The real Greece in 2015
Holiday in Greek crisis
I had no ideea Greece could fall this summer. We had chosen Skiathos Island because we visited the place in 2008 when the entire world had to face a global financial crisis but we had a great time there. Now, in 2015, it was something else. The crisis was in Greece. I also had no ideea I should see the referendum about Greece independence or default right there. Skiathos is an important island for Greece. It was here, in 1807, at the Evanghelistria Monastery where a few monks created the first flag of the country and the war for independence against the Turkish Empire started. I had to feel the place to understand the Greeks. Anyway, it was too late to change my mind, so I decided to ask for selfies with my friends there. I wanted to see ordinary people smiling in Greece. And so I did after landing on, maybe, the shortest airport runway in Europe.
Skiathos Island is one of the most beautiful islands in Greece at the Aegean Sea, British but cosmopolitan place.
A Greek taverna owner to remember
Two days before the referendum in Greece, we were there and this is my first selfie. A taverna owner, a good man, concerned about what was going on. He said he had no ideea about what was going to happen from Monday on. Nobody knows, he said. We don't have cash, nobody lend us money, we have to resist on our own. I asked him whether he is ready for losing tourists or not. There are thousands here every summer - from Greece, England, US, France, Germany, Russia, Romania. We don't know, we've never seen something like this before. In fact, Greece had to face many crisis but this time it was different. He remembered 1980 when PASOK started to borrow money from international creditors. It was that moment when the Greece crisis started. We had to leave and he looked at me. He was happy in our selfie, one could see his flowers. Come, I'll give you something. Tsipouro made by me, here. So, you'll remember me!
A Greek taverna owner and the author
The Aegean Captain
This is not fiction, it is a real story. Yet, my characters won't have names. I'll tell in the end why. There is a man, an old Greek shark whose name is Kostas. This is the only name you'll have. Imagine that after a long trip, hot sun, you meet a guy who wants to dance with you. Of course, traditional Greek dances and who wants to drink Metaxa with you. First I thought he was mad. Then, I realized this is how they live. He is the captain of Elizabeth I, II and III, large boats taking tourists to visit Skiathos Island but also, Skopelos and Alonisos. He loves life, won't vote for he's got a job. He works for Greece.
Skiathos to Skopelos in Greece 2015
She is Greece
4 Euros a beer, 3 Euros one ice-cream, 8 Euros two sunbeds. This is Koukounaries Beach, one of the most beautiful beaches in Greece. Blue flag given as a present for Skiathos by the E.U. She is the girl of Koukounaries, coming to work at about 11 AM, leaving for Skiathos Town at 7 when tourists leave the beach. She did not vote. She is not interested in politics. She brought us beer, water and ice-cream every day. This is her job. She accepted the selfie, not smiling for she is concerned. Talking to every client, she understood Greece is trouble.
Koukounaries Beach Skiathos
Will ordinary Greeks survive?
There is a small shop on the beach in Koukounaries. One man and his wife take care everything to be ok. They sell everything a tourist needs. One beer is 2 Euros and so on. He is happy when you come back and buy something. When you ask him about his business and about politics, he will talk. Greece is talking through his voice. I'm glad he was glad for taking a picture together. I didn't ask him whether he said Yes or No at the referendum about the E.U., IMF conditions to avoid Greece default. He only said it must be fair. He couldn't smile for the Government hit them hard. It is summer, we sell but we should do until next year?
An ordinary Greek
Photos from Skiathos Island 2015
In 1807 a few monks came to Skiathos and on the highest peak of the island they created at the Evanghelistria Monastery, the first flag of an independent Greece. The bells called for freedom and the entire Greece knew it was time for the people to get rid of the Turkish domination. They had to fight to be free. After the independence, in 1834, Greece had to face its first default.
Greece must look like new
In the evening, a man used to come and coat umbrellas on the beach. It was the referendum day. Tourists from England, Germany and so on enjoyed their holidays. I asked that man why painting the umbrellas. His answer made me go and have a glass of ouzo, Greek traditional drink. They must look like they are new, he said. We don't have money to buy new ones. Koukounaries is the where Pin Forest still exist.
Man painting umbrellas in Skiathos
Politics is important for Greeks. In the photo below, there are two friends of mine, working for Golden Beach hotel in Skiathos, it doesn't matter. One of them had to come to Skiathos after 30 years job in Volos because of the crisis. The other friend of mine was El Commandante. He knew Greece was is trouble. But he also knew that there is a fair price for everything, he said. We drank together from the house for they were happy somebody, finally, asked them, the ordinary working Greeks, what was going on and how they handle the situation. I hope I'll find them ok.
Friends from Greece
Greece will not fall
The great Greek philosopher, Aristoteles said once: democracy is not a fair political regime. Greece might have understand that. But Greece, Skiathos, is the place where Eleutheria, Thanatos cry, which is Freedom or Death, found its place. My characters accepted selfies with me for they love the others. They don't have names for their name is Greece.