Greece is the Word

It's hard to remember a time when Greece, the cradle of Western civilization, hasn't fascinated me.  There very little about Greece that wouldn't interest me, from the food to the ancient architecture to the beauty of the sea.

One of the first things I remember about Greece was in one of the many Little Golden Books I had as a child.  One book in particular had clothing from different countries around the world.  Two were especially my favorites: The kimono in Japan and the fustanella Greece.  What little girl wouldn't be fascinated by a picture of a man in a pleated skirt, similar to a kilt, and fuzzy balls on his feet?  I was too young to read the words that described the items, but that didn't stop me from choosing it as a favorite.  Originally Albanian, the "uniform" was adopted as a garment for the Presidential Guard, an elite ceremonial unit that guards the Greek Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

From that funky kilt, my passion grew for more things Greek. Who hasn't heard of the Trojan horse and Helen of Troy?  The stories of Ancient Greece and places such as Mount Olympus, the home of the 12 Olympian Gods, have fascinated me since childhood.

I often wonder what it would be like to actually see the Parthenon, the temple dedicated to the Goddess Athena.  The temple is archaeoastronomically aligned to the Pleiades, a star cluster known as the Seven Sisters.  I can only imagine walking the grounds of the rest of the Acropolis of Athens, built upon a flat-topped hill.  Even today, the architecture of the 5th century can be seen in the buildings of today.

But it isn't just the ancient buildings and the mythology and history of Greek that calls to the 17.5 million yearly visitors.  Greece has the 11th longest coastline in the world, with several islands, of which Crete is just one.  Greece has land borders to the north and east (Albania, the Republic of Macedonia,   Bulgaria, and Turkey), while the Aegean Sea lies to the east of the mainland, the Ionian Sea to the west, and the Mediterranean Sea to the south.  Eighty percent of Greece consists of mountains.

There are many things in our everyday lives that are related to Greece.  Wine (Dionysus was the God of Wine), baklava, pita bread, gyros, olive oil and the recent popularity of Greek yogurt are just of few of the foods with Greek roots.  Even the herb Thyme is mentioned in Homer's Odyssey.  Writers and philosophers of Greece include Aesop, Socrates and Plato, just to name a few.

So this is my dream, although I don't expect it to come true.  But who knows?  Maybe someday I'll spend a week in the location I'd most like to visit:  Greece!


Frances Fowlkes said...

I went to Greece for a month when I was 18. I saved for a year, putting every nickel that should have gone into a college fund, into my savings account for spending abroad. I went alone, met my penpal for the 1st time ever, and toured 3 islands, Athens, and her mother's childhood home (some very small villiage in the middle of the moutains) with her. It was an insane, crazy, and amazing experience! I hope your dream comes true, Rox, and you get to visit one heck of a country!

Rox Delaney said...

Wow, Fran! I am speechless and extremely envious. I can only imagine what it was like. All I know is what I read and see in movies, but even that's enough to know that it would be fantastic.

There's still one other week-long adventure I'd like to try, but I'll save it for a blog later in the month.

You lucky girl, you!

Reese Mobley said...

Every picture I've seen of Greece has been beautiful. Crystal clear blue skies and water. I may have to tag along with you on that trip.

Joanie said...

How can you look at those marvelous pictures and write so vividly and not imagine going there? I'm picturing you going there, that's my dream for you :)

Great post!


Rox Delaney said...

fThanks, Joanie! And thanks for stopping by. I guess dreams can come true if we wish hard enough and work toward them. Miracles do happen. :)

Joan Vincent said...

A gorgeous country with a compelling history--what's not to like? I was always attracted to the Athenians and the Spartans, The Aeneid and The Odyssey. Only the past few years have I come to appreciate the food too. Here's crossing fingers you one day get there,Rox. Heck, write a story set there and write off half the expense.