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  • Writer's picturecrossroads

Greece - an alternative perspective

Updated: Sep 1, 2019

A stereotypical image of sun , blue and white . Is this Greece's representation to the world ? Perhaps ........... However her character is so much deeper and ridiculously multifaceted .

Contrasts or 'opposite sides of the same coin' are a constant in Greece .

Images can be so divergent and yet they seem to peacefully coexist :

The genius of the golden age stares down at dilapidated urban decay ;

humble offerings sit alongside opulence ; and religious homage coexists

with hedonism and furthermore , stands proud in the face of change .

Reflection on such contrasts is inevitable but like a Greek you shrug your shoulders and say is what it is .

The visual depicts this so much better than any of my words !

The Agora is the ancient commercial centre of Ancient Athens and the creme de la creme building is #TempleofHaphaestius which is stunningly preserved .

Beyond the aesthetic beauty, its engineering genius blows your mind . The brain power at a time before Christ , long long before technological gadgetry and software application , manually designed and constructed not only opulent spectaculars but exquisite detail , line and form that works and , thousands of years later, is still standing ... wow ! Go greeks !

And yet ... the descendants of those brilliant minds turn their creative genius to graffiti art and sociopolitical protest . If you ask me , even though it is a sign of the times , it's a dilapidated urban rot - the productivity of which one has to question .

My reflection is not so much about generational comparison as it is about the optical synergies that I'm confronted with daily in my visit . These two statements which stand side by side and which are formed 2000 odd years apart turn evolution on its head !

  • The question that stares me in the face - which is the more developed brain and where is 'pride' in this equation ??

Looking further into the Greek environs , it doesn't take much to see that religion and the Orthodox faith is deeply embedded in the Greek psyche . I would hate to think how many churches are spotted over the countryside ,magnificent structures or quaint holes in the wall - you name it , there's one on every corner , at every hillside .

This symbolism of unconditional faith stands the test of time . Time is rapidly altering the Greek landscape and yet the Church stands strong and proud .

Here's a snippet of how i saw this ...

The Church still has a light on for all .

The doors are routinely opened for anyone who wants to enter even if that door is at the top of a hill which takes 100s of steps to climb .

Individuals can ,unconditionally, receive physical and spiritual refreshment

The landscape at times is undergoing its own mortality and yet in the same space the Church stands firm and untouched

- a stubborn reminder of the strength of the Greek soul .

And of course the clincher is how the Church can co-eexist with hedonism . This is often reflected on the islands at the peak of summer . It never ceases to amaze me how a candle can be lit in a tiny church during the day and as it dies down in the late afternoon , a gay rhythm starts to pound its courtyard .

No one is spinning or spouting the diversity card ... it just is allowed to happen !

The orthodox bells toll twilight mass and at the same time a new age 'veganesque' flautist entrances her heathen audience who become slaves to her rhythm .

( I m sure the endless bottles of Belvedere help with the intoxication )

The orthodox cross, Crystal champagne and mineral water all work beautifully together - Harmony and acceptance .

Finally, the images that remain strongest in my mind's eye are the humble and the opulent which have adjacent seats. They too don't clash .. they just coexist .

Greece , in its postcard form , is humble , no nonsense, simple and rustic .

And then .. there's a sudden unaccepted shift ...souvlaki giving way to suchi

and the super swish .

An equally real reflection of Greece - current , international and opulent .

BTW the sushi was delicious !

Greece , to me , is a multiple personality creature .. rustic at times- ridiculously rich at others ; hedonistic and yet humble ; down and out and so very brilliant .

Take your pick .. it has so many facets which it's still trying to work out ... a little like all of us .

Perhaps that's why so many around the world are drawn to it .

I stand proud at being part of this multifacetdness .

It certainly keeps the blood stimulated .

'yia sas' for now xx

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