Top 10 Reasons To Love Living In Greece in 2021
- by XpatAthens
- Thursday, 11 February 2021
Here are this year's top 10–plus an extra reason–why she loves living in Greece:
Since international travel was unpredictable, local travel became more attractive, and I went on a road trip to Mani, a part of south mainland Greece in the Peloponnese. In Mani, you can easily spend weeks going from village to village and ancient site to ancient site. The landscape is beautiful and rugged, the beaches unspoiled, the tavernas offer inexpensive and amazing Greek dishes, and there are lots of hidden surprises in the area. My favorite was the shipwreck in Valtaki named Dimitrios. It is like straight out of a movie…
2. Use of “oula”
In the Greek language, it is considered rude to be too direct so Greeks add “oula” to the end of a word to soften the delivery. If you want to ask for the price of something, “timi” (price) becomes “timoula?” (sweet, little price). Need a favor? “Hari” becomes “haroula” as in “I need a sweet, little favor.” I got good at that one this year…
3. Outdoor Everything
As the pandemic unfolded, and it became clear that transmission was less likely in outdoor environments, I was very grateful to be in Greece. From outdoor cinemas, to beach bars and outside dining, everything is done outdoors anyway in the warmer weather. For the months we weren’t in lockdown, it was easy to keep our social lives moving along. The outdoor theatres (called theorion) are my favorite, and you’ll find them all over Greece, from tiny villages in Ikaria to the famous Thission Outdoor Summer Cinema in Athens where you can see the Acropolis from the seating area. It’s magical watching a movie under the stars on a hot Greek summer night.
4. Athens Is Cleaning Up
Omonia Square used to be a really rough part of Athens where prostitutes and drug dealers hung out. Even in the daylight and with my dog, I never felt comfortable walking through the neighborhood. But this year, they’ve cleaned up the square by installing an elegant water fountain in the center, planting green grass all around, adding better lighting, and having police on patrol during the evening hours. I won’t say it’s like Union Square in San Francisco, but it’s starting to have that feel. Nice!
5. The Food Delivery People
E-food and Wolt delivery people were my unsung heroes during the pandemic and in the first lockdown, I saw them more often than I saw my own friends. Fast, reliable, and supporting lots of restaurants and food establishments, they became small symbols of resilience. I love watching them whiz through Athens on their scooters and bikes. Wolt also became a verb when I had to ask my friend “Can you Wolt me a burrito? I lost my wallet…” I like them so much, I even acquired my own Wolt jacket. Fashion circa 2020…
6. I Became A Greek Correspondant
Like many of you, the pandemic changed the way I earn money. With Airbnb and yoga income collapsing, I changed my focus, and 2020 is the year I became a freelance writer and the Greek correspondent for International Living, a site that helps people move abroad. It is almost like a small miracle because now I get paid to write about and promote the country I love.
ERT, the Greek national television station, started a free online movie service called Erflix, and I started watching a series called “Our Best Years” (Τα καλύτερα χρόνια μας). It’s the rough equivalent of the US show “The Wonder Years” and is set in Greece around the time of the dictatorship (early seventies). I love watching life in Greece during a different era, when things moved at a slower pace. And as another benefit, it’s helping my Greek. Thanks Ertflix.8. Hidden Neighborhoods
To relieve the monotony of being housebound during lockdown, I take my dog Andromeda on long walks most days. This was the year I explored Dafni, Exarchia, Kallithea, Gazi, Mets, Metaxiougio, Petralona, Tavros the list goes on. There are hidden corners everywhere, and our long daily strolls keep life interesting during Lockdown 2. I’ve found haute couture dress shops in Kallithea, modern lofts in Gazi, the organic food stores in Petralona, and even an ancient Aqueduct I had never heard of in Kolonaki. Athens has lots of secrets to uncover when you go off the beaten path.
9. The Greek Government’s Response To The Pandemic
It’s a tremendously difficult situation and no country nailed it 100%, but Greece is doing a pretty good job. The administration follows science, takes measured actions, communicates clearly and regularly, and offers rational explanations for their decisions. They even came up with innovative ideas like “click away” when the holidays were approaching but the virus case numbers didn’t support a reopening of the shops. It hasn’t become “us against them” and instead the response felt like a mature approach to an international crisis.10. The Holiday Decorations Throughout Athens In December 2020
In April of 2019, I was baptized Greek Orthodox with the name Evangelia/Ευαγγέλια and as part of the process, I formed a relationship with a church and a Greek Orthodox priest. I love my church–it is called the Ragavas Church in Plaka, and it is where the revolution in 1821 started in Athens. They have a special bell-ringing ceremony on March 25th to commemorate the revolution, which works out well for me since that’s also my name day.
11. The Greek Attitude In The Face Of Crisis
The pandemic has been hard for the entire world, but as Greece was just coming out of a decade long economic crisis, it has been really difficult here. Over 20 percent of the country’s GDP is based on tourism, and the country has a very large elderly population, making the situation even more precarious. But the country came together, and phrases like “kali dinami” (good strength) and “ipomoni” (patience) became our daily mantras. This isn’t a pandemic thing though. I saw this same resilience during the 2015 referendum crisis. There was one week in July of 2015 when we didn’t know if we’d leave the euro zone or stay. Everyone was tense and stressed. In the middle of all this I overheard a taxi driver say to his friends “A beautiful woman is a beautiful woman whether we spend drachmas or euros.…we’ll be fine.” Yeah, we will...Thanks for the reminder Greece. Love you.
Lynn is an American Kundalini yoga and Enneagram instructor teaching a unique combination of the two systems, combining the physical benefits of Kundalini yoga with the psychological growth tools of the Enneagram.
We're thrilled to collaborate with Lynn as an official XpatAthens Content Contributor! To learn more about her and all the great things she does in Athens please click here.