3rd International Planetary Probe
27 June Ė 1 July 2005,
EDEN Beach Hotel-Club,
Anavyssos, Attica, GREECE
An American Visitorís Perspective on Travel in Greece: "Itís not the Greeks, itís your Attitude"
I have just finished reading an article in Odyssey magazine, ďYou canít always get what you want.Ē I read this periodical avidly and have done so since its inception. Odyssey is a magazine written for the Greek diaspora and for the philhellene. You may know that there are probably more Greeks spread over the globe than in Greece, and this magazine features a wide ranging series of articles about them and about modern day Greece. Anyway, in this recent issue, Tania Kollias, who I guess might be a Greek American but I could be wrong, writes that ďÖin Japan you can get whatever you want but not what you need, while in India you can get whatever you need but not what you want. In Greece you get neither.Ē This is a generality that is the antithesis of my view of the spirit of travel. To me, travel is an adventure. Travel is not what someone does for you, but what you do for yourself. One of my most pleasurable tasks is planning for a trip. The challenges that limited time and a plethora of choices impose on travel and the problem solving which resolve them are part of what makes travel ultimately so rewarding. Travel without some understanding of the culture and history of the place devalues oneís experiences on the ground.
In 1982 a colleague in the philosophy department invited me to participate in a six week project with 20 of our students to explore the Greek origins of western civilization. My task was to teach something about the beginnings of modern science especially astronomy. I approached the task with a good bit of knowledge about early Greek Astronomy, but little of the Country, its People, the Culture or the Language. The program was a great success and we continued it for over 10 years. However, for me, it was an opportunity to learn to appreciate a new country and culture. Over the 22 years I have been traveling and working in Greece, sometimes with student programs and at others for research and pleasure, I have found Greece to be a country with beautiful scenic venues, an ancient country with a long and sometimes tragic history, and a proud friendly people. Itís possible to have a bad experience while traveling anywhere, but I strongly disagree with the point of view of the author mentioned above. If you plan well and travel with a positive attitude, you will likely have positive and rewarding experiences. Itís not the Greeks Tania, itís your attitude.
The location for our conference is near Anavissos (Αναβυσσος) at the Hotel Club Eden Beach some 35 kilometers south west of the modern new Eleftherios Venizelos Airport near Spata. (The new airport is named for Venizelos, a freedom fighter and leader in the unification of Crete and portions of Macedonia with Greece in the early 1900s, a great statesman, and several times the premier of Greece.) Athens is a mere 47 kilometers to the North with easy access by car or bus. The area is also known for its famous Cape Sounion (about 17 km south of Anavissos), the location of the Temple of Poseidon and a ruined Temple of Athena. The temples sit on a high promontory overlooking the Aegean Sea, one of the most inspiring sites in Greece. This is indeed a splendid venue for our meeting.
Michael Michelson, USA, January 2005