dwellers get home from their hols this summer.

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