Greece is an ideal European vacation destination for Americans. Here are some of my reasons:
- English is spoken everywhere. Not always perfectly, of course, but if servers or salespeople don’t speak English, they soon return with someone who does. Menus are in both Greek and English.
- Prices are reasonable. Their economy is depressed, which is an advantage for visitors.
- All tourists are welcome, because they need our money. They like Americans, which is a relief after visiting countries that do not.
- History pops up everywhere. In the middle of Athens, many ruins are preserved right downtown.
When the Acropolis Museum was built, more ruins were discovered, and they are there to see, covered with Plexiglas. Aristotle and his followers seem to be nearby.
- Bible history is everywhere as well. I kept thinking of Paul’s speech beginning, “Ye men of Athens!” (That’s KJV. NIV is “People of Athens!”) Steve especially loved being at the Areopagus where Paul spoke as told in Acts 17.
- This isn’t a Disney kind of trip. You are clearly in a foreign country, with most of the signs in Greek. That prompted me to try to recall some of the letters from names of fraternities and sororities.
- Easy public transportation system. We didn’t use it, but you can buy an All-City Pass that can be used on buses, trams, or the Metro (subway). Taxi rates are low.
- Corinth is an hour and half drive. We loved touring Old Corinth, and standing where Paul stood when he was before Gallio, as told in Acts 18. The first verse in that chapter: “After this, Paul left Athens and went to Corinth.” So did we!
- You can drink the tap water! We learned that servers would bring bottles of water if we asked for water, and we were charged for it. But if we asked for a carafe of water, it was free tap water!
- The restrooms are usually well kept and they are free. In some restaurants, they will give you a code to get in. One in our party didn’t know she needed a code and set off quite a loud alarm!
- Tipping is not expected, so it is received gratefully when given. Kelsey learned from one of our frequent servers that she works seven days a week, all day, and gets €30 (Euros) a day. That’s $33.50! We were glad to be able to tip her even more generously after we heard that.
- Greek salads are fabulous! Delicious fresh tomatoes cut up with cucumbers, onions, and olives or capers, topped with feta cheese and drizzled with olive oil. We had one nearly every meal.
- Delicious pastries and iced coffees! It seemed that we saw a couple of bakeries on every block, and we learned to love their Freddo Frappes (iced coffee with cream and sugar.) Half the Greeks walking to and from work were carrying their iced coffees.
- Gorgeous scenery! From the Parthenon to Corinth to the Greek islands, everywhere you look God’s creation is amazing. I had no idea so many mountains would be everywhere we looked. Mountains, ocean, beaches. They have it all.
In all fairness, I must give some of the drawbacks of vacationing in Greece.
- No places that sold delicious pastries had jelly. This drove Steve crazy, for he is a guy who likes his jams and jellies.
- Bumpy, dirty sidewalks are the norm. This was especially challenging when pushing a stroller. They hose them down at night, but that doesn’t help much.
- Their sewage system does not allow for paper, so every restroom has signs not to put paper in the toilet. Every home has that rule as well.
- Graffiti everywhere! I noticed it’s all pretty much at street level—no midnight climbing for the graffiti artists, I guess.
See what I mean about the advantages? The disadvantages are minimal. And you can worship with the Omonia Church of Christ and be welcomed and blessed.
Even better, you can go over and live there for a month or two and help with their amazing ministry to the refugees who are mainly from Syria, Iraq, Kuwait, and Afghanistan. It’s remarkable and certainly God-led. Greece, where the gospel was preached in the first century, is still a location where Christians share their faith through action. You can read more about it at The Agape Project and see great pictures there. It is organized by Eleni and Alex Melirrytou. The church owns the first floor of the building but has the opportunity to purchase the second floor, which they have been renting. They need €120,000. Most has been raised, but they need another €25,000 within the next two weeks. If you wish to donate to this marvelous ministry, you can contact Eleni through the Agape website or mail a contribution to AGAPE CHRISTIAN MINISTRIES, 604 Rice Hill Road, Nolensville, TN 37135. Your money will be well spent in the name of Jesus Christ!
The foreigner residing among you must be treated as your native-born. Love them as yourself, for you were foreigners in Egypt. I am the Lord your God. Leviticus 19:34
What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them?