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Tomatoes and cheese or Get ready to get fat in Greece

НаписалТатьяна Сеник7 декабря 2011

Tomatoes and cheese or Get ready to get fat in Greece. Изображение № 1.

Text: Oksana Romaniuk

White houses with blue roofs – isn't that the image that comes to your mind whenever you think about Greece? If you don't want to bust that sweet myth – stop reading my column right now, because I am going to tell you about other aspects of this enigmatic touristic state of ancient gods. 

Besides the tips I gave you last time, when talking about Lviv and assimilating into every place you visit, now I have one more thing to advise. Never try to examine the place you are going to explore using Google images or Wikipedia, or you take the chance of being really disappointed. That's exactly what happened to my sister, who searched the Web in advance to get a feel of what to expect from our trip to Greece. All the pictures she saw in Google featured little fairy-tale blue-roofed houses surrounded by pretty flowers. At that moment, Greece resembled a faraway kingdom from one of her favourite children’s books. She was full of hazy expectations.

Here is the truth – touristic web sites lie. Whenever they say it is the best time to go somewhere and the price is low just because they have your best interests in mind – think of your mom telling you that Santa Claus is real and it’s not your dad. The weather in Greece turned out to be just the same as in Kiev. Warm enough to travel but cold enough to stay away from the sea and the swimming pool. At first it seemed like a drawback, but later we realized it was a great opportunity to enjoy our voyage to the fullest.

It is crucial to realize that holidays in Greece completely differ from Turkish or Egyptian “basking-in-the-sun-and-eating-and-doing-nothing” tours. So, if you want to understand why people pay so much money to come to Greek islands – don't stay in the hotel. Rent a car and go for it!  Especially when renting a car is such a breeze. Not only are they easy to find (you can find car rentals every 2 blocks, I guess), but also the price is nice. For example, an excursion from your hotel goes from 35 up to 80 euros per person, meanwhile a car rental costs 35 euros per day. Do the math and you are driving your own car through all the places of your own choosing.

Tomatoes and cheese or Get ready to get fat in Greece. Изображение № 2.

Crete is a big island, but to tell the truth, not every place there is worth visiting. So, my second tip is trust. Not to your travel agent, but to the locals. They are pretty nice, although not as sickly-sweet as people in poorer countries. A tourist is not a god in Greece, but a friendly tourist surely is. With great pleasure and a feeling of enormous pride, natives talk about the best places to visit on Crete. As a bonus, you sometimes even get a map from them, with notes on it so you don't get lost.

We went almost all over Crete in 4 days, stopping in some wild bays and small towns. We saw hundreds of narrow little streets, millions (I’m not even exaggerating) of cafes not only in big tourist cities, but in minuscule villages, and dozens of happy dogs and cats, whom strangers feed expensive fodder right on the streets. But we never saw those white houses from Google images, and my sister was sad about it. On our second-to-last day in one random town we met tourists from Ukraine and that was a sign from God. They told us about this island called Santorini which turned out to be THAT place where all the white houses were collected together. We had only one day left and almost no money to survive, but Google images just didn't leave us in peace. So, we raised all our savings and went for the dream!

Santorini was well worth the 100 euro fee to get there by a ferryboat. Because, when we finally got there, we realized that all the pictures we saw on cards, calendars and Google images of Greece could be made only there. My sister was finally satisfied. But you never know exactly how much you will pay for your pleasure. By the time we had to leave the island, we finally understood. Our ferry (which was the last one for that date) was delayed because of the storm, and for the first time in my life I felt like Robinson Crusoe lost on the island with no chance to influence the situation. The story had a happy ending, but that weird feeling of loss will stay with me for a long time. The moral of the fable: think, think, think before going to an island on your last day of vacations.

Greek food deserves a separate story. To make it short, it’s incredibly tasty, fattening and the dishes are just GIANT! A serving of Greek soup equals 3-4 times the amount you would get in Ukraine, so be careful – it’s crazy how easy it is to unnoticeably get fat there. Tomatoes and feta cheese are everywhere. And that’s the biggest trap. Looking healthy and fresh, that foodstuff will mislead you to put on weight in a few days. Nevertheless, I have no regrets. Two kilos is a small price to pay for 7 days of “tomato and cheese” paradise.

It turned out that Greece is something very different from what we see in pictures or read in forums. It’s deeper and more mysterious. More Ukrainian, I would say. The streets and everything around just screams: “Hey. We are not that European. We like to drink, party, paint all the walls with graffiti and stay awake all night long.” EU membership for Greek people is more about financing than a way of life. That is the reason why Greece is such a lovely place – European and at the same time far from being strict like Germany or France.

So, if you go for licked clean streets and incredibly intentional sea sides – don’t go to Greece. But if you are looking for rustic beauty, some extra kilos and all-night fun – Greece welcomes you with pleasure!


to bust

сломать, разрушить


загадочный, таинственный

to examine

исследовать; изучать           

to resemble

походить, иметь сходство


неясный, смутный


недостаток, отрицательная сторона

do the math!



приторный, слащавый


очень маленький




случайный, произвольный





to mislead

вводить в заблуждение


вылизанный (чистый)


English4U #6 2011

в электронном виде

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