Thursday, July 26, 2012

Greece

Every once in a while, you get to have your preconceptions and assumptions dashed all to pieces. To be honest I am not sure exactly what I expected Greece to be like, but it wasn’t anything like the land in reality. As a matter of fact, the following applies to a lot of the Mediterranean region of Europe.

If you have ever been to West Texas, that will be helpful the next time you are reading about Alexander the Great or the Moors invading the Iberian Peninsula. Only you have to wash the landscape of any vivid color.

Once you get away from the resort areas on the coast with their fabricated and maintained garden oasis atmosphere, you are in a hilly steppe very much like the Llano Estacado edges where canyons and hills break up the horizon. Only, the bright red clay is replaced with pale white rock and the dark green juniper by olive trees that blend into the greenish-brown color of the earth around them.

The heat is about the same.

For the human impact such as architecture and cities, you just travel a bit further west from Texas. Greek (and a lot of Spanish) buildings look like New Mexican adobe ones, only they are bright white.

The attractive difference, of course, is that in Greece you can retreat to the shore, enjoy the evening cooling effects of the breeze, and swim in the calm, clear waters of the Aegean Sea. There you can search for fascinating wildlife ranging from starfish to crabs, or simply float in the surprisingly salty water with no effort at all. A word to the wise, however: Keep your mouth shut when swimming into the waves. As small as they may be, a mouthful down the gullet is NOT pleasant.

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