“I would prompt my compatriots to visit Greece”
It was on the last week of April that Stephen Fry visited our country. Apart from just being here and constantly tweeting about that on his densely populated twitter account (over 5.730.000 followers already!) the famous Brit did us an extra honour: he gave an exclusive interview to Visit Greece about his impressions of his visit. “It was much more “Greece as normal” than I expected. I know things have been difficult, that unemployment has been running high (which is one of the many reasons I wanted to come back after so long a time, to show loyalty and support to a country I love) but I think Greeks seem to be bearing the cost of austerity better than we are in Britain. Frankly, if we had 50% youth unemployment there would be a million on the streets. The Greeks are still the same incredibly hospitable people they always have been. They love you to enjoy their country, their food and their history”.
Stephen came to Greece accepting the invitation by the Minister of Tourism, Ms Olga Kefalogianni. During his stay in Athens he strolled through Pnyx, Thissio, Monastiraki, and visited the museums of Acropolis and Benaki. He also received a tour by expert guides in the sites of Delphi, Ancient Olympia and Ancient Messini. He visited the late philhellene and personal acquaintance of his Patrick Leigh Fermor’s house in Kardamyli, and spent some time in the area of Pylos too. He rounded off this time’s Greek experience (he’s been to our country many times already) with some wine tasting from the vineyard of Attica, in the area of Marathon.
A lover of the Greek antiquity and an ardent supporter of the return of the Parthenon marbles to Athens, Stephen said: "I think, as do most, of the connection between Ancient Greece and the modern republic. Almost everywhere you look, you are looking at something that Socrates looked at, or out in the islands, even something Homer would have known. And yet, running parallel is a fully twenty-first century country of restaurants, 3G wi-fi and all that the things we rely on nowadays for a good time".
As to whether one should consider visiting Greece, Stephen Fry was crystal clear: "Accommodation and dining and travel are cheap, but the quality is higher than it has ever been. Young people can find any number of resorts that support their … shall we say hedonistic? … lifestyles and people of my age can see the new Acropolis museum, travel to Delphi, Epidaurus and the islands to reacquaint themselves with the matchless beauty and fabulous history of this great and glorious country. And we are allowed a hedonistic time too".
And that’s pretty much how another episode in the friendship between Stephen and Greece finished. We are looking forward to the next one!