I didn’t expect to like Greece. Maybe I didn’t even want to.
During our quick ferry ride from our corner of Turkey to the island of Lesvos, I had already turned my nose up at our destined country, thanks to a rather rude lady who wouldn’t move her bags to let my mother sit down. Pete was quick to make an assumption that Greeks are rude and I agreed with him. “I think I even read that somewhere,” Pete said.
I also immediately dismissed the looks of the port town of Mytilene, declaring it not near as pretty as from where we just came. Everything was a comparison.
How quickly prejudices can take hold, if you let them. We believe ourselves to be fairly open-minded and non-judgmental, but there we were, swearing off a country before we had even stepped into it.
Our quickness to judge, we realized later, likely stemmed from one particular source: our love for Turkey. It’s no secret that there has been an extremely rocky past between these neighbouring countries, and it is one that endures. We felt defensive of a place that feels like home, ready to loathe their enemies in solidarity.
That is quite awful of us, really. And pretty snobby.
Especially when we later realized how wrong we were.
Greece is lovely. The people are so friendly and hospitable. The coastal scenery is sensational. And the food…oh, the food.
It’s not a bad thing to be protective of that which we love, I suppose. But to judge another based solely on that was highly unfair of us.
Forgive us Greece – we’re excited to share more of you with our lovely readers in the coming week, and to pay you back with our tourist dollars when we return in the future (which MUST happen).
That castle looks like it could be somewhere in the British countryside! Yes, Greece is lovely, but do you find it much more expensive than Turkey, or about the same? I travelled through both countries about 3 years ago and found Greece the more expensive one, but I suspect it might have changed now.
It was more expensive, yes, but not as much as I thought. Lesvos is a little less touristy then the other islands though, so that could be why. We did fairly well though: rented a cottage for 70 Euros a night (slept 4 of us), and the restaurants were fairly priced.
That fried cheese looks soooo good! And what a sunset!!!
It was heavenly. I ate a lot of cheese that weekend!
“Everything was a comparison.”
Indeed, in my book – the most unbecoming trait in a traveler.
Granted, it might be a human weakness to initially make such comparisons so as to swiftly make some cognitive sense of a new place/culture, etc. But I’ve never understood why someone would go to the trouble to explore a new land, and then… lapse into a tiresome apples-to-oranges comparison of it to… x, y, and/or z.
After 30+ years of exploring this wondrous Planet, it just seems to me that – each and every country (indeed, each and every city/locale within a given country) that I’ve visited was utterly unique.
I mean, what’s the point of comparing? Just enjoy each corner of the globe for its unique topography, sights, food, culture, etc., no?
Written with true wisdom!
You are absolutely right, and I can say that 95% of the time, that is how we operate. I don’t know why we let it get to us this time, I guess because we are so in love with Turkey, and a real part of the day-to-day here now, that we let some prejudice seep in without even really thinking about it!
I struggled with even writing/posting this, knowing it isn’t something to be proud of, but for the sake of ongoing honesty….
Indeed Dalene – I too have been guilty of it. And bravo to you for your refreshing honesty!
We spent three weeks in Greece for our honeymoon so it will always have a special place in my heart. But we’ve traveled to other places expecting not to like it based on things we’d heard and actually have a wonderful experience. Of course, the opposite is also true and places we have high expectations for can let us down.
I think that expectations are tricky when it comes to travel. I have come to the point that I don’t like to learn ANYTHING about a place before I get there – I don’t read other’s blog posts, do very little research, etc. I like to walk around the world being blissfully unaware, and then it becomes pretty hard to be disappointed, almost everything is a pleasant surprise!
So glad that you enjoyed Greece so much! I’m excited to get back there someday.
I have found I have a hard time adjusting to a new country when I have just left another one, mostly because I fell in love with the first country so much I just wasn’t ready to leave, so I can completely relate. That food looks delicious!
It can be tough to start every country with fresh eyes, especially when in love with the other! The Greek food and ouzo eventually won us over though. 🙂
The food is amazing, isn’t it?! We visited on a cruise last year and some of the islands definitely warranted a return visit. We can’t wait to return to Greece next month for a visit.
Jennifer recently posted..A Monumental Moment
It happens sometimes. I love your photos. Especially the Greek salad looks very good!
Arti recently posted..Planning, How to reach and Where to stay in Kannur
It’s amazing how your love of one place can influence how you feel about another. I’m glad you realized the great things Greece has to offer, though – I agree that the people there are lovely! I’m headed back to Greece myself later this year, and am looking forward to it.
Amanda recently posted..Photo of the Week: Vietnam Veterans Memorial
Totally unconsciously too. It’s not something to be proud of, to harbour such feelings. But Greece easily won us over. Easy to see why you are making a return trip!
You have no idea the good memories that hunk of feta cheese brings back. I ordered a feta cheese (as you know, you can just order a block of it) at every restaurant for every meal. Greece earned my love with just that.
Stephanie – The Travel Chica recently posted..Stubborn and crazy
That should be a requirement in every country. Just “cheese” on the menu.
Greece and Turkey are so different — it’s easy to see why these neighbors never got along! I love them both though.
I agree. Both countries are lovely. Greece is polished to perfection, while Turkey has a rawer beauty to it. I have a soft spot for Turkey ’cause it’s the first country I truly fall in love with, but Greece is just too gorgeous I can never not recommend it to anybody. =)
Andrew Darwitan recently posted..Greece D2 & D3: 8 Postcard-Ready Spots in Mykonos