A Greek Tragedy

As I promised a short while back, I have put myself to great personal inconvenience in order to personally check out the economic crisis in Greece and after two weeks of intense investigation which involved, amongst other things, exposing myself to Greek tavernas, sunshine and dangerous amounts of alcoholic beverages I am able to report that the average Greek doesn’t actually seem to give a toss!

Now admittedly, I was in Kardamyli – a little tourist village not far from Stoupa in the Mani. On the face of it, it’s only a few hours from Athens so you would think that they would be highly interested in what what happening with respect to the latest EU bailout. But you would be wrong.

As one hotel owner told me when I asked him about the unrest and protests in Athens : “I can’t remember that last time there was a protest about anything here, or the last time there wasn’t a protest in Athens. This is a different country here. We’re a small village. We’re much too busy just staying afloat.” And I can see why he thinks that way…

I am a regular visitor to this country over many years. I usually come in May and September. Because we had friends out here this time, we came a bit later and risked travelling in half term week. This is something we don’t usually do because Greece is usually packed with tourists. But not this time.

I have never known Greece so quiet. Stoupa is a main resort about 4 miles down the coast. It’s a lively place with plenty going on. Usually. We went in for a meal on a Friday night. The first thing we noticed was how easy it was to park. Then we failed to find a restaurant we used to visit a few years back because it had closed. Several of the bars had just not bothered to open because there were no customers.

We thought it was because the weather was a bit iffy and it had been raining earlier so we came back the next night which was a Saturday and walked straight into a waterside table at a restaurant where normally you would queue and would not have a chance in hell of getting a table near the water.

It’s a damn shame, but the facts are that the Brits aren’t coming. Presumably this is because of the exchange rate and the rise in VAT in Greece which means this is no longer a cheap holiday destination. As a result Kardamyli is like a ghost town. There are literally hundreds of unfilled beds. The restaurants are empty and the bars are eirily quite.

Greece is fucked.

And it’s a damn shame, because this is still a very pleasant place for a holiday…

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