Girl not in Czechland: My Big Fat Greek Holiday

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Votsalakia beach, Samos

Hello. Or should I say ‘Kalimera’. That means ‘Good morning’ by the way. As for the rest of the language, it’s all Greek to me.*

So I’m back after an extended break some of which I spent abroad. On a foreign holiday! How very spoilt and western! Or perhaps not, as today’s Dnes informs me that 600,000 Czechs now visit Italy every year. Gone are the days when buying all your kids an ice-cream anywhere beyond the borders of Czechland would mean having to spend the rest of the year eating stale rohlíky.

Even on a Greek island, it’s not unusual to find a taverna menu in Cesky these days. Don’t believe me? As usual, I’ve documented the evidence.

No, this menu isn't sitting outside a restaurant in Prague but the Greek island of Samos...

It did take some arm-twisting to get to agree to head for foreign shores but when I told him that it was simply his duty to help prevent the impending Greek economic collapse by spending his disposable cash in their fine country, he relented.

I’m joking, of course. He agreed because it was cheap. I’m not complaining: mustn’t go spending all that tax rebate at once.

I loved Samos.

We had a great time. The beaches were beautiful – if a little windswept – but we didn’t spend all our time lying on the sand. The Czechs are an active bunch so of course I was made to pack hiking boots as well as flipflops. I was not exactly delighted to be woken up at 5.30am to set off up a mountain before the sun became too scorchingly hot but I was glad I’d made the effort when we arrived at the town of Marathokampos. There was something magical about having the chance to explore the chaotic winding streets with only the local population of cats for company.  Here’s the view I was rewarded with:

Marathokampos, Samos

We didn’t spend all our time off the beaten track: what package holiday would be complete withoutgoing on at least one excursion?

The first stop of the coach tour of the island we’d opted for was at a pottery studio. There a bearded Greek chap showed off his skill with wet clay for the amusement of the assembled crowd of tourists. So far, so predicable. Czechman, however, was entranced. I had to practically drag him out of the souvenir shop where I caught him eyeing up vases costing 50 euro (ouch!) but not before he made one purchase.

We are now the proud owners of not one, but two, Cups of Pythagoras.

What, you may ask, is the difference between an ordinary cup and the Cup of Pythagoras you see here below? Apparently, the Greek mathematician invented this object to teach his students the spirit of fairness – or alternatively, to stop them getting too drunk in his lectures. How does this remarkable drinking vessel achieve these lofty goals? Fill it beyond a certain point and the entire contents pour out of a hole in the bottom.

Czechman's favourite souvenir

Now call me stupid but a cup with a hole in the bottom seems to be about as much use as a one-legged man in an arse-kicking competition. However, it was so cute to watch the normally super-sensible Czechman be keen to buy tourist tacky souvenirs that I happily let him hand over the euros.  What the hell.  Now that we’ve bought a flat, who knows when we’ll get to go on a foreign holiday again?

Yes that’s right: Czechman and I are taking our first tentative steps on the property ladder. Expect to hear more about that soon. And although I won’t be jetting off anywhere soon, I do have something ‘jet’ related in the pipeline.  Watch this space…

Fresh figs, apricots and thick greek yogurt - the perfect holiday breakfast...

A donkey. They have quite a lot of these on Samos.

(*This is a simply hilarious joke which relies on you knowing the English idiom ‘It’s all Greek to me’ which means ‘I don’t understand this at all.’ Apparently the Czech equivalent is something about Spanish villages.)

8 Comments

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8 Responses to Girl not in Czechland: My Big Fat Greek Holiday

  1. Michael

    Glad to see you back in print…I hope you enjoyed the Holiday. I’ll actually be in Czech at the end of July through mid August. If you end up in Ostrava send me a message.

  2. OMG – what are the chances… I got back to Prague, also from Greece on Sunday – and also spied a considerable amount of Czech menus! I (accidentally) wished a waiter “Dobry Vecer” (I’m so native now…) and he Dobrey’d right back! Amazing!

    welcome home. And where is your new home? can we expect something about interior decorating in the CR?

  3. girlinczechland

    @Michael: Thanks for the warm welcome back! Hope you enjoy your trip to Ostrava.
    @CzechingIn: Oh yes, expect a detailed account of the doing up (or reconstruction as the Czechs would say) of the new flat very soon… Watch this space!
    GIC

  4. jaryba

    In Czech – “Spanish village” and in Poland – “Czech film”.

  5. Hello GIC,
    Very pleased to have you back blogging once more & my apologies for not leaving a comment here earlier to say so.

    A Brit married to a Czech who went to Greece on a similar holiday package tour to yours last year, told me that where they stayed, the menu was in Czech as the hotel/resort was geared to Czech tourists. Well done for at least learning to say ‘Hello’ in Greek, a lesson many German tourists ought to learn. My wife & I recently spent a week walking in the Krkonoše Mountains where numerous passing walkers greeted us with “Guten Morgan” without a thought that they were not in Germany but in the Czech Republic! Surely it isn’t that difficult to learn to say “Dobry den”?

    Congratulations on joining the property ladder. I look forward to your observations on ‘reconstruction’.

    • girlinczechland

      Hello Ricky,
      Your kind comment ended up in the spam bin! I have duly rescued it and had a sly chuckle over ‘reconstruction’. It does seem cruel when a Czech word which seems so similar to the English means something quite different. Fortunately the flat only requires doing up rather than a complete rebuild! You will of course be hearing more about the delights involved in due course: watch this (cyber) space…
      GIC

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