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Moments - Travel Stories from Greece
Last year, I lived in the FYROM for 6 months. I was there teaching English in a medium sized town. One of my favourite things about being in the Balkans is that there are a lot of countries tightly packed together, and it is easy to visit other countries when you're there.
On one particular jaunt, I visited the coastal town of Thessaloniki in neighbouring Greece. Earlier in the year, I had lived in Athens for a month, and now I was eager to see the country's second biggest city.
Now.. living in FYROM, it had become second nature to me to refer to the country as 'Macedonia'. In the world in which I lived, it was the acceptable thing to do.
In Greece - particularly in the north of Greece - things are very different.
One evening, while walking back to my AirBnB, I started a conversation with a friendly bar owner who was closing up for the evening.
He asked me why I was visiting Thessaloniki, and before I had checked myself, I replied: 'I live and work in Macedonia....'.
The world around me stopped and everything went quiet.
The bar owner was okay.
However, an old man seated nearby was NOT.
He leapt to his feet in a storm of indignation and began shouting and cursing at me. I smiled and just agreed with him, but this made him even madder. I was certain that he would have ripped his shirt in two, if he had thought of it at the time. Instead, he grabbed a chair and hoisted it up into the air, threatening to hit me with it.
Thankfully, nothing became of it. I knew when it was time to walk on. Leaving a cloud of obscenities in the air behind me.
I learned my lesson that evening. The next day, I just used the term 'a bordering country'.
Folks. When in northern Greece, don't refer to FYROM as Macedonia!
To me this guy was way too sensitive, and this issue between the two countries has been blown out of all proportion. But who am I to say?
Read the full story here: https://megliovivere.com/2018/06/19/macedonia-name-change/View Less
Last year, I lived in the FYROM for 6 months. I was there teaching English in a medium sized town. One of my favourite things about being in the Balkans is that there are a lot of countries tightly packed together, and it is easy to visit other counView More
Meteora is unlike any other place I’ve been. When I told my friend I was going to Greece, she said told me I HAVE to make a stop in Meteora. I quickly Googled it and my jaw dropped. It was absolutely unfathomable. For those that don’t know, Meteora is famous for the six operating monasteries perched atop impossibly vertical peaks. One wonders how they transported all those building materials and constructed such fascinating buildings. We made a 3 day stop in Meteora and surrounding Kalabaka and Kastraki while on our way from Athens to Thessaloniki. We took a train from Athens so we were on foot once we arrived at our B&B in Kastraki. Our host was kind enough to drive us up as close as possible to the first monastery where we then hiked the rest of the way up.
Each monastery has its distinct features and charm and you really have to visit all of them to get the full picture. To go from one monastery to the next, you have to completely descend and re-ascend. We found what appeared to be a footpath and asked a tiny old nun with a sense of humor for directions. She spoke only Greek, but gestured a walking motion with two fingers, complete with sound effects that if we were to take that path, we would fall off the cliff!
We followed the road back down and took an alternate footpath up to the next monastery, getting a bit lost and backtracking along the way. We spotted many goats around the hills, with bells around their necks, clearly owned by villagers, but otherwise free to graze and wander as they pleased. We did this for all of the monasteries and whenever we were on the winding roads, cars and tour buses whizzed by, taking them from monastery to monastery, unfamiliar with the toil and sweat experienced by the monks and nuns of the day.
If you want to learn more, NTripping has the best guide I’ve seen to get you excited and prepared for your visit to the Meteora Monasteries!View Less
Meteora is unlike any other place I’ve been. When I told my friend I was going to Greece, she said told me I HAVE to make a stop in Meteora. I quickly Googled it and my jaw dropped. It was absolutely unfathomable. For those that don’t know, Meteora iView More