Living in Greece

A practical guide to moving, living, working & traveling in Greece, plus musing and misadventures from an American in Athens

Athens, Greece: Quality of living vs. cost of living comparison 2007

Please be aware that updated rankings for quality of living and cost of living from Mercer are available for 2008.

Cost of Living Greece 2008” and “Athens, Greece: Quality of Living ranking 2008

Top 50 Cities for 2007

The Top 50 cities with the best quality of living, according to Mercer.

1. Zurich
2. Geneva
3. Vancouver (tie)
3. Vienna (tie)
5. Auckland (tie)
5. Dusseldorf (tie)
7. Frankfurt
8. Munich
9. Bern (tie)
9. Sydney (tie)
11. Copenhagen
12. Wellington
13. Amsterdam
14. Brussels
15. Toronto
16. Berlin
17. Melbourne
18. Luxembourg (tie)
18. Ottawa (tie)
20. Stockholm
21. Perth
22. Montreal
23. Nuremberg
24. Calgary (tie)
24. Hamburg (tie)
26. Oslo
27. Dublin
28. Honolulu
29. San Francisco
30. Adelaide
31. Helsinki
32. Brisbane
33. Paris
34. Singapore
35. Tokyo
36. Lyon (tie)
36. Boston (tie)
38. Yokohama
39. London
40. Kobe
41. Barcelona
42. Madrid (tie)
42. Osaka (tie)
44. Washington DC (tie)
44. Chicago (tie)
46. Portland
47. Lisbon
48. New York City
49. Milan (tie)
49. Seattle (tie)

The analysis is based on an evaluation of 39 quality of living criteria for each of 215* cities including political, social, economic and environmental factors, personal safety and health, education, transport and other public services. Mercer Human Resource Consulting performs this assessment on an annual basis to determine living conditions for expatriate employees.

While some dispute that this is not realistic and does not apply to the everyday person, it is important to point out that expats use the same public services, institutions and spaces as locals. Therefore, it is essentially a quality of living analysis for all residents.

In the end, it all comes down to personal preferences, circumstances and options. One man’s castle is another man’s ghetto.

To see the original version of this Top 50 list, click here.

Ranking of all cities surveyed

Mercer surveys 350 cities, however it excludes certain cities that rank consistently and includes others for the sake of diversity or to measure fluctuation in areas of crises or growth (i.e. Baghdad, Beijing).

To see all of the city rankings for 2007, click here.

Where’s Athens?

Although Athens, Greece was found to be the 29th most expensive city in the world, it did not rate in the Top 50 for quality of living and called third dirtiest city in Europe by TripAdvisor. It remains a “city we love to hate.”

The Greek capital was again the lowest ranked city in Europe at number 78. It moved up one spot from #79 in 2006, however it is important to remember it also jumped up 30 places on the cost of living survey. Bottom line, cost of living is outpacing quality of living by quite a large margin.

One could argue that it’s a vast improvement from its ranking of #196 in 2002 before the Olympics, but this is when prices were still relatively low. Greece receives millions in EU funding that could easily land it in the Top 50. website metrics

Related posts

Minimum salaries vs. cost and quality of living in the EU
Mercer’s Quality of Living 2008
Consumers pay double for basics in Greece, compared to other EU nations

27 Comments

  John wrote @ September 25th, 2007 at 13:45

Long time reader. First time commenter. Expat in Greece for last six years. I enjoy reading your site seeing that you choose excellent topics. I’ve decided to continue living in Greece but have seriously given thought to leaving Athens. I know I’m in the minority in that I continue to rent but I can’t see myself buying anything (that I would enjoy) in Athens. If I could find work any place other than Athens I would seriously consider leaving. Thanks again. John

  The Scorpion wrote @ September 25th, 2007 at 14:06

I’m surprised that San Diego was not listed. With it’s La Jolla and other upscale areas, you’d think it would have made it. Or South Orange County i.e., Newport Beach etc..

But, as you said, it doesn’t really mean anything. I suppose a person can find good and bad in every place.

  Jean-Luc wrote @ September 25th, 2007 at 19:41

Zurich came top? Zzzzzurich. Dull. I wonder what criteria were used. Give me Athens any day.

And Geneva second! That’s even worse. Geneva must rate as the most soporific city on earth. No snap, crackle or pop there, that’s for sure.

  vasilis wrote @ September 25th, 2007 at 23:26

Quality of living is a big phrase in three words. I think the point of this Top 50 is more the business plan about staying in cities than the way of people living. 78th place for Athens is too much for what it gives to the millions of Athenians. Fortunately, the metro and Attiki Odos gave a breather to people . Good evening Kat

  graffic wrote @ September 26th, 2007 at 21:04

Madrid is 49? I can believe that. But I hate that city, my GPS hates that city. I told myself to not drive inside the city again, leave the car outside the 50 Km diameter ring and use public transportation.

And… is Athens a city? I thought it was a bunch of roads and buildings. For pedestrians, its like suicide in the city. And what is a city without pedestrians?

I love my small city in Spain, it’s so quiet, everything is so close, and if you need something special you can always order online (I forgot the last time I bought a computer in a shop with doors and shelves).

Vasilis: I will add proastiakos (I love it).

Kat: I’ll move to live 3 minutes from my job. I don’t know if to work more or to enjoy more my time in Athens. Also I’d like to work in Patra, Ioannina or even Thessaloniki… but the opportunities are now in Athens for me.
:)

  Thomas wrote @ September 27th, 2007 at 00:25

Graffic, are you serious? I was in Madrid earlier this summer and everyone seemed so civilised on the road. They stop for pedestrians there! I don’t think I ever heard a single person honk their horn the whole time.

I guess you never know till you live in a place.

  rositta wrote @ September 28th, 2007 at 18:12

Living in number 15, having just come back from Germany and visiting Athens I can say that Germany is much friendlier to pedestrian and bicycle traffic than Athens or even Toronto. Toronto is kind of dull and Germany doesn’t have your beaches and your nightlife for sure….ciao Kat

  Kat wrote @ September 28th, 2007 at 18:40

OK, I’ll be the antagonist on this post.

Athens ranks low on the list because of corruption, non-transparent bureaucracy, lack of green spaces, discrimination, pollution, poor environmental measures, dirty power plants, low salaries, lack of economic growth, ailing education, weak infrastructure and social services, etc.

As Athenians we all love or hate this about our city. Some find the adversity to be stimulating and character building. Others find it annoying, time-wasting, stifling. I’ll be honest, I was in the former category and now I’m in the latter category. Nothing happened, I just changed my priorities and I’m lucky in that I have the option to do that. If I were stuck here, hadn’t enjoyed a higher standard of living somewhere else or didn’t have dreams that go beyond these borders, I might think this was heaven and be OK with staying.

John – I’m really glad you decided to leave a comment and introduce yourself; so many people don’t. Please comment more if the mood strikes you, and thank you for the nice compliment. People like you make it worth it to keep going.

Scorpion – I think San Diego was in the original 350, but cut because it likely ranked very high and consistently does so. Just a guess. I liked it there, but real estate is too high for my taste and I’m more earthy in attitude.

Jean-Luc – Zurich and Geneva are rather calm and peaceful, however I think a creative person can always find or make their own excitement. The great thing about high standard of living is it gives you the time and freedom to invest in other pursuits instead of worrying and struggling for basics.

Vasili – Quality of living can be interpreted many ways. They do the assessment by measuring a number of things that contribute to a resident’s well-being, but ultimately well-being comes down to a person’s own preferences, past experiences, circumstances, position and accessibility. In some countries, the government provides for all in an equal sense. In others, such as this one, some people have very little and some have way too much.

That said, I have met people uncomplicated by material things who are quite spiritual and happy. There’s a difference between what we want and what we really need. I try to keep a balance with that perspective in mind.

Graffic – I used to walk 15-20 min to my job every day, and I found it more pleasant (except for people yelling things at me and cars hitting me) because then I had exercise and power to move without paying money or waiting for anything. I just went. I hope you’ll like it better.

Rositta – That’s true. It depends on what someone is looking for — a lot of people think nightlife and beaches is plenty. As I’ve lived or visited most of the cities on the list, it’s easy to see each has its pros and cons. I believe if people live in a “dull” city, they’d be creative enough to find something to do especially if there were options and earned a salary more than the Greek average of 700 euros, which is what 43% of educated young people between 25 to 35 earn.

  yiannos wrote @ September 29th, 2007 at 09:27

interesting. these lists vary though. for example, the city i live in–Melbourne–has been ranked 1, or is at least in the 3 or 5 in most other surveys. as for Athens being ranked 196 before olympics, i’m guessing that was mostly due to poor transport infrastructure etc etc.

i wonder though how many Athenians still really believe their city is the ‘best place in the world’ after the huge increase in cost of living over the years. i honestly don’t believe many of them do anymore. i mean, they won’t openly admit it, but they give it away in subtle ways (yes i used the word subtle). there is a great amount of tension between the ‘old mode of living’ (drachma) and the new IMO, and it’s going to take awhile for Greeks to become adjusted to a different (re:”inferior” to them) way of life. i was reading an article how Greeks aren’t going out as much as they used to, how their homes are turning into ‘hotels’; basically pointing out the slow but steady cultural changes enacted through the introduction of the euro. there is absolutely no way back now. the door is shut. And for many Greeks, it’s a trying time in their lives. they can live in denial about it–as many of them do–but the fact is they are working longer hours now, and the sedimentary lifestyle they have become accustomed to is slowly disappearing right before their eyes. And there is fuck all (re:nothing) the EU or the ancients can do about it. it’s really up to them now.

as for quality of life, it’s true that it comes down to personal preference, experience, ambition, etc etc. Athens isn’t for me because i like space, i enjoy living in a big home, and i like making money. i’m not rich, but i make enough to buy what i want+need as well as having enough to save for a rainy day, which is important. i like to plan ahead. i hate living only for the day.

  frank wrote @ November 13th, 2007 at 07:51

I did some traveling in Greece this past spring and was surprised at the prices, which I would put about at the level of Spain for the way I travel. This seems high, given that the country doesn’t appear to be as rich as Spain. I travel a bit different from most people. Namely, I walk the countryside and so see a different part of Greece than most travelers. In fact, I seldom saw non-Greeks where I was walking. In particular, I walked the E4 trail on the Peleponesus during April and the E4 trail in Crete during May.

Hotels were typically 20 to 25 euro, including a full bath, very clean, nice furnishings and nice views. Tripoli was more expensive (like 35 euro) for some reason. Athens was the usual 25 euro, but the quality was low–however, I expected this given that it’s the capital city. These prices are actually cheaper than Spain, considering the quality. However, by dropping down in quality, I can usually get 10 Euro in medium size Spanish towns for a single person (they cut the room rate in half for a single), whereas that doesn’t seem to be possible in Greece (you have to pay the full room rate even if you are single). In France, I usually camp rather than use hotels, but if I did use hotels, they would run to more like 30 euros (room rate, as with Greece, no discounts in France if you are single).

What really shocked me was the prices for groceries in Greece. I mean things like yogurt were almost 4 euro for 500 grams, whereas in France I’d typically pay 1 euro for 500 grams of farmer’s cheese (same protein/fat content as Greek yogurt, French yogurt per se is watery and hence not comparable). And this is made in Greece, not imported! Restaurants were also pretty pricey. Internet access wasn’t bad. There are lots of places in Athens and Chania for under 2 euros/hour and several crowded places in Athens for 1 euro/hour. This is similar to Spain. France is hard to compare, since Internet cafes in the countryside there are few and far between. In the big cities, there are crowded immigrant cafes for 1 euro/hour.

The places where I walked did not seem wealthy, so maybe I’m missing something about Greece. I suspect there are a lot of Greeks working abroad and remitting funds to relatives who remain in Greece. Or else the Greek government is heavily subsidizing the countryside. The laborers in the countryside don’t appear to have any money at all, and I’m referring to the Greeks. As for the immigrants who do the really grueling labor (Albanians and africans), God knows how they survive.

This is an interesting technical discussion of “Why Greek prices are out of line with Greek incomes.” The bottom line is that this situation is not going to last if the Greek government opens the economy to competition.

I found the Greek people to be very friendly, but then that is also true of the French and Spanish. People in the countryside are friendly almost everywhere. It helps that I speak basic Greek (and Spanish and French) since rural people seldom speak English. But I was hassled by the Greek immigration police when I left for Turkey because I was approaching the 90 day limit on my visa (I was at day 86). They basically warned me not to come back. Why? They don’t want me spending any more money in their country? I’ve never received such a warning in Spain or France, even though I routinely violate the rules there. My gut feeling is that there is something strange going on in Greece. I wouldn’t be surprised to see riots in the street again like they had in Athens while I was visiting. And I mean big riots this time.

  Yianni wrote @ December 10th, 2007 at 09:39

Damn! I left Toronto (number 15) to come live in Athens (number 78) ? What was I thinking? Oh yeah Im in love! Damn it! …………ah look at the bright side, no more shoveling the snow off my driveway just so I can get my car out and drive for one hour to get to work in the middle of a blizard! …………hmm I wonder how the Toronto Maple Leafs are doing?

  Kat wrote @ December 20th, 2007 at 13:35

Frank – Many people come here for reasons that don’t make “logical” sense, and I know this because I tried for years to explain it to my parents and they never understood no matter how many times I sat down with them. This country is many things — beautiful, seductive, rich with culture, rich with history, proud. But it is those same things that make it very frustrating — so beautiful you’re blind, so seductive you can’t think, so steeped in history it’s stuck there, too proud to admit its faults to grow and move forward. It all comes down to personal choices and priorities. For some of us, including me, it’s not that easy to turn my back and leave even though my eyes are wide open to the reality of what my life has become and will be if I stay.

And just so you know, my Swedish friends made many of the same observations as you during their 2 weeks here. Certainly the quality of food and services was better and more affordable in non-tourist spots, but on the whole they were shocked that prices were so much more than Sweden (one of the more expensive EU nations) knowing that the quality of living was generally poor, our salaries are so low, people were rude, unsmiling and unaccommodating, and everything appeared overpriced (they paid 300 euros a night in one place that was only of 2 star quality in the Peloponnese; dinner was 50 euros for 2 substandard pizzas and a bottle of local wine). They stated clearly they would not return, but instead spend their money on a destination offering them more for their money — Turkey, Spain, Portugal, Philippines, California.

Regardless, I was happy to see them.

Yianni – Hang in there, file! You cracked me up with your comment about “damn love” and the Maple Leafs. Are you telling me you don’t see hockey games here? LOL

  McDuck wrote @ January 12th, 2008 at 16:29

You’ve got to think Athens as a playground. If you change the term “standard of living” to read “best place to live if you’ve got the money issue resolved”, is Athens still 78th?

It would be in my top 10, conservatively.

  Kat wrote @ January 12th, 2008 at 17:35

I don’t know who ‘you’ refers to.

But speaking only for myself, Athens would still be low on the list because standard of living or best place to live depends on much more than money in my world. Of the 300 cities in 36 countries I’ve seen, Athens pales greatly in comparison. I found that a lot of people who love Athens are: (a) Rich, (b) people who haven’t been exposed to living in another country or (c) visitors (tourists/expats/Greeks abroad) who don’t actually live here.

As I said in the article and many times before, “one man’s castle is another man’s ghetto” and it’s a matter of personal preference and personal priority. Could further comments on this post please add something different instead of simply repeating what I and others have already said? Thanks! :)

  cameron wrote @ February 6th, 2008 at 18:53

One man’s meat is another man’s poison. I don’t pay attention to this kind of information.

  D wrote @ February 8th, 2008 at 12:23

You’re awfully controlling about who can say what on your site. When you put a site up for the public, the public will comment.

I imagine you’ll end up closing the comments when your opinions are challenged too much – just as you did when your willfully ignorant political views got the flak they deserved.

  Kat wrote @ February 8th, 2008 at 13:42

C – Hmmm, then why did you read it? ;) *Sigh* Yet another commentator repeating what I already said. In any case, thank you for dropping by and perhaps there will be something of interest to catch your attention in the future.

D – Hello to you in the USA! You’re awfully controlling and judgmental about what a stranger can and can’t do with her own website. In any case, “controlling” is not a word I’d use to describe an attempt to stimulate new, interesting dialogue. It’s boring to hear people repeating the same thing over and over, especially when all they’re saying is what I originally said. Since people agree with me on this post, I’ve not a clue what you’re talking about.

Being personally attacked based on a reader’s own ignorance and nationalistic blinders is not “being challenged” or constructive criticism, and is quite another matter. For example, being called “willfully ignorant” as in your comment.

I only close comments (which is my right) when a discussion goes around in the same sad circles or antagonists refuse to accept that my mind won’t be changed by a few dissenters, i.e. Does Ta Nea or the Washington Post change its views and format because a few readers are upset? No. I respect different views and don’t try to change others, but my different views are labeled ‘ignorant’ (as you did) and must be beaten and hammered at until I submit defeat. If I am indeed so unworthy of your attention, why do you continue to stalk me on this site and other sites since the wildfires?

I’d appreciate if you’d start a website, so I can be enlightened and come over and do the same thing to you. Mucho thanks :)

  FMS wrote @ February 8th, 2008 at 15:42

I frequently wonder if Greek people even understand the concept of dialogue or debate. As I understand your position, Kat, this is what interests you — rather than imposing a stale and static view on others. On the other hand, so many things in Greece are like that, maybe people just assume that that is your intention. Another possible explanation is the sheer passivity of Greek people: instead of responding to a problem, they prefer to deny that the problem actually exists! (The famous ostrich in sand syndrome.)

Evaluation of quality of life is a difficult thing to do, because it is full of assumptions and value judgements. However, some things can be stated succinctly and uncontroversially. So, here goes:
(1) Earning enough money to pay basic bills, have some social life and a few small luxuries, and to be able to afford to have children is one clear indicator. Athens fails miserably.
(2) Non-financial issues, such as being able to walk along a pavement, cross roads safely, rely upon basic infrastructure such as the police, courts, telephone, electricity, water — these are the minimum criteria for a developed country. Greece fails on most, and just scrapes through on others.
(3) Personal free time, when in full-time employment, is a crucial issue for quality of life. Other than the “stolen” days of simply not turning up for work, Greek workers suffer — especially those with more than one job.
(4) The local environment is a basic aspect of quality of life — buildings, streets, air quality, traffic and other noise, layout and design of the city. How does Athens fare with these?

So, with four basic starting points, Athens looks like a small disaster. One city that I adored living in was Madrid — for all the reasons that are given above [except earnings, because I didn't earn money in Spain].

  FMS wrote @ February 8th, 2008 at 15:48

More along the lines of traditional Greek thinking:

There’s an old Greek saying that goes: “If you don’t praise your own house it will fall on you.”

  Kat wrote @ February 9th, 2008 at 11:07

M – The ironic thing about the article is the ranking was taken directly from Mercer, and the other stats relayed from sources I attributed. I also stated from the beginning that, “one man’s castle is another man’s ghetto.” At no time did I do an analysis or state an opinion on the matter of Athens. It was purely informational.

In comments, I purposely designated myself as the antagonist because I have lived and visited the majority of cities on the list and can speak intelligently on what is different. I did it to spark discussion since people seemed hesitant to express their views. But there’s no real dialogue if someone just comes here and says, “Athens is a playground if you have money.” Yeah OK, but anywhere in the world is a playground if you have money. Or, “London is boring.” Yeah OK, but what’s so boring about it? Isn’t boredom a result of not being smart enough to create or look for some fun?

There’s also no dialogue on any post if people (who ironically don’t live in Greece but in the UK or my homeland) just come here to call me names or try to beat me into submission until I agree with them. That’s the equivalent of some guy off the street (who flew in from another country) entering the open door of my house, verbally abusing me without provocation and then trying to beat the crap out of me. Wouldn’t this time & energy be better spent reading a book or socializing with friends? How bored/angry does someone need to be to stalk me since August?

I also love Spain. Know why? People are very friendly, it’s clear that Spain cares about its people and has renovated/improved a lot public works with EU funds, prices are reasonably low, salaries have come up and there’s a marked difference from 10 years ago. I have not seen the same change in Greece.

In response to the Greek saying you quoted, I’ve praised this country for the past decade of my life, facing down naysayers who would insult it. When life became about being in the trenches with the majority and not living behind an elite protective shield purchased with an American salary, my blinders came off. Reality does that, and I don’t live in denial.

That said, no city and no country is perfect — if such place existed, we’d all live there. It comes down to one’s circumstances, priorities and preferences when settling somewhere that we hopefully deem beautiful in our minds and hearts.

  karen wrote @ February 27th, 2008 at 08:31

I enjoyed reading this site and seeing all the comments. As an American who has lived in Greece for 30 years, I think I’ve experienced the best and worst of Greece. I spend a few months of the year in the USA now that I am no longer working and have to say find it a breath of fresh air. Granted Greece has normally great weather, nice food, great swimming, but I believe is totally lacking in many other areas.

For instance, other than bouzoukia and tavernas there is very little in the way of entertainment, unless you go to the other spectrum of Epidavros, Megaron. What if you are somewhere in the middle ? Not a lot for people like us. Also very expensive here to do certain things. As an example, swimming at the municipal pool in Glyfada is 5 Euros a time, compared to $2 US when in the States. And what about adult education? In the States you can attend night classes or sign up for photography, foreign language classes etc in almost all large cities for reasonable tuition. In Athens, aside from the Open University (very expensive) and some classes at Athens College there is nothing on offer than I am aware of.

I constantly hear the expression “In Greece we work to live and in America you live to work”. I agree than Americans work long and hard but life cannot always be one long coffee break (I find it amazing how many young and able-bodied people spend their entire day drinking coffee here), or just hanging out.

I think Greece is wonderful for an extended holiday or even a part-time residence but has very little to offer otherwise. If it were entirely up to me I would not live in Greece, but sometimes we compromise for the sake of family. The one area where I do think the USA is in a weaker position is healthcare from a cost point of view.

  Xelidonaki wrote @ March 3rd, 2008 at 20:43

This list is interesting. I’ve often longed to live in Switzerland because of the clean air, clean roads, orderliness and safety. And I’ve often heard or read that people who are wealthy or come into a bit of money go and live in Switzerland. It’s the place to go if one could live anywhere and I fully agree with this idea. Then again, I don’t really like my environment to challenge me on a daily basis; I prefer to do that myself through studying or some other daily pastime. Thanks for allowing views on this.

  The Scorpion wrote @ March 4th, 2008 at 08:58

Karen, great comments. The time for lounging around will eventually come to an end. As an old salt tells me. IN Greece, the first generation earns the money, the second generation spends the money, and the third generation is broke again.

This generation of all-day long coffee drinkers will one day reproduce and their children may not have access to the wealth that their parents had.

  karen wrote @ March 6th, 2008 at 19:18

Scorpian, how true your comments are! We know several Greek families with adult children (late 20′s) who not only are fully supported by mom and dad, but who have their salaries from their jobs as spending money, while mom and dad pay for an apt, utilities, food etc, etc. There are others who do not work at all, but live off family wealth. As parents, of course we want to help our kids get a leg-up but to support them 100% is doing them no favors. I agree with you that the wealth accumulated in previous generations will cease to be passed down if today’s generation do not take it upon themselves to find their own way. There was actually a very good article in the Greek Kathimerini about this and how so many Greek kids have studied abroad, gotten good degrees but because they cannot find work related to their degree, sit home (or at the cafe) and let mom and dad support them. In other cultures a 30 year old has a family they are supporting, working full time, with a mortgage etc. In Greece 30 is considering still “young”….

  Skordo wrote @ April 11th, 2008 at 19:18

When we mention quality of life, we have to consider all things. In every city, in the poorer areas we have crime, graffiti, garbage, and low standards, but in Greece it seems that locality does not matter.

All over Greece the garbage and the electric power outages were signs of a greater failure in Greek society. It shows that Greeks are not concerned about their fellow Greeks. The country has no social consciousness. It’s everyone for himself. Turning the power off and not picking up the garbage by a handful of people in order to pressure the government to maintain their economic demands is the ultimate in disregard for their fellow citizens.

The government was voted in by a majority of the people. The people knew that the government had to do something about pensions because the retirement funds would be running out of money. I know personally one man who retired from DEH in 1978 at the age of 50 and has been collecting his pension for 30 years. I know another old lady who is now 83 and retired from the Bank of Greece at the age of 45 and she too has been collecting her pension since then.

Most Greeks point at Americans for being money hungry. Americans can never compete with the Greeks when it comes to greed. Most Americans work for their money and they look down upon people who are waiting for handouts from the government.

So next time they cut the electricity on you just think that the people that did this to you are collecting their pensions at 50, getting free electricity, free medical care and I don’t know what else. Your electric bill went up 10% this year. Did you get a 10% increase in your salary this year? Instead of blaming America for everything that goes wrong in Greece you should put the blame on people closer to home.

The country, no matter how beautiful you think it is, it’s populated by scoundrels and scofflaws. Even it’s beauty is destroyed by these dolts.

Today I had to take the tram to go to Neo Faliro from Glyfada (supposedly nice areas). I was looking out the window and all along the way there was nothing but graffiti. There was graffiti even inside the tram. The map that shows the stops stopped operating and just had a message about having a nice trip. The automated announcement which tells people what the next stop is announced that the next stop would be Neo Faliro and it was actually Agios Alexandros.

I started thinking about how this tram ride compared to the one I took less than four years ago at the time of the Olympics. Back then the city was all clean and nice. Today I only saw shabbiness. And in a way this shabbiness reflects the Greek people. They have no pride in their country. They do not care about their fellow citizens, and yet they wonder why the rest of the world looks upon them as objects of ridicule when they think they get some power from a silly Veto of Macedonia.

If they have no respect for themselves why should we respect them?

Take a tram ride and you will see exactly what I mean.

  N wrote @ May 27th, 2008 at 05:22

I was born and raised in an island (lesvos) and i came to california a few years ago. This is what i believe:
First of all, comparing athens and giving greece a bad image is not fair. Athens is probably the worst place to live in greece, there are very very beautiful (and clean-er) cities in greece such as trikala, mitilini, thessaloniki and hundreds of other islands=paradice. If someone decides to live in gree he/she MUST have money because in greece nobody from the working class can make more money for the basic living. Life is so expensive and pay is so low it’s just impossible to have all the expenses and needs paid for and then money for yourself. I haven’t lived in all the countries in the world but i know that greece is one of the friendliest, social, outgoing and fun countries. “Higher-class” countries like the U.S are no fun and you have to live like a robot home-work-home, no meaning in life just chasing after the dollar all your life. People are so cold and boring in America + plus there is nothing to do. Best thing to do is go to greece for vacation only, and if your pockets and wallet are full then consider living there. In greece you may not have money to eat, but you enjoy every minute of life. The greek air, water, sun and sunsets are “all the money” as we say in greece…

  Kat wrote @ May 27th, 2008 at 09:33

Well, first of all, you live in Sacramento, which is middle-class-ville bordering on hick country, and not even listed on the survey so your comment is irrelevant. But to humor you, I’ll go along with it. I’ll say the same thing to you that you said about Athens: Sacramento is one of the worst places to live in California, where there are cleaner, more beautiful cities such as San Francisco, Tahoe, Los Angeles and San Diego. I don’t see how you can even compare Sacramento with Athens. Apples and oranges.

I know lots of people in America who aren’t robots, very dynamic, heaps friendlier than most Greeks here (the frowniest people in the world), very well off. And there’s tons more to do than just nightlife and tons more meaning to life in the USA than cafes, tavernas and menial jobs. Anyone who is “bored” or thinks there’s nothing to do just isn’t creative or smart enough to find it.

Believe it or not, there is water (oceans not seas), air (cleaner in the USA), sun and sunsets in America as well…and hey, the environment is a lot cleaner, less garbage strikes, no one cutting off your electricity and gas (which costs double) and you get paid on time with a decent salary. But I guess you find respect for human life boring also.

Anyone making statements such as, “In greece you may not have money to eat, but you enjoy every minute of life” should stop bitching about the USA and come back to paradise to starve and prove it. But since you already admitted in the same breath that Greece is only good for vacation and one must be rich to live here, I guess it’s another case of, “do as I say, not as I do.” And ‘hypocrite’ is a Greek word. ;)

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