GREECE

" I spoke of love, of the roses health, the sunray
That alone finds the heart straightway
Of Greece that walks the sea with surety
Of Greece that takes me on voyages always
To naked snow-glorious mountains "
Odysseus Elytis

Your first sight of Greece, whether by air or land or sea, will always be of mountains; not the gentle, rounded mountains of Appalachia or the majestic grandeur of the Alps, but a harsh, rocky landscape with a wild and rugged beauty. In Greece, the land is never far from the water for she is surrounded by the Aegean Sea to the east, the Ionian Sea to the west and the Mediterranean Sea to the south with 1400 islands and a coastline of over 10,000 miles.

Gulf of Corinth
Gulf of Corinth
It is the mountainous and desolate nature of the land that allowed the Greeks to maintain their distinct culture in spite of centuries of foreign occupation because it was difficult for the invaders to subdue the fiercely independent mountain people. Their northern villages became custodians of the Greek heritage while those of the south became hideouts for rebels and freedom fighters. Although the mountains comprise about eighty percent of the land, few tourists venture beyond the islands and the more popular ancient sites. In doing so, they fail to discover the very best of Greece and her warm and generous people.

For those who take the time to know her, Greece is a land of more than forty mountain ranges with thousands of acres of deciduous and fir forests, richly decorated, especially in springtime with an abundance of flowers, provides the southernmost sanctuary in all of Europe for birdlife, home to the last of the European monk seals that have become endangered and boasts Europes longest and most spectacular gorges. Her magic islands, perfumed with wild herbs and kissed by the sun, fill you with a primeval longing that you will never quite understand. Perhaps it is the quest for knowledge that is her legacy or possibly, the Sirens' songs still linger. Whatever the reason, Greece fills your dreams with the desire to return for an experience that is always bittersweet. The sorrow comes when we say goodbye, and we begin to understand why they say that the Elgin Marbles cry...

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