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GREECE: Take it from someone who knows

Take it from someone who knows

Greece was my life and Athens my home for over 10 years, a circumstance I had neither planned nor expected, but as the Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu once said, “A good traveller has no fixed plan and is not intent on arriving".

Like many Australians, at 21 I set off overseas to see the world - London my gateway, but soon dismayed at the expense and cold of a UK winter. I dreamt of sunshine and looked for avenues of escape, hence, one interview later - ”yes I can cook and don’t mind getting paid in experience”, I boarded a plane for Greece humming "we’re all going on a summer holiday".

Having few expectations, no plans and little knowledge of Greece or its people, except for screams of ‘malaka’ during high school soccer matches, I arrived with an open mind and no idea. It was this approach that saw Greece come alive for me, every day became an adventure and for the next 10 years, I helped bring it to life for many thousands of other visitors & holiday makers.

Probably the most enduring memories of Greece for most people are the blue waters of the Mediterranean, the white washed houses of Mykonos Island, the breathtaking sunsets in Santorini and the imposing views of the Parthenon atop the Acropolis in Athens - but there’s so much more…. Take that from someone who knows.

The only ruin I’d ever seen in my life prior to Greece was my best friend the day after his 21st, so nothing quite prepared me for the magnificence of its archaeological sites and the history that surrounded them.

My first introduction to the wonders of ancient Greece was by way of a ‘classical tour’ which at first seemed somewhat daunting - after all I’d come for some fun in the sun and wasn’t interested in a history lesson - how wrong I was.

You don’t just ‘see’ Greece, you ‘experience’ it.

Had it not been for the guide on my classical tour, I would never have appreciated the richness of its cultural, historical and physical landscape - she brought it to life. We ran at Olympia, stood in awe at the Byzantine Monasteries of Meteora, tested the acoustics of the theatre at Epidavrus and all came away a little wiser for the experience. Along the way we tasted olives, drank an ouzo too many, danced the Zorba and listened to bouzouki music, all without an island in sight or mind.

Greece changed my life. For over 10 years I swapped Coon for Feta, beer for ouzo, learned to speak with my hands and yell a lot. I didn’t arrive ‘expecting’ but rather ‘respecting’. This I believe endeared me to its people and enriched the experience I had learning about a new culture, people and way of life. I looked past the postcard and found the reality which was far more beautiful. If you do the same, one trip to Greece will never be enough …..take it from someone who knows.

Nic RoneAUTHOR

Hi my name is Nic Rone and I am the Owner, Director of Varsity Lakes Travel, Cruise Holidays Gold Coast and Mediterranean Holidays & Tours - all located in Varsity Lakes on the Gold Coast of Queensland. I lived in Greece for over 10 years running Contiki 18 to 35's Tours, Trafalgar Tours, Creative Tours and Insight Holidays.

Call: 1300 552 150 | Email: rachel@medhols.com.au

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