I traveled across the world for the first time to Athens, Greece with my study abroad class. The day we arrived my eyes were opened as if I have been blind to the world my whole life. As I got off the metro, the initial element that caught my eye was the curbs that were paved with marble. Then, I saw more and more floors, … Continue reading Elements of the Earth-Athens
Imagining the past when walking through the present can be a challenging but inspiring learning experience. Being in a city that has a history that goes back thousands of years will have a lot to tell. Learning from the past is the best way to have a better present and future. You don’t know where you’re going unless you know where you’ve been. Three main … Continue reading Imagining the past while walking through the present
Figure 1: The Vasilissis Amalias Avenue (Hellenic Parliament Building) in Athens, Greece (11), pictured above, has been the focus of a number of riots and protests in response to the Greek Debt Crisis that plagued the country following the 2007-2008 financial crisis. In the late months of 2009 the Great Recession was triggered with the accumulation of structural weaknesses in the Greek economy, and the Greek government undercutting its government debt and deficit level (11).
Figure 2: The European currency, the euro (pictured above) was implemented in 2002 replacing the Greek currency, drachma. The introduction of the euro into peripheral countries like Greece was done with the purpose of reducing trade costs and increasing overall trade volume across Europe (9). However, as labor costs rose in peripheral (less developed) countries like Greece, core (more developed) countries like Germany took away from these peripheral countries (12. As a result, Greece’s trade deficit rose significantly (1).
Figure 3: The streets of Plaka (pictured above) in Athens, Greece are filled with tourists. In 2009, following the global financial crisis Greece fell further into debt as its two main income sources, tourism and shipping, fell by 15% (1).
Figure 4: Overlooking Athens, Greece. With the country facing a great decline in private investment and high currency debt, Greek wages fell nearly 20% from 2010 to 2014 through deflation. As a result of falling wages, reduced income, and a rise in debt-to-GDP ratio, a severe recession fell over the country. Unemployment rose to nearly 25% from a quoted 10% in 2003 (1).
Figure 5: Even with significant cuts in government spending, and the country returning to a budget surplus in 2014, the country would be hit hard in 2015 as banks closed for weeks to prevent a complete financial meltdown (1). As a result, citizens lost their jobs and homes, and businesses and homes like the one above fell into ruins.
Figure 6: Protest signs outside the Athens University in Plaka. Following the 2015 election of Prime Minister Tsipras (11), Greece was facing its third government bailout. By the end of June, following multiple negotiations on the bailout an agreement had yet to be made and the Greek stock market closed in addition to the banks that had closed weeks before. On July 5th a majority voted to reject the bailout terms. As a result, stocks dropped with the prospect of Greece falling out of the EU. By the middle of July an agreement had been made by Eurozone leaders. However, many large debt holders and citizens who had voted on the decision were in disagreement with the negotiation terms and results (1).
Figure 7: Now in the middle of 2017, the Greek finance ministry has reported Greek government bonds approaching pre-2010 levels. While this provides evidence that Greece could be returning to some sort of economic normalcy, many people are homeless and without work (1). 71% of the homeless population in Athens became homeless in the last five years and 21.7% in the last year alone (5,6,7). Whether it’s selling flowers or playing music in the streets, many people are left finding other ways to make extra money since there are few programs that offer aid.
Figure 8: The projected tourist view of Greece is often of the ancient ruins in Athens or the white buildings and blue roofs of Santorini. However, lack of proper housing, a high homeless rate, and declined job opportunities are still the reality of many Greek citizens.
Continue reading “Turmoil in the Streets- The Greek Government Debt Crisis Plagues the Country for more than a Decade”
At around 1613 BCE, the island of Santorini had a cataclysmic event, the Minoan eruption. The caldera reached a VEI of 6 and the eruption column reached heights of up to 38 kilometers. This caldera forming eruption produced a 60 meter thick layer of pumice that blanketed the island. One specific piece of pumice named Petros was born on this day. After experiencing a terrifying journey … Continue reading Petros: An Unexpected Journey
Out of all things to notice when first arriving in Greece, it was the marble curbs that initially caught my eye. In the United States, people pay large amounts of money to have marble countertops or marble floors. There, it is a luxury to be able to afford marble products. Yet, in Greece, the streets in downtown Plaka are made out of slabs of marble. … Continue reading Built From Rock and Left in Marble
Doors lead to new adventures and the choice in door determines the outcome of the opportunity presented. This is my journey through doors discovering new, exciting, and sometimes scary experiences. Continue reading Opening a New Door
As the last morning in Athens quickly approached I searched my mind for a possible idea for this undertaking of an assignment. I wanted something special to me that held importance for my time here in Greece therefore I chose to document and photograph our journey from the beautiful city of Athens to the bustling little island of Santorini. The trip held importance to me … Continue reading Journey to The Burning Island
Every culture has its own unique cuisine, and it dates back to the very beginning of that country. For Greece, it dates back 4000 years and is a part of the history and culture of the country. Many of the ancient Greek foods are still present in the culture today; such as olive oil, white wine, wheat, and meat. I will be comparing the … Continue reading The Cuisine of Greece
Graffiti is found nearly everywhere in this country. From the upscale neighborhoods to the chaotic downtown, it dots the cityscape with messages about the great social unrest that turmoils this country. Amidst the mayhem, creativity and artistry also flourishes. Read through and experience what it may be like to face the problems of this fascinating place. No matter where I go in this beautiful country, … Continue reading The Graffiti of Greece: A Story of Social Outlet and Unrest