Hi from Rick: It's Happily Greek to Me
|Bread is shaped by the hands and oven of the baker, not the dimensions of a plastic bag.|
For my last real vacation, I signed up for my company's Athens & the Heart of Greece tour. It was fun from the very start (I got a thank-you email from myself). I signed up to gain a better appreciation for Greece — a country I've always felt challenged to truly understand. I knew our guide would help the two-dozen of us accomplish that, and he did. In fact, I came off that 14-day trip with enough insights and new Greek friends to make two TV shows.
It wasn't the tasty Greek salads or the dramatic temples glittering in the sun that stoked my new-found love of Greece: it was gaining intimate insights into a rich culture.
I met people like Yiannis Dimitreas (in this month's featured video clip), who scavenges the hills above his village to stock his perfectly organic country store. He's evangelical about his chamomile, declaring: "It's nature's pharmacy!"
I developed a real taste for olives here — learning that, while they all look the same as they're shaken from the trees, every grandma has a proud family mix of oil, wine, herbs and spices to marinate them into family treats.
I got into the local logic that simply accepts, when you sit down at a café and see something spinning dreamily on a spit over a crackling fire, you don't need to bother with a menu.
And later in the evening, as clouds hugging the horizon seem to catch on fire, I savor the pleasure of studying the way a few drops of ouzo clouds a glass of water — just the way the moment permeates my complex and over-packed world. That's relaxation.
This month's Tour News has a brand-new look, as we focus our lens on the many eye-opening, pulse-slowing pleasures of Greece and Turkey — tucked side-by-side in Europe's most historically-rich and culturally-rewarding corner. You'll find fresh guide interviews, wow moments, audio insights — even tips for scheduling different tours back-to-back.
And if that's not enough, this week we're announcing our January Tour Reunion and kicking off our huge Holiday Travel Store Sale. There is a lot to celebrate. I hope you can join us. Opa!
P.S. Just a reminder that you still have a few weeks to take advantage of our special early booking discount — and save $100 on any 2011 tour you choose.