“Travelling is the only thing you buy that makes you richer”
Airport always gives me shivers. That feeling that something amazing is about to happen. Every single time. I’m off! It’s a special sense of freedom and excitement. With every trip I always think I should do more of it.
Many places visited, so many more to come and a number of times I promised myself I’d come back someplace knowing somewhere deep inside I won’t. Maybe the country, but not the same place. It’s something indescribable – not wanting to ruin a feeling and sensation of the best time spent with a second try, leaving it as an amazing memory to dwell on. I can’t say I haven’t tried revisiting – and yet the first time was always the best.
There are countries I go back to. Exploring piece by piece, region by region or simply doing different things. The list is short – France and Greece are my two loves I can go back to any time. Oh and I love Italy and Spain, I’d go to Central America or Asia any time, but if I had to choose one country, I’d flip a coin for those two.
Greece was love at a second sight… I mean we did flirt since the very beginning, but then came the love. And here comes my love story.
The first time I set my foot on the Greek land was 6 years ago – it was a vacation with a friend, searching for vitamin D and SEA mid spring, while it was still grey and gloomy back in Lithuania and warmth was nowhere to be found at home. If you were not a fan of typical destinations – Turkey or Egypt – where the weather was (almost) always great but you had to go with the option of being a resident of the reserve called “all inclusive”, there were not so many other choices within a 3-4 hour flight reach.
It was Rhodes back then, later came Athens, Mykonos, Crete. Truth be told, I enjoyed the time spent there during my first few visits, as I would enjoy any country with great climate, amazing food and hospitable people, but the sense of wanting to get to know it better came a bit later – the second or even the third time being there.
I guess we tend to put labels to places or peoples, judging by stereotypes. I couldn’t figure out what Greece was about for quite a while. Now I think I’m getting somewhere, but still can’t pick a clear definition. Greeks are so laid back. It’s not all about mañana, like in Spain, but does have a bit of it. It’s not the attitude of French, although I do get a hint of that too. I think I could call it “could not care less” kind of vibe with a taste of “love for life in general”. And that thing I can’t quite describe is what I love about Greece.
These people know how to enjoy every day without too much effort. They love food, they love people, they love life and not being in a hurry anywhere. Their hospitality and ability to lay back and relax with a cup of cold coffee over a heart filled conversation on a hot sunny afternoon is to be trully envied. No matter how difficult life may get, you will not get it out of a true Greek. You would like them to do things your way? Good luck! Be open to conversations and you’ll get the best of everything!
Our last trip to Crete was a little bit of everything. Chit chatting with a restaurant owner on a street of Rethymno, discussing the olive harvest with a wife of a local producer in Topolia while tasting their olive oil, thyme honey and pomegranate flavored rake, taking in the scenery of Samaria Gorge and then recovering a few days after, searching for sunburn ointments in the local shops in Chania or sipping coffee on a beach somewhere just off the road.
One thing is to book a bunch of tours at numerous traveling agencies going to Santorini, Elafonissi, Knossos and a completely different sense of the island simply going with the flow, exploring the little towns that are off touristic routes. That’s when you get to really talk to people without the feeling of being a tourist and a “walking wallet”. And that’s when you get the craving for more.