We’re living in unprecedented times. Coronavirus, or Covid-19, has turned our lives and our world upside down. We’re all experiencing a new ‘normal’, isolated in our homes, home-schooling our children, and entertaining our confused-but-delighted pets. It’s unlike anything we’ve experienced before.
And we’re definitely not able to travel.
But that doesn’t mean travel shouldn’t be on your mind. In fact, a little escapism is a good antidote to the barrage of bad news facing us on a daily basis. Although we can’t jet off to warmer climes at the moment, there are still ways to temporarily ease your wanderlust.
We want to help you escape from your four walls and take a trip to one of your favourite countries – from the comfort of your sofa. It’s time to reminisce about why you fell in love with Greece, revisit your treasure trove of memories, and let a little travel nostalgia brighten your day.
Here are a few ideas for how you can satisfy your love of Greece during the coronavirus quarantine.
1. Delve into Greek Stories
Finding the time to read can be a challenge in our often-hectic lives, with many of us stockpiling a mountain of books for our annual holiday. Now we’re stuck at home, it’s time to revisit your ‘to be read’ pile.
Make yourself a cuppa, stretch out on the sofa, and escape to Greece – at least in your head! Here are some books to inspire your love of Greece.
For modern classics, Henry Miller’s The Colossus of Maroussi is a gem, written about a trip around Greece with his friend Lawrence Durrell, whose writings include Reflections on a Marine Venus: A Companion to the Landscape of Rhodes. Lawrence’s brother, Gerald Durrell, wrote the magical My Family and Other Animals, a comforting old favourite of mine about their childhood growing up in Corfu.
Other travel writing favourites include Patrick Leigh Fermor, an intrepid British adventurer who wrote Mani and Roumeli: Travel in Northern Greece, and Sokfa Zinovieff, whose Eurydice Street: A Place in Athens offers a charming look at the Greek capital.
For something a little closer to ‘home’ Tilos resident, Jennifer Barclay, has written two books about the island, Falling in Honey and An Octopus in My Ouzo. She also has a book awaiting publication called Wild Abandon: A Journey to the Deserted Places of the Dodecanese, which I can’t wait to read.
There are plentiful novels you can turn to with a fantastic sense of place to sweep you off to the sights, sounds, tastes and smells of Greece, from the classic Zorba the Greek by Nikos Kazantzakis and Louis de Bernieres’ Captain Corelli’s Mandolin to Victoria Hislop’s The Island and the Greek mysteries of Anne Zouroudi.
For more bite-sized inspiration, log onto Greek travel blogs. Rebecca Hall covers the Dodecanese Islands in Life Beyond Borders, Jennifer Barclay writes about her life on Tilos and exploring the Dodecanese on An Octopus in My Ouzo, and Barry’s Ramblings will make you dream of lacing up your hiking boots to wander around the smaller islands.
2. Watch Greek Films
Reignite your Greek wanderlust by stocking up on popcorn and settling down for regular movie nights with a variety of films based in Greece.
Two of the most popular films set in Greece are Mamma Mia! and Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again. You could opt for old favourites, such as Shirley Valentine, Captain Corelli’s Mandolin and Zorba the Greek, or turn to the final instalment of the Before trilogy, Before Midnight.
For something a little different, try Roza of Smyrna, Cloudy Sunday, and Little England, all by Greek directors. And for a taste of Tilos, watch the charming The Island Bus, a documentary set on Tilos.
3. Plan Your Future Travels
Things are currently in a state of flux, with guidance and advice changing on a regular basis. While that makes it difficult to plan for the immediate future, there’s nothing to stop you looking ahead and planning future travels.
Many of you will be eager to return to your favourite Greek island – if you’ve missed your spring holiday, have you thought about visiting Greece in the autumn? The weather is similar, though the sea will be much warmer after a summer basking in the sun, and migratory birds will be on their return journeys.
We’re operating a flexible booking policy, with free rescheduling should restrictions continue, along with the opportunity to book ahead for 2021 with a £75 deposit.
4. Revisit Your Travel Bucket List
The idea of a travel bucket list is to gather together ideas for all the places you’d love to visit and travel experiences you’d love to have in your lifetime – the idea being that writing things down makes it more likely to achieve your goals.
Where do you really want to visit? Dream big on this one – because if there’s one thing you have at the moment, it’s plenty of time for dreaming! For inspiration, flick through travel magazines, watch travel TV series, read travel blogs and scroll through travel hashtags on Instagram (follow us as well for exciting Greek islands content). Pinterest is a great way to keep a visual record of your travel bucket list, as well as having lots of dreamy travel inspiration to browse.
If we can help you plan anything on your travel bucket list, all you have to do is ask! We’d love to help you achieve your travel goals and dreams.
5. Embrace Digital Media
Longing for a little Greek culture? Thanks to the magic of modern technology, you can still visit some Greek museums and archaeological sites online.
The Google Art Project offers virtual tours of many museums around the world. Their Greek offerings include the Acropolis Museum, Museum of Cycladic Art, The National Gallery of Athens, and even the Children’s Art Gallery of Greece in Rhodes. In addition, the Benaki Museum offers 360º virtual tours of its four main sites and You Go Culture offers a number of virtual tours of fascinating Greek destinations.
6. Get Sentimental With Your Travel Memories
Whether you’ve only been to Greece once or have visited annually for years, you’re bound to have stacks of photos of this gorgeously photogenic country. But when was the last time you looked through those pictures?
Now is the ideal time to seek out all your Greek pictures, and sort and organise them into photo albums of your treasured memories. Perhaps you could expand on this and start scrapbooking, bringing together entry tickets, maps, and other bits of holiday memorabilia.
Alternatively, try out a new skill altogether. Maybe you could try your hand at travel writing to capture the experiences you’ve had in words, or use your photos as a basis for painting Greek landscapes.
7. Bring a Taste of Greece to Your Home
Greek cuisine is one of the healthiest in the world – and one of the tastiest! Although you can’t get to Greece, there’s nothing stopping you from recreating some of your favourite meals at home.
Pull out Greek recipe books or browse Greek food blogs online. Some of our favourites are My Little Expat Kitchen, Olive Tomato, Greek Gastronomy Guide, Eat Yourself Greek, and Souvlaki for the Soul. If you prefer video, Akis Petretzikis Kitchen is a popular choice.
For those of you hankering for a taste of Halki, have you tried making our Halki pasta recipe?
8. Brush Up Your Greek Skills
Yassou! Many of you return to our beloved islands each year and have probably picked up some basic Greek along the way. But why not use this time in quarantine to give your brain a bit of a mental workout by learning a little more of the language?
I’m an avid user of the app Duolingo (available on iPhone and Google Play – you need to download the Greek alphabet on your phone to use this properly). You could also listen to Greek podcasts, buy audiobooks, or watch videos of native speakers to improve your Greek. The website Fluent in Three Months has a fantastic guide to free Greek resources.
9. Follow the Migratory Routes of Birds
The Dodecanese is home to some incredible wildlife, including migratory birds that pass through the area each year. European bee-eaters, Eurasian golden orioles, European rollers, Andouin gulls, black kites, Cretzschmar’s buntings, olive tree warblers, and Eleonora’s falcons are amongst many birds that call this area their home for at least part of the year.
You may see these birds every year, depending on when you visit. But do you know where else they visit each year? Research how far they travel and see where they spend each summer and winter – you may find some more places for your bucket list!
Greek Ministry of Tourism Initiative
Finally, the Greek Ministry of Tourism has developed a wonderful way to enjoy Greece From Home, which includes many ideas covered in this blog post – and more…
We hope this has given you a few ideas of how you can stay connected with Greece and be inspired by your love of Greece during your time in quarantine. We can’t wait to welcome you back when the time is right.
Until then stay safe and well – and don’t hesitate to contact Nissia Holidays with any questions or concerns you may have about booking or rescheduling your holiday to Halki, Tilos and Nisyros.