Places of Interest nearby
Greece got in a terrible economic and financial crisis at the beginning of the 21st century. As a result, some serious cuts were made by the Greek government. Deep cuts were made to healthcare and social services between 2009 and 2012. Suicides increased 45 % between 2007 and 2011 an, over roughly the same period, cases of depression more than doubled and infant mortality rose by 43 per cent. By 2012, new HIV cases in the group of drug users were 32 times the 2009 level. Greece also had its first cases of locally spread malaria for 40 years.
Maybe the most obvious food to mention, but for me always a delight when I can have it again is Greek bread. Especially the “farmers-bread” or “choriotiko”. I think the secret is in the type of wheat they use to make the flour: durum wheat or macaroni wheat. That type of wheat only grows in the warmer parts of Europe. Durum in Latin means “hard”, and the species is the hardest of all wheats. Its high protein content, as well as its strength, make durum good for special uses, the most well-known being pasta which in Italy is exclusively made from durum wheat.
Did you know that keeping track of how many times you went swimming into the sea is an obvious thing to do in Greece. Most of the Greeks are keeping track of this number. If you will ask a Greek how many ‘banjos’ he/she had, it is very likely they will give you an exact count for this year.
Greece is the third largest producer of olive oil in the world. with 22% of the world production. Spain with over 320 million olive trees is the number one producer of olive oil at 37% of world production. The second largest producer with 24% of worldwide production is Italy.
In Greece you can find the best basil or Ocimum basilicum of the world. You will see many pots of basil at churches and near houses because the Greeks believe this plant brings good luck. Traditionally, the herb was not so much used in the Greek cuisine. But that has now changed.
Did you know that Greek has two words for blue - “ghalazio” for light blue and “blè” for a darker shade. A study found that Greek speakers could discriminate shades of blue faster and better than native English speakers.
A classic game to play in Greece is “Tavli” or backgammon. Backgammon is one of the oldest board games going back a long time. Excavations at Shahr-e Sukhteh in Persia (Iran) have shown that the game existed there around 3000 BC. ou can play this game at almost every square or pub in Greece.
Linked characteristics: Did you know...
Excellent documentary about Greece, the Euro crisis and the media
The Greek tradition of pastry is a domain worthwhile checking out yourself. Yes. You do have to get used to a high sugar level. But they have fantastic stuff. My favourite for the morning is “bougatsa”.
Linked themes: Eat and drink
The most traditional pastry for the morning in Greece would be the “tiropita” (tiro= cheece and pita is pie). The tiropita is filled with a mixture of feta cheece with egg and semolina. The pastry dough around it is most of the time puff pastry. That’s my favourite. But you can also find other varieties.