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Travel Deals / Dangerous Travel / Greece Travel / Greece / Athens Travel / Hotels / Political Travel / → All Tags
Remember how yesterday we went looking for all the travel deals that should have been popping up in Florida, because their tourism industry had ostensibly been wrecked by the BP oil spill? And remember how we didn't find any, because that was just something their governor made up? The situation in Athens, a city that's still in shock from the wave of recent deadly riots which rocked Greece, is in an opposite position.
Tourism to the capital really is in free fall, and the hotel deals really are eye-popping. If the world keeps spinning out of control like this, we might have to start making these posts into a regular feature. Anyone for "Disaster Travel: Pricelining Your Way Through A World of Political, Environmental, and Economic Upheaval?"
So if you're willing to take on a little bit of risk, and take out travel insurance, we've thrown together a few quick numbers and put them after the jump. If you start feeling guilty, remember that tourism makes up 17 percent of the Greek economy. They need this.
Memorial Day Travel / Culture Travel / Travel Deals / England Travel / London Travel / Greece Travel / Australia Travel / Travelzoo / Kayak / → All Tags
Memorial Day is about three weeks away, which means one thing: vacation time. While lazing on the beach is always tempting, you should probably go some place where you can learn something. We'll help you culture vultures can make the most of your extended weekend.
See our picks for Memorial Day culture getaways after the jump.
Istanbul is busy; Greece not so much
First it was the volcanic ash cloud holding up European air traffic, and now it's Greece as an entire country. Early this morning, Greece awoke to a planned nationwide strike, affecting everything from air travel to ferries to the subway and government offices. Civil servants, unions and more are protesting the nation's move to raise taxes, lower bonus pay for civil servants and retirees, and raise the retirement age for women to 65. And no one's going anywhere while they do it.
If you've traveled in Europe a fair bit, you've probably weathered a transportation strike or two. It's just part of life and there's no choice but to wait it out. This Greek mess may be a larger scale version of an average European strike, but its danger is that it has the potential to reoccur. The police has clashed with protestors and the government must continue with its plans or else face the wrath of countries from whom it's been borrowing money.
We'd keep our eyes open for cheap airfare to Greece if we were you; all these troubles usually lead to cancelled trips and more open seats...if your flight can arrive, that is.
The immediate problem: the entire country of Greece is about to go bankrupt. They've got overly generous pensions and benefits, they've displayed a seemingly petulant unwillingness to consider belt-tightening, and their government sector is veritably Italian in its efficiency and size. This is not the stuff that long-term economic health is made of.
The bigger problem: Greece is part of the Eurozone and, while its long been kind of funny to refer to them as the "honorary member," the other 15 countries who share the Euro aren't amused. The bankruptcy of any individual state would tank the shared currency, cascading across the continent in ways that are totally unpredictable (the upshot of a disaster which was never even a consideration when the Eurozone was formed). If it did happen, most of what we've thought about travel for the last decadedollar vs. Euro, the long-term stability of the EU, frictionless travel across Europe, etcwould quickly have to be revised.
The alternative is for the rest of the Eurozone countries to bail out Athens, allowing them to service their sovereign debt and avoid default. But the bigger European countries - Germany in particular - don't see why they should have to suffer just because the Greek language doesn't have a translation for "fiscal responsibility." Some Germans are even calling for Greece to be kicked out the Eurozone altogether.
My Life in Ruins, a new rom-com in theaters today, stars Nia Vardalos (My Big Fat Greek Wedding) as a tour guide in Athens who accidentally falls in love. The plot is as dull as it sounds, but Vardalos' character's chosen profession does provide some great vistas of the city. Taking a cue from Nia, here is our guide to the best of all that Athens has to offer:
Officials in Greece are trying to get stiletto heels banned at important archaeological sites because these evil heels are damaging the ancient stuff. To quote Eleni Korka, a director taking care of such ancient sites:
Female visitors must wear shoes that do not wound the monuments. These monuments have a skin that suffers and people must realise that.
Too many tourists is a bit of a problem at many of the ancient sites in Greece - a few years ago they did a big clean-up of the Odeon of Herodes Atticus theater in Athens and removed 59 pounds of chewing gum stuck under the seats in the process. For some reason they haven't thought of banning chewing gum a la Singapore, but the anti-stiletto movement is growing strong.
· Women Banned From Wearing Stilettos at Ancient Greek Sites [Daily Mail]
· Will This Be The Summer You Party in Greece? [Jaunted]
· Greece Travel Guide [Jaunted]
Last week we asked you if you're going to Europe this summer, and for the most part the wanderlust of Jaunted readers appears to be recession-proof. Many travelers who are intent on getting away are considering Eastern Europe, which tends to be cheaper and more accessible and just a little bit stranger than the standard London-Paris-Berlin itinerary.
If you're still deciding on an Eastern European destination, it's worth noting that some of our posts on summertime in Greece have included the phrases "oral sex competition" and "out-and-out degeneracy." The country is insane during the summer, whether you're close to Athens or you're gallivanting around the all-Spring-Break-all-the-time islands.