Friday, July 10, 2015


Recently, we took a quick trip to Crete, one of our favorite European destinations. With a direct cheap flight and a known beach side hotel, we are all set. We’ve stayed there before and know what to do. Throw our bags down and walk twenty meters to the beach. Our first day there we arrived around 5pm, when most others were leaving the beach. We swam in the luke warm water, sat on the beach and read for hours. During the summer, it stays light in Crete until 8:30 or so. When we were finally squinting at our pages, we rousted ourselves and walked to find our dinner; Greek  salads of course.
With the ongoing Greek economic crisis, I started to worry a bit about our trip. Greece’s GDP has dropped 25% since 2008, on par with GDP drops seen in Europe during World War II. Unemployment is high, taxes are high and often uncollected. After years of budget battles and bailouts, Greece missed a 1.5 billion debt payment to the IMF and banks were closed to stop a run on money, the euro. Greeks voted on whether to accept more austerity measures but voted no. This means a possible exit from the eurozone, the EU countries using the euro.
All kids perked up on this one. Tori reminded us that she wrote an essay on why Romania should adopt the euro as they currently do not. We tried to talk about debt repayment, particularly poignant for the adults who are racking up big debts right now as we plot our move stateside, but not sure much was learned. We took out extra cash, as the banks closed on Monday, the day we arrived. As we drove in from the airport, we passed a few gas stations with huge lines of people worried about gas reserves. Adam likes to go to the little beach side market and buy us bread, feta cheese and olives for our lunch. He noticed the local products were all there but the imported products were not being replaced.
As went about our days there, we of course paid cash. On a scuba diving excursion, a fellow tourist tried to pay with a credit card but that did not work. He was directed to a bank that was closed. We left before seeing how that played out. Our scuba team, all professional and friendly, seemed not too worried about the economy. Granted they work with tourists only and are far from Athens. One scuba instructor introduced us to his two year old son, who was having a birthday party that day. Like everyone, we want a secure, even better, future for our children.  It’s the people we worry about when we think back on our many good times in Greece.


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