If you’ve ever been to Greece, you know that the Greeks are both hospitable and friendly. (They’re also not averse to take the clueless foreign tourist for a ride, but that’s another matter.) And one of the surest way to win their hospitality is to make the effort and speak a smattering of Greek. This generally holds true in any country, by the way, and the more obscure the language, the more your effort will be appreciated by the natives. Take this as travel tip of the week. 🙂
Before our holiday to Greece, therefore, I duly spent a year learning Modern Greek. But when we arrived, we found that the Greeks spoke English – badly but willingly; there was no call for me to open my mouth in Greek.
Having repeatedly finding ourselves eating a different meal from the one we ordered, however, my husband eventually suggested that as I could actually read a Greek menu and order from it, perhaps I should do so because he’d really like to eat what he ordered just for once. So I plucked up my courage… and in the next restaurant we went Greek.
The results were spectacular.
The waitress was absolutely delighted: she pointed me out to all the other diners in the restaurant. Fellow waitresses clustered around smiling. The cook came out of the kitchen, exclaiming “Bravo!” My children, whose Greek only stretched as far as parakalo (please) and efharisto (thank you), were fawned upon. We actually got the food that we ordered. The owner of the restaurant sat and drank raki with us at the end of the meal, on the house.
And this was how it went in most restaurants thereafter. (It was slightly embarrassing that none of us actually liked raki.)