Hellas = Greece. This is the official name of our birthplace. The name Greece comes from the ancients who called it Graikos and then adapted by the Romans into Graecia. It is the land of the Hellenic people, of the Hellenistic period and the philosophy of Hellenism. Hellas, Helen, Helene ( Eleni in Greek) means light. That is what strikes you when you visit Greece; the light, the sun, the brilliance of the sky is unbelievable…more so against the vivid blue of the Aegean, Ionian and Mediterranean Seas. I like to think that I was named after this luminous description, but my maternal grandmother Eleni, would have begged to differ!
Both Zaf and I were born in Greece and to this day identify with the culture and traditions we were raised on. We had both visited Greece as teenagers and young adults and have taken three trips there as a couple. Our experiences differ in some ways but exactly alike in numerous other aspects.
As a young adult, I visited the relatives for a short period of time and then flew/sailed off to the amazingly beautiful islands to party, party, party! Zaf, married with kids in tow, spent more time with the relative and less on the “singles” route to memorable, swinging vacations.
We are similar though, in our feelings that in many ways, Greece is just like having another home. We are so comfortable being there – we know the language, we know the culture, we know the Greeks!
Our trips to Greece that we took together gave us the opportunity to explore Greece as an older couple. It is so vastly different to see a country when you are twenty-two years old versus when you are sixty-five! We wanted to see more than sunsets at the beach and the local clubs. So we have spent much time traveling by car from one end of Greece to the other. Finding off roads and discovering tiny taverns with delicious home-made food, chatting with the local people, climbing death defying mountains through forests and gorges, entering peaceful, awe-aspiring monasteries dating back to the eleventh century, visiting castles and fortresses are only some of our shared experiences. There is so much more to see and do though, we don’t know where to begin!
But begin we will. Our retirement plan is to pack everything up that we want to keep, put it in storage and take off. Using Thessaloniki as a base, we can continue to explore Greece. We also plan on using the airport there to travel and explore other parts of Europe and the Middle East. How long we will be there is a minimum of three months, perhaps longer. 😊
Our Greece experience, past and future, will be chronicled here for your enjoyment. You can visit Greece through our eyes, and you can add your own experiences as well. Together we can bring more of this glorious country to light!
We are on it!
Olympiad Columns Photograph from the ThePersonal Collection of Helene and Zaf
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