Living in Greece

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

Archive for July, 2008

Tourist weddings barred on Greek islands of Santorini, Syros and Crete

Getting Married on Myrtos?
Due to the non-spiritual nature and commercialization of island wedding packages, a Greek Catholic bishop said that tourists could no longer be married on the islands of Santorini, Syros and Crete.

Hundreds of couples from the United States, Canada, UK and Australia come to Greece each year to be married at sunset with Oia, old forts and emerald seas as their backdrop. Travel operators are cashing in, rather than respecting the church’s holy sacrament and examining the legality of documents, with some taking bribes in exchange for ceremonies that would otherwise not be performed. Bishop Frangiskos Papamanolis decided to put a stop to that.

Wedding packages run upwards of 4,000 euros, some of which include clichè additions such as donkeys for transportation and wedding crowns (stefana) made of olive branches.

Original source is “No more big, fat Greek wedding” from Agence France-Presse (AFP) — article removed.

Related posts

Getting married in Greece — for visitors
Once upon a wedding” – from Mel’s Diner

Summer of devastation or preservation?

Greek Fires 2007
It was clear on the six-month anniversary that the government had done little or nothing to help victims of last summer’s wildfires or take the necessary measures to prevent another year of tragedy. Many of us knew that we needed to help ourselves, well before it was confirmed in May that Greece is not ready.

In the past weeks, there have been fires in Neapoli, Evia, Glyfada, Stamata, Glyka Nera, Imittos (several), Ag. Stefanos, Thebes, Markopoulou, Kythera, Galatsi and Kalamos, Rhodes, among others. Fires have become commonplace, sadly to the point many are apathetic or no longer shocked unless it directly affects them.

True, no country is safe. My home state of California suffers wildfires each year of greater magnitude than Greece, but the immediate and organized response by authorities is evidence that the government is ready to protect its residents. The Greek ministry’s report shows that Greece is ill prepared, with a system that is chaotic, uncoordinated and splintered amongst 29 prefectures and 45 authorities. Firemen do their best, but are short handed and some unpaid.

We cannot depend on the Greek state, and the worldwide community will likely be unsympathetic as last year’s donations in the amount of 160 million for fire aid still haven’t been dispersed. As we head into a heatwave this week and high winds persist, let’s take a moment to think about fire safety.

See, “Get ready for fire season.”

Photo from

Get ready for fire season in Greece

Fire extinguisherIt’s important to understand how fires start, what we can do to prepare ourselves, protect our homes and help neighbors if and when that time comes. Even if you only do a few simple things or heighten your awareness — or that of a neighbor and your family — it’s better than nothing.

How fires start

* Improperly discarded cigarettes — Flicked from a car window or even at street level, making contact with dry brush/grass, paper or garbage (cigarettes account for 1 in 4 fires, but is higher in GR due to the high smoking rate)
* Cooking — Outside ovens, BBQ grills and cooking fires (especially in summer), grease fires, unattended pots/pans
* Fuel — Gasoline, kerosene, butane, paint thinner, individual gas flames used to make Greek coffee in a briki
* Improperly burned garbage
* Electrical — Faulty wiring, electrical systems, frayed electrical cords of appliances (hair dryers, toasters, iron, coffee maker)
* Sparks — Flint and steel, muffler or tailpipe of a car dragging on the ground
* Lens-based — Magnifying glass, eyeglasses, mirrors
* Lightning
* Camping — Unattended campfires or inexperienced campers attempting to start them
* Space heaters too close to drapery, bedding and other flammable material
* Heating systems – Fireplaces, wood stoves
* Fireworks — Usually irresponsibly discharged (“Athens 2004 chief starts forest fire“)
* Arson

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