Cost of Living in Greece

by Jose Marc Castro on August 10, 2009

costoflivingGREECEGreece is a member of the European Union, and the country has enjoyed a stable economy for the past decade up to the present. The cost of living is 30% lower compared to other European countries. The Economist has ranked the country 22nd place in the Worldwide Quality-of-Life Index. The World Economic Forum also gave it 42nd place in the Global Competitiveness Report. Despite a few setbacks and accidents, Greece remains to be in good shape as far as economy and politics are concerned.

Living in major cities like Athens will definitely cost more. The average Greek salary is lower than the average EU salary, but this is offset with a high standard of living as social security costs make up for much of the difference. This cost of social security, income tax and indirect taxes make the overall Greek tax scheme one of the highest in the EU. All these expenses are still put to good use since the people get to have quality standard of life.

In the past ten years, the cost of living in Greece has increased much. Food and commodities are more affordable compared to the United Kingdom. Housing costs vary depending on location and condition. In terms of government services and benefits, expatriates can expect only the best.

As one expat shared in Greece Expat Forum last July 7, 2009:

“Electricity has gone up somewhat but still cheaper than the Uk and the Gas bottles for heaters or cooking are around 16 euros a bottle. Water is cheap also. To eat out living here you can do cheaply with the local small tavernas. Shopping is also cheaper than the Uk from what i have been told.
I think the medical care is better than the Uk, it is easy to book a doctor and also easy to see specialists at the hospitals, a little chaotic but definately easier than getting to see a specialist in the Uk. If you get internet connection then sign up to SKYPE for a few euros a month you can call all over Europe for free, a great invention. I think the best thing is to search on line at the cost to buy and rent with estate agents, you will get a clear idea of the price differences around Greece. For sure spend a holiday here to investigate fully if it is the right place for you. Also consider the winter months, as i know people who live in the North where it is much colder so the cost of heater goes up greatly then. Crete has good facilities, Corfu where you can get a ferry to Italy all year,all the larger islands really. On the mainland you can also look around Kalamata on the West and the resorts south of it like Kardamilli and Stoupa. remember if you buy here always worth putting in a much lower offer than is stated as they are nearly always flexible.”

Food and Drink Costs in Greece

Greece is not as expensive as other EU countries but to say a Greek vacation is cheap has to think twice. The average Greek spends about 60 euros on food and beverages every month. Grocery items are very affordable since a lot are acquired locally from nearby provinces and farms. Wheat and barley are staple carbohydrate sources. Greece also has an abundance of fruits and vegetables such as olives, tomato, eggplant, okra and onions.

Herbs and spices are available in all markets as well laurel, thyme, basil and oregano. Usual meat products are pre-packed, frozen or fresh lamb, goat and pork. Beef is not that common in Greece but fish like tuna and salmon are also sold extensively and exported. All these have considerably low prices compared to the UK.

Cheese products like Feta, Mizithra and Kasseri are also made locally along with Greece’s most famous drink – wine. Greek wine has a history going back thousands of years but it was only recently that the standard has gone up. Beer, wine and ouzo are the most common beverages and can be bought at the cheapest prices. Some examples of these are Zeos, Lager, Kaiser manufactured in Lesbos and Icaria. Greek pastries are also a favorite among the locals and there are several families selling in bulk.

Clothing and Accessories Costs in Greece

Greece is also very much updated with recent trends and styles. The fashion industry is gradually stabilizing over the years and the country has been exporting widely to different global destinations over the past few years. Garments are available for men, women and children at affordable prices for generic and locally manufactured brands.

There are also several accessories like jewelry, hats and bags that are all priced higher than other Northern European countries. Greeks claim that the material used in their wares are of better quality and last longer.

Designer labels are also imported from the United States and France. These cost very much the same as other brand shops in the UK. The average individual would most likely spend around 100 euro every month on clothes and apparel.

Modern styles in Greece are somewhat reminiscent of the Western culture although there are also traditional items available like goddess dresses, shawls, belts and boots in classic gold and white color. Greeks are more formally dressed compared to other nearby countries that sport a more sporty and casual style. Overall, the price of clothing, footwear and other accessories are not much different than the G8 nations and the United States.

Housing Costs in Greece

It is quite difficult to find decent rental spaces in Greece. Some offer fully furnished apartments that are located in resorts. These are expensive considering the poor quality of the equipment and smallness of the place. There are rare opportunities for expatriates to find huge space with no furnishings.

A single-bedroom apartment will generally cost 500 euros every month. The bigger the space, the higher rental rates will get. Immigrants vying for Athens and Hydra Island can only expect the most expensive rates in exchange for quality homes and big lots.

Some people would opt for alternatives like short-term lease, home exchange and long-term motel occupancy. Most landlords ask for three to six-month deposits excluding concurrent electric and water bills. It is advisable to live in suburban areas in order to save as much as half of the price people pay for living downtown. Location is not a big problem since there are constant community buses, trains and taxis that can instantly bring new people around.

If you are able to find one suitable for you or are in the market for one, here are some tips on your property hunting while in Greece.

Services Costs in Greece

Education is compulsory for individuals aging 6 to 15 years old. Secondary education is subsidized by the government. Students are also able to apply for scholarship grants in private schools and universities. Health care is also given importance by the government, which is why all citizens are advised to acquire health insurance as soon as they graduate from secondary school.

There are many exchange students as well in most Greek universities. Most expatriates send their children to Greek primary and secondary school then proceed to college in nearby European nations like Germany or France.

Formerly, Greece did not allocate much of its resources on health care since the people are generally healthy. GDP is redirected to other fields instead. In recent years, the nation has started to return its attention to modernized health care system and approach. New institutions, training and development are underway for continued quality service. Internet and telephone services are affordable although the Internet connection can vary in price depending on speed and type. As on expat shared on Greece Expat Forum last February 10, 2009:

well just to give you some idea of costs, we run a small car (Fiat Panda) for gasoline costs of not more than 20 euros per week. You can get a satellite dish and receiver set up here by an English company who specialise in that, for a one off fee and then you can receive a lot of free satellite channels which show a lot of American films and series (though if you are living on the base I’m not sure what the costs would be and what their policy is on satellite/cable installation. they may even have their own setup there already). We have a home phone line and broadband connection which together costs us up to about 80 euros for two months including some calls. Cell phone costs vary but you can get an idea if you look for the website of the cell phone company which has the best coverage here. It is called Cosmote and their website is cosmote.gr. It will probably come up in Greek but I think they also have an English language page you can link to off their home page to get an idea of costs.

Employment Costs in Greece

Shipping and modern engineering are still the key financial supports of Greece which is why the country needs as many engineers and maritime workers as possible. The country spends hundreds of millions of dollars every year for research. Expatriates with engineering background will not have problem finding a good-paying job.

The service industry controls three-quarters of the total working population. Tourism is also big in Greece and 16.5% of the working population is allocated in the field. However, Greece signed the Schengen Treaty that strictly implies regulations on foreigners and willing immigrants. Finding a legal job outside the fields in demand may not be as easy. Comparatively, employment costs in Greece are still the lowest in the European Union.


{ 51 comments… read them below or add one }

Tracy Eldred January 7, 2010 at 9:06 pm

Well. I've been on Thassos Island for the past three years and some expats are starting to leave because of beauracracy and rising costs. The 'red tape' appears to be such a struggle because of language barriers , some apparent predjudice, and a lot of ignorance and laziness. The rising costs are the basic expenditures, your tangibles, the ordinary shopping.

I've just come back from a short stint in the UK. I can get a full trolley of shopping at Asda or Tesco for a THIRD of the price that I pay here on Thassos. That trolley includes me,my husband and our one year old babys daily needs. I was mortified to say the least, I felt like crying!

So, I have to do my sums and get a hard copy of the untangible costs of living here like:

CAR costs

HOUSE costs

TAX costs

NATIONAL INSURANCE costs

LOCAL SERVICE costs

We are NOT going to pay extra for our child to aquire the basic schooling he needs, outside of school at Frontisteria,because our taxes are going towards the schooling that he should get when he goes to basic school,why should we pay extra? Other mothers are telling me that if their children do NOT go to Frontesteria,regardless that their child is not learning nearly enough to get through school,their child will not come up to basic European standards of education! And they are willing to pay extra for it and send their child off to Frontesteria from the time school finishes in the day, til midnight at night! HELLO>!>!>!>

No, unless the Education system improves drastically and the prices of tangible goods become more realistic we'll be moving OUT of Greece."Come to Greece, live like a pauper.But the weather,food,air is great!"

Is it really worth it?

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xpistos April 24, 2011 at 5:23 pm

As a Greek I understand you and i share your frustration.However i am at a different sage in life.Looking for retirement.Knowing what you know of today's Greece will you retire there on 1500 dollars not including rent?Your imput will be appreciated.xpistos

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jackson September 29, 2011 at 5:34 pm

i agree

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John February 9, 2010 at 1:14 am

With all due respect, the author seems to live in some kind of fantasy land about Greece. Three sentences, in particular, show me that the author has little understanding of Greece. They are:

-"Despite a few setbacks and accidents, Greece remains to be in good shape as far as economy and politics are concerned."

-"Greeks are more formally dressed compared to other nearby countries "

-"Formerly, Greece did not allocate much of its resources on health care since the people are generally healthy"

Seriously? How can someone with any knowledge of Greece think that the economy was rosy in August 2009? Or consider the Greek style of dress to be in any way formal? (Most Greeks don't even wear ties at a wedding, for crying out loud!). But the worst is the last quote. Greece did not spend money on healthcare because it didn't HAVE money, not because the population was "generally healthy"!

Just. Wow.

I'd like to respond to Tracey's comment too. Tracey, I have lived in the UK and Greece, and I can't understand how you could be paying only 1/3 as much for food in the UK. Just plain impossible – the UK is expensive! Things might be a bit cheaper if you buy bulk (unknown in Greece) and buy mostly "packaged" foods (ready-made meals etc. in boxes). Greeks eat mostly fresh produce and meat, which IS cheaper than other EU countries I've been to.

Look everyone, long story short: Greece is cheaper than most of the original EU 15, but more expensive than a "2nd world" country like Turkey (or Bulgaria, Mexico, Argentina, etc.) If you've got British pounds in your pocket, you'll be fine.

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dina June 22, 2010 at 4:30 am

Go and educate your self !!!!! Greece its much better than UK…and yes we do not have health problems in general because we have the best food!we enjoy life !!!
if u had education u will also know that the stupid English that u speak is 80% Greek…so Respect Greeks and don't be jealous!!!

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Medea December 28, 2010 at 2:05 pm

How xenophobic and rude you are Dina! Are you Greek? If you are I will be both disappointed and surprised. The 'stupid' English language (that you clearly have quite a decent command of; Interesting, why did you bother with the language if it is 'stupid'?) is certainly not 80 percent Greek. If you really believe that, PROVE it! English may well be a mongrel language but is certainly not 80 percent Greek. If Greece is so wonderful and the rest of the world is jealous then why has there been such a diaspora of Greeks in both the 20th and 21st century? Grumbling about Greece is a national pastime in Greece, however you seem upset that ex-pats do the same. Why? This is an ex-pat forum after all. Grow up pedi mou!

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xpistos April 24, 2011 at 6:07 pm

I AM APPALLED AT YOUR AUDACITY. Do you consider yourself educated? I am tired of the rudeness and the disconnect of people like you, who consider it their achievement that 2000 years ago some civilization gave them a treasure that they have been dragging in the mud and at the same time they use it to show off.
2000 years of intermingling with other races has removed a lot from the fairness and elegance of a civilization that Western Europe should be proud off. We can still claim Greekness in a different way. As Byron has said: "we are all Greeks after all". But if you look at the achievements of post Hellenistic Greece there isn't much there to brag about. During the later part of the last century we lost our dignity, our respect for others, our diet, and we all want to do is speak low level Americanese dressed as anencephalic cow-boys and gals. If your great grandfather was an exceptional individual with laurels and wealth and you today claimed to be the penniless wino on skid row you'll be looked at pittyfully.So stop bragging, bring yourself out of the gutter, try at least to come at the level of the rest of Europe and then let other praise your achievements .
Xpistos.

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stefania February 14, 2010 at 9:44 am

I agree with John. Whoever wrote this is grossly misinformed. Greece was ranked #1 most expensive country in the EU for clothes, shoes, household repair, plus food costs are higher than Brussels, London, Stockholm. The average Greek does NOT spend only 60 euros on food per month — unless you’re quoting 2001 prices before the euro. Food is definitely not less the USA.

http://livingingreece.gr/2008/11/10/greece-usa-price-comparison-2/

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kath April 10, 2010 at 7:39 pm

I agree with some of the points that Tracy has made, my husband is from Thassos and we have lived in England for the past ten years, i have spent several months living there in the summer many years ago. We only get to visit once a year now as the flights for us and our two children are very expensive. I have also found that food shopping and clothes shopping is very very expensive in Thassos, maybe this is because it is an Island (a very lovely one at that) .
My husband would love for us to move back to Thassos but the school issues are very worrying, i had no idea that you have to pay if your child needs extra help (if i have understood correctly), but Tracy has really made me think twice the children s education is most important to me . Do you have to pay for college (after high school) ? With regards to health care I’m not really sure but have been told by a Greek friend that it’s not very good in Greece , going back a few years a young boy was accidentally shot in the leg with a fishing gun, there is only a health center in Thassos the poor boy would probably have had to go to Kavala by ferry to be helped, this worries me quite a lot last year a elderly lady was taking her husband home to care for him after a stroke , the poor lady didn’t even know where she lived bless her, is there any care for the elderly at home in Thassos? If anyone has any information on life in Greece with children it would be great to hear the good and the bad. my son is six and my daughter is four they only speak English and understand very little Greek – is it too late for us to think about moving ?
I really love the Greek way of life and think Thassos is beautiful , but there is nothing to do in winter as most of it closes down, what do most of the Greeks do with their children in the winter months.

Kath :)

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Dimitra May 9, 2010 at 8:07 pm

Hi,
I've been living in Greece for over 25 years now and things were bad back then, economically speaking and now of course with the recent events, they're getting worse.

Basic goods, such as dairy products, bread, coffee and sugar are more expensive than other European countries, while the average salary is indeed lower than the other European countries.

There is an incredible bureaucracy and social security literally sucks, not to mention the pension funds… to be honest, those of us in their 40s are afraid we won't be getting a pension when the time comes. Approx. 16% of the average salary goes to social security funds, while approx. 25-35% goes to Tax contributions, which leaves employees with half the gross salary they receive. 16% of Social security and 0% tax applies to basic salaries (approx. 800 Euros monthly gross = 12,000 Euros annually).

If you are unfortunate to need hospital care, be prepared not to receive the basic hospital care you're paying for through your social security contributions… nursing care is not provided; nurses will administer the medicine and disappear. So, one will have to pay a private night nurse for 80 euros per night and 100 per night during weekends… or choose private hospitals which charge 100-150 Euros per night.
The majority of doctors are very good here, though.

Unemployment rate is very high and since multinational companies are reorganizing their departments (cutting down expenses) and small-medium businesses are shutting down one after the other, job competition is high, since many are left without a job and job opportunities were few to start with, now they're worse.

In response to Kath's question about family life, as I raise a family too, I must say that it's expensive and there are few opportunities for child development. The school system is stagnant and inflexible. Children are forced to learn their lessons off by heart every afternoon, unless they are lucky enough to have a good teacher who wants to make a difference and that is rare.
Secondary school students are forced to attend private (privately funded) afternoon schools to get the education they are supposed to get in the public schools. Add the usual strikes and teacher meetings that are always conveniently held during school hours, forcing working parents to find somewhere to park their children.

For a person living in Athens, few child-friendly parks are available and you'll need to travel for at least 30 mins by car to get to a respectable and clean park that is child-proof. As most suburbs are full of apartment blocks, there is little free space for children to play, streets are too busy with traffic, pavements non-existent for safe-walks and where there are pavements, they are mostly very narrow, badly structured with trees planted smack in the middle of them, forcing people to step down on the streets… and of course the usual car parked on the pavement.

Last, if you find yourself treated unfairly by any public service, be prepared to go through a horrible ordeal to set things straight… the government states your rights, but there is no mechanism in place that will be activated to support them… because the mechanism is handled by people and people do not handle it and no service whatsoever inspects anyone in this country.

Other than that, the weather is great, the food delicious and the people are warm and friendly… great for a vacation, but not to seriously make a living…

Those of us who are honest, hard working citizens of this country are working unpaid overtime (those of us lucky to still have a job) against all odds to achieve a basic standard of living… I couldn't think of one reason why someone would seriously consider to move here, especially in these times.

Dimitra

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Irina Peridaki June 16, 2010 at 7:13 am

I have read all your comments annd everyone has a point one way or another. I being a Greek (not born in Gree) and who has been living here 5 years now have noticed the difference year by year but as of a month ago things have changed dramatically and will further change in the sense more additional surprises on the way. We are being spoon fed with all the delicacy of monetary surprises to the point where we will have to give our salary all to the Gov instead of being able to save a penny or two for the rainy day… not even a hot day now that that Greece's weather is much more like a sahara…

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Martin June 22, 2010 at 2:52 am

Who is this person that wrote this article, they must be living in the Greece of 2o years ago with the quoted prices. I do not live in Greece but know it quite well. Greece is typical of the Med countries, inefficent, over bureacratised and systems left over from Milatary junta and communist governments.
The people are very friendly but like here in Italy where I live, very set in their ways and not open minded, we know Italians who will not even try different Nationalities foods.
As you all seem to say….great for Hols!!!

Ciao tutti

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Antonis Albertis July 8, 2010 at 8:53 am

That makes no sense once so ever. My mother is Greek and my father is black and I have never had a problem and all my friends eat out at Buddah, Mr Chow and Hong Kong Cafe and Bar. Who cares what people eat. Do you eat rattlesnakes and alligators like Americnans do or whales like the Japanese. Grow up.

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Ben H June 19, 2011 at 1:26 am

While I agree with you about Greeks not being close-minded or set in their ways, I find it hypocritical of you to both defend Greeks and yourself as open-minded people and then in the next sentence make stereotypical comments about other cultures. I am American and I have lived in Italy, Spain, Greece and South Korea and I personally loved Greece the most out of all of the places I lived, with the exception of here in the U.S. I can tell you that 99% of Americans don't eat rattlesnakes and alligators (It's not a southern thing either as I live in Texas). Back to the topic at hand though, I agree with you that Greeks are not close-minded people, but inappropriately and inaccurately insulting other culture does little to prove your point.

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The Prof July 18, 2011 at 6:49 pm

@Ben…….I too have little or no time for those who are "right" at all costs and have little thought for democratic discussion. The world is wonderful because it's varied. I cannot say I know Greece, I've only been there for a month each year for the past 35 years. I have lots of marvellous Greek friends who come over to stay with me in Milan; most of them are professionals and academics, though a few are holiday locals….friendship has no rules. Greece is a big and vastly diverse conglomoration of genres……..splendid! ……really rather like the pseudo-snob Wimbledon set to Liverpool lager louts….wonderful colours!….or Cortina ski instructors to Stradivarius violin crafts-people…………….VARIED! I'm retiring to Greece in a couple of years' time! Can't wait……I only hope I get different neighbours to some folk here though there will be loads of others to frequent, I'm sure!

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Antonis Albertis July 8, 2010 at 4:04 am

Just checking to see if this works before I submit my masterpiece.

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Antonis Albertis July 8, 2010 at 5:41 am

I think I got it mates. I find it ironic me responding to a blog, which I find ridicoulous. However, as a true Greek, I find it necessary to respond to blogs and conversations that pertain to my people and my nation. I was born in Athens (Glyfada), raised in Athens, Constantinople, Venice, Paris, London, Monte Carlo, Montreal and Bar Harbour Maine in the states. I've traveled all over the world and have met with many different kinds of peoples and I must say that I love all the places I've been and all the people I've met. Even Turkey and Turkish occupied Cyprus. OK Turkish Cyprus. However, with all my travels, I have never had a love and passion for any other country like I do for Greece and her peoples. I've learned all I can about this great nation and am proud to be one of its true citizens. Now, I would first like to say that Greece and the Greek people are not European. Geographically, yes we are. Ethnically, socially, spiritually, we are not. However, we are not balkan, medditerranean, oriental, arabesque, Turkish hybrid, north african, or my favorite, ETHIOPIAN. We are simply Greeks.

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Antonis Albertis July 8, 2010 at 5:53 am

Most Greeks today are Romai and identify as such. Citizens of Constantinople, the Byzantine Empire, or Roman (Romai) citizens of the Eastern Roman Empire. Many Greeks due take it further and identify as classical Greeks. Though I find this to be misunderstood by most foreigners, I find it holds merit. Greek independence unfortunately connected the Greek state to Europe and thus has caused many problems for the Greek state. European powers and foreign powers have influenced Greek affairs for a very long time and this is why so many Greeks dislike certain peoples to this day. The EU and the euro has been a good thing for Greece and the Greek people. It has brought stability, fair relations with Turkey and our balkan neighbors. It has brought us the olympics, a great airport, metro, roads, bridges, infrastructure, investment, and limited prosperity.

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Antonis Albertis July 8, 2010 at 6:05 am

The euro however was brought into the Greek state under false measures. Any well educated Greek could of told you in 2001 that someone in the government lied to the EU that Greece was ready to join the euro. Like Greece and Germany, France, Denmark, Finland are all on the same page on this. Come on. The euro made rich Greeks happy, we now had buying power. Everything went on overdrive. Killer clubs and hotels sprung up everywhere, every fashion house in the world opened a flagship. From the W hotel to Nikki Beach were waiting in the wings. This also was a reason for many of the worlds poor to think that Greece would be a good place to go. One of the new rich nations of the world with a currency that rivals the dollar. Mistake, big mistake. The goodlife lasted 10 years while everyone went on a spending spree on EU rules and regulations. It has finally caught up with us and it is a disaster. The foreign community is despised, crime has gone up and everyone blames someone. Its more complicated than one might think.

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Dimitra July 21, 2010 at 10:13 pm

I lean towards everything you say.
Changes are happening all over the world… they've always been. But they're happening more rapidly than in the past and we simple people aren't able to grasp their significance and possible consequences yet.
In any case, whether it's complicated or not and regardless of who we are and where we originally came from, the fact remains that, as Irini Peridaki pointed out, it's nearly impossible to put something aside for a rainy day. We are forced to take each day as it comes and our resources to work towards a future are scarce. Buying power has reduced significantly. Consumers and small businesses alike are suffering. Large businesses have cut down on their supplies and human resources.
Insecurity for the future. That is all we have left.
This country could have increased its wealth by exploiting renewable energy resources… it could have taken many steps to increase production… but obviously the attention is focused elsewhere.

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Suzanna Vaughan November 21, 2010 at 3:53 am

This IS a masterpiece – of good thinking. I'm American, love Greece, would like to go there to live (one of the islands) but am unsure of the cost and the difference in the dollar and euro; it would make a difference since I'm retired. Trying to think of a way – have never been more serene or happier than I was while in Greece. I believe you are fortunate indeed.

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Antonis Albertis July 26, 2010 at 5:29 am

I'm back from holinday in Monte Carlo and everytime I was asked where I live and where I work I would obviously say Athens and it is as if I said "Baghdad" or something. So I'm back to finish what I had to say. The economy is bad everywhere. Japan is a mess, the US is a mess, Iceland went bankrupt as did Dubai. People are out of work everywhere. Spain, Italy, Portugal and Ireland are in trouble.. Everyone only wants to talk about our little debt. Spain and Italy are trillion dollar economies, bigger dept, more complications. I'm fortunate to have a flmily in Greece that have done very well and my own business ventures are also doing very very well. My hotels are all booked and my rentals have all been leased.

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Deanna Haroudakis April 28, 2012 at 7:48 pm

i know this reply is a long time after your original comment, but i hope you see it! My husbands father is Greek and he has many relatives over there. Apparently they are one of the larger families in Rafina, which i understand is about 20 miles from Athens. We would love to move there, so that he can get to know his Greek family and the Greek culture and history. However, before we can do this it would be better if one of us has a job and we have somewhere to rent. As you are a business man, i wondered if you might know of any work available? We are prepared to do any kind of work, domestic, bar work, shop work, factory work, security. Also, i have noticed that there is very cheep accommodation in Rafina to rent, so if we had a little work we would afford to rent somewhere. We only need somewhere small and basic, that would let us keep our little dogs. We live simple lives so don't need much money. But it is very important to us to spend time with my husbands family and learn about his Greek heritage,and learn the language. So, if you,( or anyone else out there ) knows of any work, however menial, we will be so grateful. Unfortunately we haven't afforded to visit for 10 years and feel it would be far more advantageous to live in Greece in order to achieve his ambitions. I really hope we can do this.

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Antonis Albertis July 26, 2010 at 5:44 am

My family and I own many companies in Greece and abroad. Dionysos and Zonar's are our most treasured, but not top performers. They have given us a great life. Thus I owe Greece a great deal of gratitude. I know that I am fortunate, but if Greece were so horrible I would have left for Beverly Hills or Monte Carlo long ago. Greeks are fiesty, hot blooded, friendly, passionate, joyful, proud and enjoy life unlike any other ethnicity I have seen. So they cheat tourists in tourist shops, taxi cabs, the bank is a nightmare, as is the post. So what. Go to Turkey then and they will kiss your ass and give you a hot towel too. Greeks just don't do that. If you don't like it leave. It's very simple, leave. Especially if you are not even from Greece. The foreigners in Greece (refugees) have caused a lot of problems and that is why Greeks are so "rude" as people say today. They are fed up and don't know what to do with them. Not just Albanians, but the new Greeks as well from the ex-Soviet Union and the balkans. They don't like them. So what. I don't care about that.

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Irini Tsekou August 17, 2011 at 12:49 pm

Is Dionysos in Filipapou? Is Zonar's in Kolonaki?

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Antonis Albertis July 26, 2010 at 5:56 am

We don't pay taxes and that makes us the new "evil empire". That's our business. I pay taxes, my sister pays taxes, my dad does, my mother, her brother and sister don't. Well, what to do. We will work that out as a country. Our familis houses and our friends houses are the best houses I've seen anywhere. At least one of the best. In Athens, Kifisia, Glyfada, Filotha, Ekali, Kolonaki, Voulgameni, Vakiza among others are all posh and great places to live and I love it there. So I don't know who's complaining. The streets are fine, the roads are fine, there are trees and there are great little parks everywhere. There are the best clubs, restaurants, cafes and bars. My freinds from Miami love it. I work in the fashion business. Every design house in the world is in Athens and if there is no store then it is carried by one of the boutiques. Look through any Vogue magazine, look up an ad like "Mark Jacobs" and you will see listed Paris London New York ATHENS. So whoever says we don't dress up at night is wrong. That is why all these stores are here. The fashion world knows we rock the fashion scene.

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Antonis Albertis July 26, 2010 at 6:08 am

Greeks are very very educated people. All my family has gone to university. In the US, Greeks are one of the most successful academics. Among Phd's they are one of a few who dominate along side Indians. We all speak many languages and have built in street smarts. I'm sorry to say this but many who complain in Greece are not Greek. Many are of Greek descent, but they are not citizens. Our schools and our universities are fine as well. So are our hospitals. People who are complaining lately are really getting on everyone nerves and some of us love and live in Greece with great glee. Overall, the government steals from us, we don't pay taxes and it's caught up with us. We will fix it. Thats the all I can say. I love Greece and have no problems at all and I don't know anyone else who is complaining either. People who do, I would like to know where they are from and what ethnicity they are.

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Antonis Albertis July 26, 2010 at 6:19 am

There used to be a time when Americans and Brits, among others would come to Greece and pay a few dollars for a taxi, a bottle of wine and a meal. THOSE DAYS ARE GONE. I never liked the cheap prices in Greece compared to the US and Europe. I think you should pay accordingly. Many see Greece as a little middle-class country where they should be able to go and rule over the lesser Greeks and get away with paying nothing in a restaurant or taxi, grocery, or whatever. Other people, like myself, see Greece as jet-set, killer nightlife, cafes, beautiful people, yachts, models and Lakis Gavalas on a white horse at Villa Mercedes. For this Greece you pay accordingly. To expensive for you move on. Albania, Croatia, Moldova are all next door and waiting for you to pay a few dollars for a day on the town. One day, however they will be rocking the Gucci and the Louis Vuitton and nightlife and so on and they will want you to pay accordingly.

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Antonis Albertis July 26, 2010 at 6:40 am

As you can see I am in love with this country. I know times are tough. I know there are Greeks who are struggling. I know money is tight. I know stores are closing. I know that hospitals and universities are short staffed and lacking in crucial medicine due to this crisis. Not becaue we never had it mind you. We don't pay taxes, our cars and yachts are licensed to Liberia. Everyone has a swimming pool and there are only 5 registered. Foreigners are rushing through our boder and nobody knows what to do with them. We corrupt politions and citizens. To many dogs and cats on the strees. And on and on and on. At the end of the day, this is our country and we will do what we must do. We have done it for a thousand years. If you don't agree with me that is fine. Come to Dionysos, ask for me, I would love to here your opinions. There are only 10-11 million of us Greeks. Between myself, my family, the Niarcos and Latsis families and even Athina Onassis. If Greece and Greeks were to fall into the sea. We would be there to do whatever we could do, even if it meant becoming poor. Well, perhaps middle-class.

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Antonis Albertis July 26, 2010 at 6:49 am

Nana Mouskouri has givin much of her networth and her entire pension to the Greek state. The government is looking to sell a few Greek islands as well. Many Greeks that I know are ready and willing to buy anything to keep them in Greek hands and to support the cause. Greeks everyhwhere are ready. I and many others would die, or at least go broke for this country. I would give my arm for the parthenon. We are a people who let our homes burn in Olympia in order to save the ruins of our ancestors. We must remember that and not lose that. That is how we survived as a people for so long and that is how we will survive into the coming future. Together. For it was together that we defeated all our greatest chalenges in our history. Dimitra, someone like you, if you are Greek, would never be left in the cold. Someone like me would not alow it. It may just take me some time to find you, or someone like you. That is if you are having a problem, I am not saying that you are. I am saying that I simply see you as a sister and I think we have forgotten that part of our heritage.

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Antonis Albertis July 26, 2010 at 7:09 am

One more thing for someone like Tracy Eldrid. I've been out of school for a while now. However, I do remember transfering from Greek to American schools and being way more advanced in my studies. I don't know what it is like to go to school on an island or small village. I don't think it's going to be great, probably like "Little House on the Prarie" However sub-standard, I think not and I would have to go to Thassos and see for myself and I will when I am there in the future. I have never known Greek schools to be sub-standard. My family has a scholorship program for Greek students to go abroad for university. The level of there education is very high and I've never seen them as not achieving a proper education. This is the first I've heard of it and I will look into it. There is public and private school and you pay for private. I don't know anybody that has paid for a public school. Remember if you are not Greek and enter an establishment where you are to pay the prices may change on you. That is how it is. If its Greek owned, beware.

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Antonis Albertis July 26, 2010 at 7:22 am

I've bought expensive diamonds, rubys watches, etc. Gone to get them cleaned while hanging out in New York or London only to be told that they don't due glass and or gold platted. This happens, I'm wiser. However, remember, when you go somewhere they will change the price on you if you are western and gullible. No offense, but Greeks only due this if they think that they can get away with it. In other words, you look like an idiot and I can get a few more euros out of you. I've said enough. I've never written so much in my life. On the computer that is. Have fun, enjoy your summers. Go see U2, go to Mykonos (it is on fire this year), come by Dionysos for a chat. Gia sas, ciao, adios and ZHTO H HELLAS. BRAVO Y VIVA ESPANA Y AFRICA DE SUD.

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Anthi August 10, 2010 at 2:35 pm

Antoni, take it easy my friend. Everyone loves their country but open your eyes a little and see what's going on around you. You may have money and you may be successful in what you do however sorry, but you are not the norm. Not every Greek can travel to Monte Carlo or Miami as you do, not even every second or every third Greek. From what I read, I understand your bank account is pretty big so no wonder you think everything here in Greece is soooo nice. Well when you can afford paying the best private school for your kids or the best doctors when you're ill, I guess it is paradise. However, try for a change visiting a puplic school or social hospital and why not visit a friend's appartment in Kato Patisia for example (if you even have friends living there) 'cause sorry again, but houses in Ekali are not the norm for Greece either. I don't think you'll have the same opinion after that. So, ok our country is not the worst in the world but come on let's not make it sound like it's the best. Like every country in the world we have our problems, in some sections worse and in other sections smaller than other countries but the bitter truth is that most of us are just lazy and grouchy people who for many years thought of ourselves as at least Directors even though we were not even worth for serving coffees and now the time has come to pay for our cocky attitude.
And as for our education, well our educational system is pure shit and our public schools are wrecks. And I am telling you that 'cause I'm a special education teacher who every year in winter freezes in the classroom, every summer melts and every september tries to figure out where to find teaching aids 'cause the school has nothing to provide.

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Antonis Albertis July 26, 2010 at 7:29 am

It's 30C todoay and 20C as a low Dimitra, by no means the saharra. I think your complaining to much. Seriously. I was in Miami, Vegas and my sister and I went to Charlotte North Carolina in the US for a business trip and died. 105F. I don't get all the complaining. At least not on that. Love you anyway Dimitra. Gia sou.

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Aristeidis Latousakis July 27, 2010 at 10:01 pm

I've lived for 4 years in the UK (both Wales and England) as a student and in full time employment. What I really hate to say, is that despite I was born Greek and I will die Greek, this country tends to hurt me more than giving me good times. Nobody recognized my studies, my skills, my background experience. They just said "OK, you are new to the market, go get your 580 euros (in 2005, after my "compulsory" army service). I left from the UK in December 2003 and I was getting 950 pounds a month, and in 2001 during my gap semester, my salary was 1300 pounds at a TV company. Right now I work for Vodafone in Greece, for 13.000 euros a year! Such a recognition, such an ambitious payout of my knowledge…

I spent my forthnight of summer holidays, driving around EU. I really adored Barcelona. An ideal Greek city, in a nutshell! Everything working, everyone's happy, everything's affordable (not as good prices as in Greece, yet good prices), and NO SIGN OF ECONOMIC PROBLEMS. Spain and Portugal are known to be on the spot of the Finacial institutions after Greece, BUT there's NO sign of terrifying the citizens; on the contrary, in Greece we wake up Crisis, we work Crisis, we lunch Crisis, we dine Crisis, and we sleep in nervous crisis… Everything rotates around economy deficiency. Everything gets worse from the country itself and the media; yet you can't cut yourself from the knowledge of the news… But the more you listen, the more you scare, the less you can progress, and the more we see strikes and riots coming up (like the latest with Ait traffic Controllers and truck drivers)….

I live my myth in Greece, where my fiancee is going to have a degree that will be useless in this country in animal production, since people are leaving the suburban areas to go to big cities. Decentralization is a term pretty much unknown to Greeks…

I live my myth in Greece, because for the sake of the 250 days of sunshine and the "Halara" (slow and easy) spirit, we greeks always blaim "the others" for our faults (and we never know who these others are; something like LOST!), we always expect from the others (other others!!!) to make things better, we tend to hate immigrants as they are not greeks, yet we greeks don't have the will to go and work in labour, but when an Albanian gets 80 euros a day at a construction site, we groan!!

I love my country, but my country hurts me. My own company bankrupted, because the tax office froze my assets and asked me to pay emergency taxes on top of some great taxation, not including the VAT rates of 11 and 23%, and NOBODY asked me if I ever got the money from what I sold from the customers I sold the goods… But that's a whole different story to analyze

I wish that the date of my departure from this country will be close enough. And I've been to many places, not just the UK. I've been to every European country, to Asia, and America in Cuba. It hurts me, but, i'd rather live under a military-police governed country like Cuba, rather than being ripped off from the country than born, raised, and threw me away…

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Dimitra August 30, 2010 at 8:15 pm

Hey Antonis, I agree with some of what you say…but… because your living standards, as you describe them, are above the norm here, you have the luxury to be optimistic. I'm not complaining… I'm pointing out a few sides of life here… the life the majority of us lead in this country and which we seem to be powerless to change.
Aristeidis Latousakis and Anthi have given a good description of certain aspects of what life really is like for the majority of citizens living in this country.

Aristeidis said something which I'm sure expresses how the majority of us Greeks here feel… "this country tends to hurt me more than giving me good times". He hit the nail on the head, as far as my experiences are concerned. I feel like I'm giving, giving, giving and getting so little back. But I'm still working on it. It's nice to feel appreciated as a citizen. For example, IKA (social security) states that hospice care is one of the benefits we pay for in our contributions as working citizens. But when it's needed, it's not provided. I've experienced this myself. Or when a pensioner has been paying a supplementary pension scheme all his working life, not because he wanted to, but because it was mandatory by the government and is now told that this supplementary pension is cut completely…. how does this country appreciate the contribution of this pensioner all these past years? How does one really live on 650 euros a month as pension, when his rent alone is 450 Euros? Where can he find a one-room house for less rent?

Anyway, there is a whole list of "complaints" I could write here… read what Aristeidis says: "a country where he was born, raised and which threw him away". That's the reality for the majority here, my friend. We are made to feel unappreciated and unwanted and are left with a bitter taste. We want to offer and are turned away.
As for the universities here… hmm… IF the professor is in a good mood to show up, someone may get educated.

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Antonis September 6, 2010 at 5:18 am

I understand everything you say Dimitra and Anthi as well. However, I am mostly annoyed by all the worlds attention on us at the moment. I travel a great deal and it has become an issue for me. There arm many economic problems everywhere around the world. Even the great US is having major problems. Spain, Italy, Portugal, and Ireland are no better. Iceland and Dubai have alreadey gone bankrupt. I am simply sick of everybody having an opinion on Greece all of a sudeen and they haven't even been to our country.

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Angry Greek October 11, 2010 at 1:17 pm

Dubai is not bankrupt you schmuck. you talk too much. be quiet.

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Antonis September 6, 2010 at 5:32 am

I have been to Kato Patisia many times. Titan Cement is located there. One of the top ten cement companies in the world and I have some investments in the company via Florida and Virginia in the US. I also do a lot of charity and fund raising for the General Hospital of Patisia on Chalkida. The place is a mess and you can't walk two minutes without being bothered by refugees that have takin over. Kato Patisia was a fine place as I was growing up and now is ruined by all of the foreigners there. I don't blame them for everything, but I do blame them for much of what has happened throughout Athens. I have no friends there and I never really go there, but it was not this way when I was growing up. It has changed. The way I live in Athens is not the norm, I know. It is not the norm how Americans live in Beverly Hills or how English live in Holland Park either. The reality that I know is that Athens has over ten high-end towns. It is not just Ekali, but also Kifisia, Beteli, Glyfada, Philotha, Voulgameni, Voula, Sounio, kolonaki among others. Not to mention the islands.

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Antonis September 6, 2010 at 5:43 am

Greece has never really had slums or dirt poor people. This is a new phenomina that is happening for various reasons. Don't think that an old lady, dressed in black, with no teeth on Crete is poor. I think not. My grandmothers look like that. They have teeth though. LOL. 650 euros is almost 1000 dollars. That is not much less than what Americans make. Get a roommate like Americans do and you will be fine. Then you would get over 1200 euros. I went to New York to live when I was 21 and had no money because my family doesn't like the US. So I was on my own with a 5000 dollar rent payment I could not afford. I got 2 roommates and everything worked out. Greeks (especially young Greeks) need to discover the roommate. Everywhere I go for fun I see many Greeks there as well. Not one in ten or whatever it was. We have many many wealthy families. Shipping and many business families. Not to mention every other person is a celeb.

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Antonis September 6, 2010 at 6:13 am

I can't really comment on the state of our schools and universities. So I wont. I've been out of school for a while now. I finished school very early. No air-conditioning, I had no AC in my school in Athens nor did I have it abroad. I did have it in the US. No heat however. I've never heard of such a thing. I will have to look into that. Books and supplies as well. I know funding has been cut in certain areas. We have many ethnic minorites in Greece now as well and they don't have good facilities either. I'm not paying for them though. I meet many Greeks nowadays that are Greek-American, Greek-Albanian, Greek-Russian, Greek-Armenian, Greek-Uzbec and so on. I don't count them. Sorry. I will one day when they are processed correctly and not just illegal. Aris, however, I feel for, but come on. He would rather live in Cuba. I've been to Cuba and the people can't do a thing. I can't even bring my Cuban friends to my hotel room for they are not allowed anywhere near the tourist areas. Not to mention it is shameful to the many Cubans who drown every year trying to make it to Florida in INNER TUBES.

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Dimitra September 10, 2010 at 10:08 pm

Just a note about Kato Patissia. I know what you mean. My husband and all his friends grew up there and it used to be a typical nice, friendly neighborhood which has turned into a slum.
As for the schools… it's not the facilities that's the problem… on the contrary. It's the lack of funds to maintain them, but most of all its the constant changing of the system without adding any value. No public school has air-condition, but most of the schools are accommodated in decent buildings… that run down and pose a danger to the children.
As for the teachers, if you visit a certain website where Greek public teachers discuss you'd be shocked at the bad advice some give their colleagues, at how they advise to ignore the law and apply their own view of how a school should be run, how they view education and how involved they are in their own political parties rather than on Education itself. How they are more obsessed with how much they're paid (and they're paid darned well compared to the hours and quality of work they offer, but try telling them that). And then you have a great number of teachers with dignity, who strive to make a difference, but are up against a wall of obnoxious colleagues and principals with political agendas and no tools to work with.

You have a point of finding ways to get by, like getting a room-mate… but… come on… how is an 80 year old going to find a room-mate?

And last, yes. It is very annoying when all the attention is turned towards our country when it comes to badmouthing it and not much is said about similar conditions in other countries. But, here, we're Greeks complaining about life here in Greece and so far, those who aren't Greek and have posted here haven't really said anything that isn't true.

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Wayne Coles-Janess September 24, 2010 at 11:22 pm

well I've spent 6 years, up holding a promise to my Grandmother, who migrated to Australia in the 1930's to gain my Greek Citizenship and continue the thousands of years of Culture that is part of my DNA. – I seen some the best and worse places in the world. I try to visit Greece when I can. – I lament the loss of culture and traditions that rapidly passing, despite the GFC. And the Reality is Greece isn't that bad off? and has Amazing potential with art, culture, commerce and innovation. – honour the past to understand the future? A problem is that people outside of Greece don't appreciated the massive cultural changes, etc. – we are trying to document Hellas and its traditions before it is to late….
http://www.youtube.com/user/ipsofactoProductions#

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majiccarpet November 1, 2010 at 1:05 pm

I have a love for Greece that has been given to me by my Greek mother – a passion for the country far more than the country my father gave me, England. I have been coming to Greece since I was 1 year old, in my mothers arms and still I only see Greece for 2 weeks every year and I am about to turn 60. Think yourself lucky to be living in such a lovely place most of the year, I just dream of it!!!

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dtsaki November 3, 2010 at 8:48 pm

It is a lovely place… and I certainly love it… geographically speaking and in terms of weather and the warmth of the people.
It's the living conditions and the constant betrayal by politicians. No matter which government has lead this country, we have been constantly betrayed by corruption and hidden agendas.
Personally, I don't think there's a political party left which we can trust to lead this country.

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kerri November 27, 2010 at 12:28 pm

I have been living in greece for 20 years and to be honest then I thought it was the best choice i made, I thought bring my kids up in theuk was not a good idea but how wrong I was, my kids are now 17 and 14 they both struggle at school we dont have the money for extra lessons which they need, my husband work is out of control since greece has been taken over my albania and indian people and the price of living is crazy, I have just come back from the uk and also felt like crying, everything is so much cheaper, the wages from the work is double if not triple from greece and the education for the kids is a lot better there. My husband is now ready to make a trip to the uk and look for work there which will be hard but not as hard as it is in greece, it is not a thing now of wanting or not wanting it is a thing of having to.

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elena December 7, 2010 at 1:02 pm

from my own experience in europe, i could only say this: the middle class in greece lives better than the middle class abroad…….the majority have private properties (our parents used to buy houses for them and for us without morgages)……, spend money on vacation and on food, they buy healthy food ( of a certain quantity)and they do not wait for the offers to buy,(like in most european countries)…… when they invite people they can enjoy a delicious meal or dinner and not just a plate of pasta or a glass of wine…….(i.e italy, germany, just the basic nothing extra….)………they spent money on the education of their kids (even lower class people send thir kids on private schools to learn foreign languages……while in other countries the provision of private lessons to the children is a sign of wealth)….. and last but not least they could enjoy an owesome sea and a beuatiful sun allover the country almost 8 months per year…..

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elena December 7, 2010 at 1:02 pm

……the price for holidays is relevant because the beauty of meditteranean or aegean sea is paid a lot……but in any case is paid less less that sardegna or sicily in italy or in spain where you need twice as much to have the same commodities and services……unfortunately this style of living was not attractive to certain politicians who are in charge of underlying the european common policies and they do their best to make greek's middle class become poor and miserable as the same middle class in europe…….

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iman December 9, 2010 at 5:46 pm

Hi
I arrange my sabbatical leave in Greece and I like to know about accomodation cost in rental form in Greece.
thank you if you have some guidance to me.

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vaso June 9, 2014 at 2:00 am

I was thinking about moving to Greece from Australia for a year with my 2 kids (island with extended family unknown to kids) – young one @ primary and other mid-secondary neither speak Greek with any strength although I do – these comments are making me much more hesitant .. what do you expats think?

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tracy November 27, 2014 at 2:18 pm

So it seems (according to the replies) that the original reporter was quite off with his view/experience/recollection of Greece. It is also apparent that different Greek Islands vary with their ways of governing. Also you know that living somewhere for a month or two is quite different to living in the place full time – all four seasons. The original report mentions most if not all aspects of life for someone living/experiencing in one place, as opposed to just for the summer or a holiday. At the time, I did directly compare weekly shopping from UK and Thassos, for a family with three small children and a dog. The cost really was better in the UK, and yes, even on Thassos, our diet consisted mainly of seasonal fruit and veg. The prices were rising at that time too. The public educational system at the time was so dire, it was an awkward and poor situation. For those that think I was judging from a Brit perspective, I also spoke with other parents and teachers, who were of the same opinion!
The Health Centre was basically a reception centre for the mainland hospital, and given the tour of the local hospital with the vulture looking obs/gyn, I knew I wanted to be far away from there when I gave birth!
Unless one has the time to really talk about day to day goings on and the politics of the locality WITH the local people, where one lives, and lives the pains and struggles, I do not think one can comment on the underlying issues. I guess it is like hearing little pieces of something that happened from people nearby, as opposed to hearing a truthful account from the one it happened to.
I did move back to the UK after Thassos to continue with my career. I witnessed the whole country being governed in such a way I was scared for the future of my family. So I emigrated. Glad I did.

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