gorgeous hills of Sparta Greece

10 things I learned in (and love about) Greece

All traffic laws are negotiable

This includes speed limits, double yellow, one lane, car seats… doors… you name it, it’s been done. My friends back home thought I drove like a mad woman – nope, I drove like a Greek.

It’s always time for coffee.

Which usually turns into ouzo, a pack of cigarettes and a small town meeting given the time of day. Did somebody say backgammon? You’re never leaving the cafe! (which is awesome)

When you start on your journey...

When you start on your journey…


This term can be used as an adjective, noun, verb, or a term of endearment. Without telling any of my Greek friends I attempted to play a drinking game where I took a sip of beer everytime they said the word. After about 2 liters of beer- I gave up. Malakas!

Two men can hug and kiss without being gay – or drunk.

Yup, and in public even. No insecurity about it, no sidelong glances from others — just friends being friends. It’s beautiful!

You don’t buy olive oil from the store- ever!

Ever, Ever, Ever. If you don’t have your own trees to provide for your family, there is a relative who does, or a neighbor, or someone…. you just don’t buy it from a store.

gorgeous hills of Sparta Greece

This … is…Sparta! no but really, it is.


The Greeks invented everything.

I know you saw My Big Fat Greek Wedding- I know you laughed at the “kimono” part. It’s true friends, they did invent it- every word, every idea- it started here. Believe me!

Everything can be broken down to sex.

If it can’t be solved with olive oil or wine, it can be solved with sex. Ask any Greek man- oh, and they are more than happy to help you solve this “problem”, too.

There is always time… for everything.

A four hour lunch- Sure, why not? Driving down the main road and see your friend driving by? Stop in the middle of the road for a 30 minute chat- who cares? “Life is for living”.

Siga Siga

(Slowly Slowly) Almost as common as malakas is the phrase “Siga Siga”. It can be applied to any activity you are doing that you should slow down, and enjoy. Walking too fast? Siga Siga. Eating too fast? Siga Siga. Thinking too much? Siga Siga. Driving too fast? Ha, tricked you- you can never drive fast enough in Greece.

What is time?

What is time?


Theka Lepta (Ten Minutes) is a lie.

No matter how good the intentions, there is no such thing as ten minutes in Greece. “I’ll be back in ten minutes” “it’s only ten minutes by car” “we will have coffee for ten minutes” – it just doesn’t happen! According to my calculations, the average “ten minutes” is somewhere between 47 to 81 minutes.

There you have it- my broad sweeping generalization of the country of my dreams. Been to Greece before? What did I miss (or nail)? Let me know!

Brandy Bell loves adventuring around the world. She's been a solo female traveler since 2006 and has visited over 25 countries, made countless international friends, and now writes to inspire you to travel in a sustainable and responsible way.

'10 things I learned in (and love about) Greece' have 7 comments

  1. April 24, 2010 @ 1:39 pm Paula Swenson

    You pretty much nailed it all — my top 5 (in order): #s 1, 9, 2, 10, 8 !!! σιγα σιγα !!! and I’d add: everybody has a cousin (nephew/uncle) in America (usually New Jersey). What’s not to love?

    p.s. of course you drive like a Greek, you have a Greek psyche!


    • January 8, 2013 @ 11:01 am brandy

      i forgot about the Jersey cousins! I’d also like to point out that when I tell Greeks I am from California, the next response is usually “Ohhh Miami!”


  2. April 24, 2010 @ 6:14 pm Steve Kramer

    Yeah, you nailed them!
    As to #7:
    I was once told that the reason I don’t smoke was undoubtedly because of trouble with my woman.
    As to #2:
    If you are in Greece and someone invites you to coffee, cancel all other plans. You have been offered a window into the culture. These are golden moments.
    I would add #11: Every Greek man is a philosopher. He will happily talk the day away on the topic of the Greek ethos. This is especially true if you are female and younger than his wife.


    • January 8, 2013 @ 11:00 am brandy

      miss you Steve. hope you’re spending time with some philosophers on the other side <3


  3. January 8, 2013 @ 10:57 am Talon

    Totally digging #5 and #7.


  4. January 9, 2013 @ 2:14 am Forest Parks

    I laughed hard reading this even though I know it’s all so true! That being said I have never been to Greece but it’s in the pipeline!


    • January 9, 2013 @ 9:07 am brandy

      Hey Forest– you’re going to love Greece! Your travel rope will certainly come in handy too, in case attacked by wandering goats 😉 Thanks for the comment- looking forward to hearing your Greece report 🙂


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