Unique Greek things I’m going to share with you today will probably make you laugh out, maybe even give you the urge to visit Greece as soon as possible. Hey, you may even recognize a few and go like, “Well, that’s one thing we have in common, maybe these unique Greek things aren’t so unique after all”. One thing is for sure - there were plenty of, for me, quite unusual Greek traits to get used to and, although most made me love Greece even more, there still are some I’ll never be able to understand. Let me give you a heads up or, at least something interesting to fill a boring afternoon with. Because you never know, you just may need it someday.
1. Southern Hospitality
When Greeks open their home for you, they really go all out proving that, although Southern hospitality isn’t one of those super unique Greek things you can’t hope to experience elsewhere, they sure have raised the bar pretty high. Wining, dining and housing aside, Greeks are always ready to help in any way possible, not giving up until they’ve exhausted all options. Furthermore, you’d have an easier time digging your way to China than convincing a Greek that they need not concern themselves with rushing to your rescue. It’s super sweet!
2. Calorie-Rich Food
If your idea of a Mediterranean meal involves a bowl of Greek salad and a variety of grilled fish and seafood you’re up for a big surprise! A lot of traditional Greek meals are quite rich in both taste and hidden calories. To make things worse – everything smells absolutely sinful, tastes absolutely delicious and there’s always someone willing to feed you. Eat away in case you’re here for a vacation because not tasting all that incredible food should be a crime, but do remember to pull the break in case you’re here to stay.
3. Free Stuff
Getting free stuff in Greece is easier than anywhere else and it has nothing with those popular misconceptions about Greeks being loose with their money or whatnot. Retail chains aside, a traditional Greek tradesperson is always ready to meet you halfway, honor you for being a loyal customer or simply throw in something extra because they like you, because they have children your age you remind them of and especially if you seem like you had a rough day.
4. Unconventional NewsCasting
If you’re used to polite, by the book news reporters, you may want to consider skipping the morning news. Greek news reports are so energetic, rarely by the book, filled with people speaking out of turn and, quite frankly, that’s not something I’m ready to deal with so early in the day.
5. Loud and Crazy Traffic
Traffic in Greece is not only crazy but loud too! Don’t get too shocked in case you see two static vehicles blocking what should be a normal traffic flow, both drivers trying desperately to point one another’s mistakes using rather colorful language. Oh, and do be swift when crossing the street! Green light on busy intersections often won’t last long enough to allow a pedestrian to safely crossing at a brisk pace and anyone moving about more casually might find himself in a really sticky situation.
6. Unusual Ways of Flirting
Words like “pleasant” or “good for a girl’s ego” are so not the ones I’d use to describe one weird way of flirting Greeks call “kamaki”. So, you’re walking around, minding your own business or waiting for a bus still minding your own business and then there’s this crazy idea males have about it being their business to honk their car or bike horns at you to let you know how much they approve of your appearance. And some will even slow down for long enough to put it in words, just in case you didn’t get the hint. I mean, really?! I honestly thought that’s something to see in movies and movies only.
7. Plastic Tablecloths
Seen your fair share of Greece? Then you certainly must have noticed those disposable, paper-plastic tablecloth-like coverings that grace the tables of most traditional taverns. It used to be such a shock for me in the beginning because, hey, it really looks like a modern day solution for medieval-like table manners and is not something I got to see used so widely before. I’m pretty much totally cool with it by now because it really does have a lot of perks. It may not look fancy but it’s definitely more sanitary and it makes clearing the tables between customers much easier and faster. And that means you don’t have to wait too long to dig into your yummy food!
What do you have to say about your traveling experiences so far and is there a particular culture you’ve found similar enough to fit in yet in the same time different enough to make the process of fitting in go less smoother than you’ve hoped for?