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Experience endless miles of aquamarine coastline, sun-bleached ancient ruins, strong feta and stronger ouzo. The Greek landscape thrills, and Greek people are passionate about politics, coffee, art and gossiping.

Epic History
Apart from the historical writings of ancient Israel, the two major pieces of epic literature in Western civilization are the 'Iliad' and the 'Odyssey', two books ascribed to the ancient Greek poet Homer. These two works represent a brilliant retelling of myths and legends. For the Greeks of the 7th century BC, however, these books were their history. Their past had been obliterated by the destruction of Mycenaean Civilization. The tales that came down to the Greeks from Homer and other storytellers were regarded by them as authentic narratives of a past they could not otherwise recover. The individual who has traditionally been credited with putting the ancient Greek legends into writing is Homer. About him nothing certain is known. The later historian Herodotus (5th century BC) said that Homer was a Greek from Ionia on the west coast of Asia Minor. He was perhaps a native of the island of Chios and supposedly lived around 850 BC. Other historians place him closer to 750 BC. Tradition depicts Homer as a blind minstrel wandering from place to place reciting poems that had come down to him from a very old oral tradition. Many scholars believe that the books as they exist today were not written by a single person and were not put in writing until centuries after they took their present form. It is probable that much of the epic tradition of the two books was formed in the 200 or 300 years before an alphabet reached Greece in the 9th or 8th century BC. If so, it is possible that Homer used earlier writings to help him, or he could have dictated his poems to someone else because of his blindness or because he was illiterate.

Greeks pride themselves on their cuisine and as some of the most hospitable people on the globe, they will go out of their way to ensure you are well fed. The tang of home-made tzatziki and the aroma of grilled souvlaki are just the beginning. The Greek menu is filled with scrumptious cuisine that offers an adventure at every mealtime. Basic ingredients like feta and olive oil are at home in kitchens across the country, but it’s the regional dishes and styles of cooking that make travelling around the country such a culinary joy. Turkish and Italian legacies are woven throughout many dishes and you’ll discover islands or towns known for distinct ingredients. Cheeses, herbs and mountain greens you might never have heard of compliment local seafood, meat and veggie dishes. The secret of Greek cooking is often found in the back garden where many of the ingredients are freshly gathered and produced. These days, a renaissance in traditional cooking means that chefs are increasingly taking time-honoured recipes to new gourmet heights.

Cultural Depth
The rapid development of civilization in Greece had two obvious roots. First was the continued existence of small cities, as well as the memories of the earlier achievements of Crete and Mycenae, even during the Indo-European invasions. This heritage was combined with an Indo-European culture that included a vivid polytheistic religion. Oral poems chanted to local aristocracies preserved knowledge of a pantheon of gods and goddesses and of values from which more elaborate philosophies and ethical systems could be devised. The second spur to Greek civilization was a general revival of trade in the eastern Mediterranean, abetted by the introduction of coined money. Trade
allowed many Greek city-states (including Greek-dominated cities in Greece and Mediterranean Asia, particularly in what is now Turkey) to increase their wealth and their range of contacts. By 800 B.C. several Greek centers had trading connections around the Black Sea and also in Egypt and southern Italy. Economic revival, in turn, spurred population growth and social change in the Greek centers, which encouraged new political structures that challenged dominance by the owners of landed estates.

Why I Love Greece
Let the Greece you’ve been imagining fill your senses, whether it’s through the pulsing nightclubs of Mykonos or the solemnity of Meteora; the grandeur of Delphi or the earthiness of Metsovo; the rugged Cretan hillsides and the lush wildflowers of spring. You’ll quickly become acquainted with the melancholic throb of rembetika (blues songs) and the ability of the ancient sights to unleash an imagination you might not have realised you had. You’ll also encounter thought-provoking modern art and a vivacious contemporary music scene, stumbling across galleries, live music and impressively modern museums in the most unexpected places. Greece balances its past, present and future in a way managed by few other countries. The result is a country with endless cultural pursuits.

Landscapes & Activities
It’s easy to understand how so many myths of gods and giants originated in this vast and varied landscape, with wide open skies and a sea speckled with islands, where days melt from one to the next, while you relish the white-sand and palm-fringed beaches. But Greece offers endless activities and is a magnet for anyone who enjoys the great outdoors. Wander along cobbled, Byzantine footpaths, hike into volcanoes, watch for dolphins and sea turtles and cycle through lush forests. Greece also offers some of the world’s top kitesurfing, diving and rock-climbing locations. Be brave. Be passionate. Be Greek.