Things I Didn\’t Know About Greece Before I Came Here

Back in Athens, every cabbie is an ex-sailor, and he makes sure you find out all about it.


There are a lot more blondes here than I expected. Strangely, it\’s one of those genetic oddities that only seems to affect the female of the species.

Looking down at Athens from the top of a hill (from St Giorgios) my first thought was that this is Los Angeles: specifically the San Fernando Valley. Swathes, mile upon mile, of indistinguishable suburbs, with mountains poking through. Bet it\’s got the same temperature inversion as well, creating and trapping the smog.

The Acropolis is really high. What in Western Europe would have been the location of the castle was here dedicated to the Temple. Says something, not sure what.

There is something truly stunning about a woman with the black, black hair here (those without the strange blondness above), the tanned, olive, skin and a pair of bright, bright, blue or green eyes peering out. A reminder of all those Vikings (ie Normans), Franks and the rest who ruled this place for a few hundred years (c.1200 to 1500).

7 thoughts on “Things I Didn\’t Know About Greece Before I Came Here”

  1. Slavery. That’s why you get blond and red-headed Turks too.

    Also, in the Ottoman empire, the Greeks were the merchant class so many people became ‘hellenized’ who weren’t ethnically Greek.

  2. Booze in Greece is expensive in pubs and bars because the Greeks tend to order a single drink and hang around for hours. So, while in Britain you pay the pub landlord’s rent and labour costs by consuming 8 pints over the 3 hours you spend in the pub, in Greece the landlord has to cover these costs with the revenue he makes from the one or two drinks the average customer consumes in the 3 hours he sticks around for. Off-licence booze is really, really cheap – and apart from spirits you can get it from anywhere, anytime (check out the kiosks).

    It’s true Mythos is not very nice, but hey, we are not really a beer drinking nation. I’m sure we can make do with ouzo, raki or some nice Greek wine instead!

  3. When I was at high school (gymnasium) we learned that the ancient Greeks were blond. Although we don’t have color pictures of these times, you can derive this by looking at the marble or stone statues: blond hair typically tends to “flow” differently than dark curly hair.

    @datacharmer: I *do* come from a beer country (some would say *the* beer country), Belgium, and I live in Greece now for 5 years. I like Mythos, prefer it over the export versions of Heineken or Amstel that are so popular here.

  4. Menneke – there was some (ommited) correspondence between my comments, so the second comment is kinda stripped off its context.

    I don’t like mythos very much, but then nor do I like heineken or amstel. Some Belgian beers on the other hand…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *