Saturday, 28 May 2016

Guest Post - My Love Affair with Greece by Julie Ryan - Greek Week

I’d just finished University back in the eighties when I first went to Greece to take up a post in a language school. Not having much money, the journey took about three days by train. I’d bought a guidebook and fallen in love with the sugar cube houses and the turquoise sea in the photos. Arriving at Thessaloniki in the middle of the night, my first glimpse of Greece was of a huge motorway as the taxi took us to a hotel – Thessaloniki I was to discover is a perfectly lovely town but my first impressions were about as far removed from the guidebook images as you can imagine – especially when just a couple of hours later we were woken up by car horns blaring outside the hotel room. Thinking that a major accident had occurred, we pulled back the curtains to see it was just the normal rush hour traffic. Like all good love affairs, it wasn’t instant attraction but a far deeper love borne out over many years until I came to feel that Greece is a part of me. I call it my spiritual home.

I don’t know why but when I am in Greece I feel more alive – everything is more vibrant under a Greek sun. The colours that would look washed out in England are perfect and the national colours of blue and white (the sea and the houses) are everywhere on the islands. I was based in Northern Greece giving me the opportunity to visit a lesser- known island, Samothraki. Back then there were very few tourists as it is off the beaten track and without an airport. I often wonder what it would be like now but sometimes it’s better not to revisit a place you once loved n case it has changed beyond all recognition. Instead I have made it my lifelong task to visit as many different islands as possible. I don’t think I will ever tire of visiting new places. Each island has something different to offer and I know that I can be sure of a warm welcome wherever I end up. Greeks are extremely hospitable by and large and some of my favourite evenings have been spent with locals and a few drinks, well a lot of drinks, as we put the world to rights despite only having a smattering of each others’ language. Whatever you do though, order some food with the drinks. We just ordered beers and were thought very ‘odd’ – in a lovely touch the waiter insisted on bringing never ending peanuts and little mezes, which we hadn’t ordered. This kindness is typical everywhere in Greece.

It was partly nostalgia and partly wondering what ‘might have been’ that I started writing about Greece. One thing is for sure very few people only ever visit Greece once. She has a way of getting under your skin and calling you back. To be honest I can’t think of a more beautiful place to be – the food, the climate and scenery all combine to create a magical atmosphere until before long you too will  be having your very own love affair with Greece.

Thanks to much Julie for sharing your love affair with Greece with us all.  I have barely visited the larger islands but the small ones intrigue me too.

About Julie Ryan

Julie Ryan’s roots are in a small mining village in South Yorkshire. After a degree in French Language and Literature, wanderlust kicked in and she lived and worked in France, Poland, Thailand and Greece. Her spirit enriched, her imagination fired, Julie started a series of mystery romances, thrillers set in the Greek Isles. 

Jenna's Journey is the first novel in Julie Ryan’s Greek Islands Series, a series she did not set out to create but which took on its own life and grew, rich and fascinating. This is the first of three published so far, and now as a newly released edition in the USA from Booktrope, it promises to delight readers looking for the hidden dark sides of dream vacations in the Greek Isles. Pandora's Prophecy and Sophia's Secret make up the rest of the trilogy.

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