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Old 27-03-2015, 00:15   #1
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Independence Day, Greek Style

Twin celebrations occur in Greece on the 25th of March: the Annunciation and Independence Day. Greece was largely under the control of the Ottomans after the fall of Constantinople. The fiercely independent Greeks of the Mani peninsula in the Peloponnese (the spot where Helen apparently left for Troy) were never tamed and skirmishes were common. The isolation of the area meant that the only access to many places was by sea and this probably lends some credibility to the Maniot's notion that their bloodline was "pure" and could be traced back to Menelaus .

Anyway, in March of 1821 the Maniots declared war on the Ottomans and to probably keep things nice and neat the 25th was eventually decided as the day to celebrate independence - at least I can't see why else it was picked, anyone know? The 17th was when war was actually declared.

So in a nutshell, that is the background to this post . I was in the port of one pint sized Greek island on Wednesday and was lucky enough to catch the celebrations. There are processions all over Greece on this day, but this one for me was the most memorable. Apart from an impressive array of dignitaries for such a tiny place (with representatives from the navy, airforce, army, church, government etc) a few dozen preschool children formed part of the procession dressed in national costumes from all over Greece and waving flags, with proud parents hovering. They were heart meltingly cute.

This is the port with the waterfront line up of sombrely dressed locals (no tourists here yet). You can seen why I stand out in my old favourite pink shorts, crocs and red and fluoro yellow Musto jacket :
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Old 27-03-2015, 00:17   #2
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Re: Independence Day, Greek Style

This was enough to make the gruffiest of 'salty old salts' smile on the day:
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Old 27-03-2015, 00:18   #3
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Re: Independence Day, Greek Style

Even the bishop (?) cracked a smile and applauded loudly. The papa (or monk?) on the far left is snapping photos on his phone. Only the two sentinels are stern faced (they must get their training at the same place as the guards at Buckingham Palace ):
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Old 27-03-2015, 00:25   #4
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Re: Independence Day, Greek Style

One exhausted tiny tot at the end of the parade .

If you are cruising Greece in March, try and catch one of these celebrations.
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Old 27-03-2015, 08:49   #5
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Re: Independence Day, Greek Style

Thanks for this well illustrated, brief tour of a small Greek community on the feast of the Annunciation / Independence day. Makes me wanna be there.
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Old 27-03-2015, 09:32   #6
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Re: Independence Day, Greek Style

Quote:
Originally Posted by Seaworthy Lass View Post
Even the bishop (?) cracked a smile and applauded loudly. The papa (or monk?) on the far left is snapping photos on his phone. Only the two sentinels are stern faced (they must get their training at the same place as the guards at Buckingham Palace ):
Good Job
Yes the Papa is a Priest and not a monk
Thank you so much for sharing- I wish I would be there too! Lucky you are sailing in Greece and I am freezing in Minneapolis
Although the best sailing season in Greece starts end of April- and one suggestion- Sail North to North Sporades, avoid Skiathos (to noisy) and go further NE to Skopelos Alonnisos and Pelago- there you will see the real Greek Islands. make a stop over at STENI VALA and say hello to KOSTAS MAVRIKIS the owner of the only caffe in this tiny port
Cheers
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Old 27-03-2015, 09:40   #7
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Re: Independence Day, Greek Style

Thanks for sharing. That was lovely.
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Old 27-03-2015, 12:57   #8
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Re: Independence Day, Greek Style

So glad the photos have been enjoyed .
It was one of those "feel good" days that members don't tend to post about. There is little here in the Med that reflects all the doom and gloom I read about on CF. Yes, Greek locals are tightening their belts and have been for several years now. It is not affecting the warmth of the their reception one little bit. Yes, I have a couple of times had trouble withdrawing cash. Although I am aware this may worsen, it has not been a problem to date.

On the other hand, refugees and illegal immigrants (mainly Syrian) arriving from Turkey are a problem. We will deal with that if and when the issue arises, but I could never just stand by and not help save lives by not taking anyone in danger of drowning on board. Life is full of risks and this is just one I would accept without hesitation. Each to his own though.

In general life here over the last few years has been the best I have ever experienced by far.

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Thank you so much for sharing- I wish I would be there too! Lucky you are sailing in Greece and I am freezing in Minneapolis
Although the best sailing season in Greece starts end of April- and one suggestion- Sail North to North Sporades, avoid Skiathos (to noisy) and go further NE to Skopelos Alonnisos and Pelago- there you will see the real Greek Islands.
We visited this cluster of islands a couple of years ago. Skopelos (the "Mama Mia" island) is very touristy. Alonnisos is just as beautiful, but quieter. A touch north in the same chain is Kyra Panagia with a lone monk the only resident. I had several truly memorable hours at the monastery there sharing a meal of fried fish and horta with the monk. I think the conversation we had was equally fascinating to both of us. Such amazing experiences are still to be had here!

SWL
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Old 28-03-2015, 10:58   #9
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Re: Independence Day, Greek Style

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Originally Posted by Seaworthy Lass View Post
It was one of those "feel good" days that members don't tend to post about. There is little here in the Med that reflects all the doom and gloom I read about on CF. Yes, Greek locals are tightening their belts and have been for several years now. It is not affecting the warmth of the their reception one little bit. Yes, I have a couple of times had trouble withdrawing cash. Although I am aware this may worsen, it has not been a problem to date.

SWL
Thank you for the post and photos. As I've said before, I love the Greeks and look forward to returning in June.

Can you advise on the trouble withdrawing cash? I have in the past had to pay around 1000 euro when launching Palarran for a tax. I think it is up in the air right now as to whether I'll have to pay or not, but that is a separate issue. If I do, I'll only have 3 days to withdrawal the euro from ATM's in order to launch. Do you think that will be a problem?
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Old 28-03-2015, 11:41   #10
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Re: Independence Day, Greek Style

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Originally Posted by Palarran View Post
Thank you for the post and photos. As I've said before, I love the Greeks and look forward to returning in June.

Can you advise on the trouble withdrawing cash? I have in the past had to pay around 1000 euro when launching Palarran for a tax. I think it is up in the air right now as to whether I'll have to pay or not, but that is a separate issue. If I do, I'll only have 3 days to withdrawal the euro from ATM's in order to launch. Do you think that will be a problem?
My medical clinic staff say that they have to go to different BANK ATMs every day in order to withdraw. Its not consistent. SWL told me the same a week or so ago.
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Old 28-03-2015, 13:01   #11
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Re: Independence Day, Greek Style

Quote:
Originally Posted by Palarran View Post
Thank you for the post and photos. As I've said before, I love the Greeks and look forward to returning in June.

Can you advise on the trouble withdrawing cash? I have in the past had to pay around 1000 euro when launching Palarran for a tax. I think it is up in the air right now as to whether I'll have to pay or not, but that is a separate issue. If I do, I'll only have 3 days to withdrawal the euro from ATM's in order to launch. Do you think that will be a problem?
I think it is changing from day to day. At the last island there were two ATMs. One has no cash for the last six weeks or so (ATM still functioning otherwise for transfers). With the other on one occasion there was no cash issued and on one I was limited to 200 euro (back to normal a week later). I was told that there may be a limit per month as well as a limit per day per bank.

Fridays pensions can be withdrawn so there tends to be a run on cash then.

SWL
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Old 28-03-2015, 13:11   #12
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Re: Independence Day, Greek Style

Wouldn't you think that the cash exchanges in Athens International would have plenty of euro though? It may cost an extra 5% but at least I could get it.
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Old 28-03-2015, 13:23   #13
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Re: Independence Day, Greek Style

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Wouldn't you think that the cash exchanges in Athens International would have plenty of euro though? It may cost an extra 5% but at least I could get it.
I have come across only two cruisers in the last few months (neither had passed through Athens recently) so nothing heard on the grapevine. I think things could change simply from day to day, so paying to have a bit in reserve would be sensible in my opinion.

Most small stores here only take cash, so that is another issue. Perhaps stock up extra well at one of the larger supermarkets where credit cards are accepted before departing for any more remote spots.
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Old 28-03-2015, 14:23   #14
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Re: Independence Day, Greek Style

Thats helpfull,we cutting through france on route for greek islands,will make sure enough for each stage.


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Old 28-03-2015, 14:27   #15
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Re: Independence Day, Greek Style

No pictures of the parade?

It sounds like it would have been an interesting thing to see. I love the culture, sans tacky-tourist gimmicks.
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