Wednesday, August 29, 2012

ΕΥΧΑΡΙΣΤΟΥΜΕ ΑΘΗΝΑ! Efharistoume ATHINA! Thank You, ATHENS!


'Dear Friend,

I need to scream and shout and be proud for all the achievements of the Olympic Games and the tremendous joy and absolute bliss that we have experienced these past few weeks.

I need to say thank you to someone for what has been achieved.

I could send a congratulatory message to Mrs Angelopoulou but I think that she has praised herself enough. To Mr Simitis and the new government, the Mayor of Athens etc but this would be like shouting in the wilderness. They only listen to their own rhetoric and have praise only for what they consider to be their own single handed achievements, even though they will make it appear to be praising the volunteers and others.

In a little while they will credit themselves with the whole project and that is what will remain in the minds of the man in the street at the next election, local or national.

So finally I thought that I could say thank you to someone who was directly involved and who put so much effort and hard work to make this whole thing work.

So here I am, not having heard from me for such a long time I will make your day, I hope!
Thank you for all your hard work and commitment besides all the negative talk and criticism that you have had to bear, brush off and fight all these years. Thank you for making this city and its wonderful people find themselves and their spirit once again.

After 30 years back in Greece thank you for making me proud to be a Greek.

Polla Filia
Spiros'

As the curtain goes up on the London 2012 Paralympic Games today, I can't help remembering that it is exactly eight years since 29 August 2004, when Athens' magical Olympics came to a close...

The day after the Closing Ceremony the world's press did a huge about-face, the apologies, and the praise, came rolling in, from every side...literally and figuratively! After the brickbats, the praise was so much sweeter!

Involved as I was with the organisation of the Games, I thought this would be a great moment to share with you all one of the many special letters I received  from people who wrote to express their admiration and thanks....


It came from a fellow Global Greek, someone who knew that I had chosen to work for these Olympics, not for the money, which was actually less than I could have got in my field, but because I believed in Greece and wanted to give something back to the land of my birth... a decision I will never regret!

After all, There's NO Place like Home!

Spiros' letter touched me tremendously ... it is one that I cherish to this day. Thank you, dear friend...



On 29 August 2004, in a bursting-at-the-seams Olympic Stadium, sixteen days of sport, friendship and celebration would culminate in a wonderful, fun-filled, essentially Greek party.


A party which would feature most of Greece's top ranked performers, a party  full of music and culture, a party for everyone - the athletes, the people of Greece and the world.



Under a brilliant full August Moon, we would hear that Greece had won the bet - 'KERDISATE', that Greece's Olympics were 'Unforgettable, Dream Olympics' and we rejoiced, because we knew that after all the brickbats and the criticism that we had endured in the previous years, Athens had pulled it off!

Greece was vindicated - Big Time!

Our Olympics proved to the world ' the great things Greeks can do' as ATHOC President Gianna Angelopoulos said that night!


The homecoming of the Olympic Games to the land of their Birth had given OUR Olympics that extra special dimension of meaning and authenticity... something no one else would ever be able to do!

For all those in Athens' Olympic Stadium that night, along with the millions around the world, it was a once-in-a-lifetime experience...

Sit back and watch part of it in the video below... it was the biggest Greek party in history! OPA!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

August Means ....Summer in Greece! Join Us!

This post is dedicated to all our friends around the world who love Greece and to those who are celebrating their nameday tomorrow 15th August, the Assumption (Dormition) of the Virgin Mary, a very significant day in the Church Year called simply Της Παναγίας.

Summer in Greece is....


Ouzaki and Mezedaki by the beach
'Poikilia mikri' 
  


Ouzaki and Mezedaki by the beach
 'Poikilia megali' 



Fabulous beaches as far as the eye can see...


Warm sun, cool sea and sparkling sand....


Beach Bars.... 
Κυανή Ακτή - Kalyves Beach


 Moonlit Dinners by the sea... 
Almyrida


Seagulls galore...


Swallows ...on a wire


Panigyria tis Panagias...
15 August celebrations in honour of the Virgin Mary


Outdoor Concerts ... Lyra by moonlight
Vassilis Skoulas


The Icon of the Virgin Mary - Tis Panagias 
15 August in Pemonia, Apokorona


Magical Sunsets... 
 from  Kantina Bananas at Kalyves Beach


Magnificent Sunsets

t
Taverna...on the rocks
At Plaka - facing Spinalonga


Our very own Jonathon-aki Livingston-aki Seagull on the beach...
I baptised him this trip, his name is now officially SIFI


Lying in the sun watching cruise ships go by...


Crystal turquoise blue waters... Spinalonga


Food, glorious food.... 


Under the August moon...the most beautiful full moon of the year



Dessert - Summer fruit.... watermelon, grapes, figs


Grapes fresh from the village vine..



 
Fresh Figs....straight from the tree....



Summer in Greece is...all this 
and so much more...


Join us!!! 
Experience it for yourself!

My daughter's mark in the sand at Kalyves Beach 
in front of Kantina Bananas

Special thanks to Manoli, Chryssa and George of Kyani Akti 
and Stelios, Mario and Dimitri of Kantina Bananas at Kalyves Beach near Chania in Crete for their hospitality!
We just love visiting, we know you will too!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

From Crete to Corfu…Join the World’s Celebrities Spending Time in Greece!!

Greece was THE place to be this summer! From millionaires in Crete, Hollywood stars in Corfu, Santorini,and Zakynthos, a Global Greek wedding in Patmos and a Bollywood wedding extravaganza in Mykonos, Greece saw it all! 
The 2012 tourist season didn't start off like that though...

Germany’s media along with the rest of the mainstream European media fought hard at the start of the tourist season to see who could tell the worst horror stories about Greece, making tourists panic about the possibilities and the consequences of a GRexit! Although the reports sent bookings plummeting and cancellations soaring, ruining June and July to a certain extent, these doom and gloom predictions were literally ‘doomed’ to fail. 


Join Us in Greece 
One of the highly successful Billboard ads designed  pro bono by Charis Tsevis
launched in March 2012 in New York's Times Square
   
Official and unofficial campaigns by groups and individuals in Greece and abroad, aimed at bringing tourists back to Greece this year, were everywhere in the social media,  attempting to counter the negative images being beamed by the media around the world. 
The campaign above, launched by the UP Greek Tourism team and crowd funded by people like you and me, was particularly successful we are glad to say, and after its stint in New York, moved on to Washington!

One of the biggest selling points that we could all promote with surety, is that Greece has remained one of the safest destinations in the world.

The Greece based advertising campaigns  of major fashion brands with a Greek influence such as Hermes and Folli-Follie have been a welcome boost also!


 Hermes on Aegina 

Folli-Follie's Crazy for Greece Campaign

Greece may be going through an unprecedented economic crisis but thankfully this has not affected the beaches, the sea or the sun, and this attracts people from all over the world.

The list of international and Global Greek celebrities, who ignored the doomsday predictions and added Greece to their holiday destinations, along with hundreds of thousands of others, continues to grow each day! 


Nicholas Negroponte and Deborah Porter's
Greek wedding on Patmos
Photo Source: Patmos Times

Global Greek Nicholas Negreponte, (founder of the Media Lab at Boston’s prestigious MIT and the One Laptop Per Child Foundation) and Deborah Porter decided to have a Greek style wedding on a beautiful island in the Aegean, Patmos, the Island of the Apocalypse… the many international and local guests included Nicholas' brother, Ambassador John Negroponte.


Patmos is the same island that Julia Roberts decided would house her dreams for a Greek Island getaway home…

The list of celebrities visiting Greece this year is growing fast. 
 After playing Epidaurus in 2009,  Ethan Hawke  was at the Costa Navarino resort in the Peloponnese, Tim Burton and Helena Bonham Carter were in Corfu, as was supermodel Kate Moss who has returned with her family to spend a few days cruising the Ionian Sea, after choosing Greece for her honeymoon last year.

Lady Gaga hit the headlines from the island of Crete where she has apparently met her very own hot Greek and is making plans for a multi-million dollar home on one of Greece’s most beautiful islands.



Last summer’s successful concert at Athens’ Olympic Stadium, brought singer Jon Bon Jovi and family back to Greece on holiday. They have been spotted around Corfu and Kefalonia.

Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson, regulars on Antiparos, where they have a house, are here for the summer and will probably be spotted at least once at the Ancient Theatre of Epidaurus. 

Rumours a couple of years ago, even had US President Barack Obama planning a visit to the Hanks’ Antiparos retreat! 


Who else was or is here? Let’s start with our Global Greeks, well at least the ones we have heard of recently! Pappas Post publisher Gregory Pappas, a regular Mykonos visitor was in Athens earlier in the summer and came again in September, Greek Canadian Greek food experts Peter Minaki aka Kalofagas and Sam Sotiropoulos aka Greek Food are visiting right now, as is Greek American actress Anthoula Katsimatides who is in Nisyros and CBS Journalist Toula Vlahos who is in Paros. Greek-American presenter/showwoman Maria Menounos and her family also popped over to Greece, not for the Marathon this time, but for a wedding

Talking about weddings, Jennifer Aniston was supposed to be marrying the love of her life on Crete, but that's remained a rumour so far! 

Jennifer's ex, on the other hand, Brad Pitt, with Angelina Jolie,  also known as  Brangelina, and family, were in Pylos in July, took off to London for the Olympics and are reportedly back on their favourite Greek Island (and ours), Santorini. Angelina fell in love with the island while filming Lara Croft there a few years ago, and decided to buy a house on it. Stephen Baldwin fell in love with Greece while filming a documentary here and announced that the entire land of Greece should really be the Holy Lands...


 
The one and only Robert de Niro after whispering S’agapo (I love you) to Greek American Melina Kanakarides in a movie a few years ago, decided to see for himself and visit Greece this year, along with John Travolta as guests of the Latsis family.  



De Niro fell in love with Santorini too – can’t blame him - and is reportedly looking for a house there.

 

Interviewed against a magnificent blue Aegean backdrop by fellow celebrity and Global Greek from France, showman Nikos Aliagas,  De Niro and Travolta told us how safe it is and how much they loved Greece...

John Travolta, star of Grease and Saturday Night Fever, brought along wife Kelly Preston for a romantic interlude on Mykonos, the favourite Cycladic Island of many fashion ‘royals’ including Cavalli, Valentino, Jean Paul Gaultierand DSquared. The two D's that make up DSquared Dean and Dan even gave a lavish toga party on Mykonos this year. Apart from fashion royals and Hollywood royals who are regulars (Demi Moore decided to take time out to visit this year) Mykonos never has a shortage of bona-fide visiting royalty. Princess Caroline of Monaco’s children, the Casiraghis visited the island recently with their friends, Stavros and Eugenie Niarchos.

Regular royalty visiting, of course, includes ex-King Constantine of Greece and his family, who are reportedly building a new home on Spetses and England’s Prince Charles. This year, Jordan’s Queen Rania is also in town for a visit.   Abu Dhabi’s Prime Minister Sheikh also popped into Fiscardo for a quick first visit to Kefalonia.  

Billionaire business moguls Latsis and Angelopoulos often mix business with pleasure, hosting foreign dignitaries and business contacts on their mega-yachts as they cruise the deep blue sparkling waters of the Aegean and the Ionian, but the guests generally remain incognito out of respect for their privacy. Former US President George Bush senior and his entourage were amongst those who didn’t stay anonymous. 

Apart from our semi-permanent Troika visitors and the usual EU politicians and FINMINS, in July, welcomed ex-President Bill Clinton who headed the Hellenic Initiative delegation of mainly Global Greek businessmen like Dow Chemicals CEO and President, Andew N Liveris and financier John Calamos who are interested in helping get the country on its feet as well as in investing in Greece, and expressed his utmost confidence in the country, as did President Shimon Peres of israel who is here on a 3 day State visit, as we write. He assured us we have a great future ahead of us! 

Not bad at all for a little country in crisis!

Soooooo....

What are YOU waiting for? 
Join all those who love Greece and show it! 
It is still the beginning of August - there's plenty of time!
It isn’t too late to book YOUR holiday to paradise to enjoy the endless sun and deep blue sea! Get on the phone, on the internet, whatever, and book your holiday, right now!

Greece’s timeless beauty awaits you… with open arms! 

Join US!!!
 
Update:

We even had a 'Bollywood' wedding on Mykonos... something entirely different for the island. We loved it when we heard that Dubai-based Indian businessman Sagar Shewakraman and journalist Faarah Mehta decided to hold their wedding in Mykonos, in September and flew in all their guests for the occasion. Blue and white turbaned gentlemen and sari-clad ladies danced the night away, enjoying the unique hospitality Mykonos is famous for... Rumour has it that it cost around 2 million... part of that going into the Greek economy...sooner or later!  

Sagar and Faarah! Na Zisete! May you have a long and happy life together!


Watch part of the celebrations courtesy of Mykonos Live TV...

This post was updated... in 'summery' October, with the temperatures still hovering at 35C! Come on over, you can still catch up with the sun and have a great holiday!


Sunday, August 5, 2012

And the Bronze Medal Goes to... Greece!!! Bravo Alexandra Tsiavou and Christina Giazitzidou!!! GINETAI!

 Alexandra Tsiavou and Christina Giazitzidou
Bronze Medallists - Women's Lightweight Double Sculls 
London 2012
  GINETAI!!!

Despite the economic doom and gloom fantastic news from London 2012 this afternoon!
A well-deserved bronze medal for Team Greece at the Olympics in the Women's Lightweight Double Sculls for World Champions Alexandra Tsiavou and Christina Giazitzidou,  giving us all another shot in the arm after the bronze from Ilias Iliadis  in the first week!

It was an amazing race... we watched with bated breath as Christina and Alexandra fought to the end for a medal. 


For a while there they were coming 2nd....


but an extra push from Team China at literally the last second put
Alexandra Tsiavou and Christina Giazitzidou an oar away from the silver!


Yay, we did it!!! Ta kataferame!

Thrilled! 


Moments to remember -  Η Γαλανόλευκη
The Greek Flag flies proudly with the British and Chinese flags


Proud and happy Olympians!
Well done to all of you!

Μπράβο κοριτσάρες μας! 
 Γ Ι Ν Ε Τ Α Ι...


Bravo Alexandra, Bravo Christina!
You made all of us in the Global Greek World 
very proud today - 
check out the post on our Facebook Page for all the likes and comments! 

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