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Ancient soap operas

Put twelve Gods on top of a mountain in Greece and see what happens. What nowadays sounds like a boring scenario for yet another real-life soap was an everyday reality for many Greeks in ancient times. Before Christianity was imposed and all the ancient temples were burnt, a small cast of twelve managed to keep a whole civilisation busy. Welcome to Greek mythology, where every single story seems to have 1001 different versions.

Posted by Bruno

Eek, an earthquake!

Earthquakes are more common in Greece than they are anywhere else in the European Union.
During recent months, there have been several small earthquakes all over Greece, but most of those tend to cause only slight inconvenience. They last for a few seconds and disappear. Bigger earthquakes, like the 1999 one in Athens, can destruct buildings and kill hundreds of people in a matter of minutes. Never having experienced an earthquake in my life, I am asking some Greeks in the street of Athens what earthquakes are like and how scary they are.

Posted by Bruno

Greeks on holiday

When I started `Us Europeans`, I decided that I would try to leave my Dutch mindset behind and write stories as if I could be from anywhere. Many people I meet do not recognise me as Dutch at a first glance, but oftentimes, speaking about this project, they suspect that I can`t be from anywhere but The Netherlands. Travelling alone, for an extended period of time and with a specific purpose in mind ? all of that sounds very unfamiliar to people living in countries that value the group over the individual, think short-term rather than long term and prefer to party or do nothing whenever they finally manage escape their daily lives. The Greek traveling philosophy is similar to that of the other Mediterranean countries, and this is how it works:

Posted by Bruno

2004 was a magic year for sports in Greece. The Greek national football team won the European Championships and the Olympic Games returned to their birth place Athens. While few Athenians were bothered to stay in town to see the Olympics, the unexpected football victory sparked a seemingly endless chain of celebrations across the country.

Posted by Bruno

Greece is known to be a very conservative country when it comes to religion and traditions. Although young people are turning away from the Orthodox Church, especially in Athens and on some of the islands, the influence of religion resonates in their everyday behaviour and in the way they take the important choices of life.

Posted by Bruno

FastFood.GR

Starbucks and Pizza Hut: I didn`t see any of those in Italy but they do exist in Greece. Greeks are less conservative about coffee and the same applies to the pizza. Or even about food in general. Whereas Italians take time to eat, the Greeks are usually in a hurry. They love fast food, but they will not surrender to McDonalds` and alikes.

Posted by Bruno

Letters and numbers

Reading and writing are among the first skills Greek children learn in primary school. However, they won`t learn to write A`s, B`s and C`s, but Alpha`s, Beta`s and Gamma`s. Only by the time they start learning English they will get familiar with the Latin characters. Before then, it`s the Greek alphabet they learn. What else do young Greeks learn in the country where schools are not named but numbered?

Posted by Bruno

Greek chaos

Sixteen countries off the list, eleven more to go. The order of countries prescribed that I visit Cyprus before Greece, which I think may be the reverse order. Anyway, Cyprus allowed me to get used to the Greek alphabet, to the Greek flag and the bilingual capacities that most Greeks and Cypriots share. Day one in Greece therefore starts off a lot easier than what I got used to in Italy. The following article is an overview of some things worth knowing about Greece before going into details.

Posted by Bruno

Working, eating, sleeping and working. Such is the lifestyle imposed on European young adults. Opting out is unacceptable, both financially and socially. People first need money to save time – then they need money to keep themselves amused during the time they have just saved. Numerous are those who have forgotten a time when they did not need any money at all: relying entirely on social relations and playing away any dull moment they encountered. I hope to find some of that back by asking people in the South of Italy: what is your best childhood memory?

Posted by Bruno

Immigration

Being self-employed without income is not always easy, but it does give a lot of freedom. Every morning when I wake up, I can choose the subject I want to talk and write about. That usually is an advantage but not today. I had saved the subject of immigration for Brindisi, inspired by old TV images of Albanians reaching the Italian East coast. And what strikes my surprise when I get to Brindisi? Everybody is Italian. Still, I managed to get a story about immigration together.

Posted by Bruno