From the beginning it seems like an absurd title, because saying you don’t like one of the supposed best of Europe’s vacation destinations will for sure earn me the right to some indignation from readers, I will be told that I didn’t enjoy it because I’m a cheapskate, that I should have gone to the islands and other non orthodox things, the islands are just an extra, and probably from what we all see on tourist videos and advertisements they are in a totally different country where half a dozen Greek people actually live, however, I don’t know, I haven’t been there. But I did a nice percentage of Greece’s mainland as you can see on my ROUTE.
Let’s start with the complaining, like in Portugal they are a EU country as such they should have imposed certain standards and rules, sometimes small things make a huge difference. In witch civilized country you don’t need a helmet to ride a motorcycle?
It’s not a pleasant view to see a shirtless character in beach shorts and flip flops, talking on the cellphone while driving a motorcycle with a small children on it. Sounds ridiculous but apparently it’s a normal thing in Greece.
About roads, in a huge country there is only one major highway and a couple more small pieces, however calling it a highway may be a little overreacting, I will rephrase it, there is one national road that sometimes (a lot of them without a previous warning) widens up to two lanes on each way and where in a kind of randomly manner a toll booth appears so we have to pay (above 2.2 meters high, they consider it class 3, I payed between 2 and 8 euros at some places) also kind of random values.
Alternative roads, after being caught in the “highway” scheme a few times I started to explore the maps a bit deeper for alternative roads, I was even on dirt roads to escape that highway, all other roads are usually bad quality, by the mountains, with no berms due to the lack of cleaning and always with a lot of trash on berms, in the case of high mountain roads a constant slalom to avoid the rocks from landslides that are on the road. A cute detail, besides the usual animals you can find crossing the road around Europe (dogs, cats, cows, rabbits, foxes…), it’s not unusual to find turtles crossing the road (yes, turtles in the middle of nowhere…).
Cities, I don’t know where to start, but maybe by the capital. Athens is one of the ugliest places i’ve ever been, I wont talk too much about the anarchist graffiti that decorate every wall, window, road sign, dumpster, van, monument, literally everything and I’m not talking about art just random words or tags. Garbage, not only on the sides of the roads, it’s everywhere, separation is still a rare sight around there. Even on the touristic center everything is in pretty bad condition, gardens and even monuments with lack of preservation.
Homeless people and general signs of poverty, Athens has been so far the place where I have seen more people in this conditions, I cold be a bit more empathetic but clearly everyone is to blame for this, the way this crisis has been handled from day one, the corruption side by side with the anarchism that rules this country, bad decisions continue and the country suffers for that, it’s the faith of those poor people.
Gypsies, I know I didn’t get to Romania yet but it looked like I already did, a lot of them and with complete disrespect for the rules of life in society, they also have a clear sense of total impunity about that. I had a situation in Athens around 3km from the center on a Lidl supermarket parking lot completely taken over by them, there were no other cars there they where literally living there like it was a campsite, resuming a lot of trash, a lot of noise and loud music and a supermarket security guard with a lot of work in hands, I won’t say more or else I will not only be accused of not liking Greece people will also say I’m a racist.
This is not just Athens, it’s just the worse example, most cities specially in the south are not much better. Have you ever heard of “Sparta”?
Let’s hope this name doesn’t take you there by mistake, and still no sign of all the EU money.
OK, now I have it all out of my system, I already did all the complaining about the things that disappointed me, it wasn’t all bad, maybe because I started of with Athens and got so sad I ended up enjoying a bit more on my last week there where I visited some nice places on the north like Ioannina, a small city by the lake in the middle of the mountains with a nice life and a cool fortress to visit, after that I went to Meteora in Kalambaka, I’m a complete nutcase for natural wonders and that Game of Thrones scenery with huge rocks completely different from the surrounding landscape like they came out of a Scy-fi movie, to improve that great setting someone decided to build some monasteries on top of the rocks it’s an amazing place and mystical as they say there.
I also stopped by Thessaloniki the country’s second biggest city, it’s not the perfect place , but if you compare it to Athens it could very well be the capital, it’s much more pleasant, all through it’s not as rich in huge monuments it has other qualities like the amazing seaside boardwalk that seems never ending. From there I went by the coast on my way to the Turkish border (Ipsala) only stopping at Alexandropolis, this coastal area from Thessaloniki looks much better from all the rest, the roads and even overall looks are much more pleasant.
Resuming, if you are travelling by car or van don’t waste your time and kms going down to Athens, just find a ferry or a plane and run of to the islands (I guess).
Stay with my traditional video and photos, I tried not to focus on the bad parts, hope you enjoy it.