Travel Tuesday :- Quirky Travel Tips from Greece

I have a habit of being curious and noticing oddities. At home or abroad.

When I notice oddities or something different than what I am used to, I cannot help but do minor comparisons.

Greek flag flying high above the White Tower of Thessaloniki, Greece

Greek flag flying high above the White Tower of Thessaloniki, Greece

Here are some things I noticed while in Greece…

1.  Air Lock Entrances to Bank Branches

Coming from Toronto, entrances to a bank is similar to entrances to any shops with the exception that some are accessible with a bank card during after hours, if the ATM machine is inside the vestibule.

The doors to banks in Greece are very special. First, entrance and exit are separated. Each is a double door system. To enter, you have to press a small button when the green light is lite, you can open the first door. Once the first door is closed and locked behind you, you may press the second button beside the second door. The second door will only open if the first door behind you is closed and locked.

To exit the bank branch, it is the same system. I wish I could take photos of this security system but I did not want to risk the security guard to take away my camera.

Bring patience if you have to enter a bank. OR Imagine that you’re entering a highly classified special facility!!

The only other country I have seen a similar security system is Brazil. Though I remember I had to pass my umbrella through a special slot to the security guard before entering the branch.

2.  Dislike 100 Euros Bill

I found out the hard way that most places, including hotels and hostels do not accept the 100 euros note. However, I had received some from the ATM machine. What to do?! I went inside the bank whose ATM machine gave me the bills (and discovered Oddity #1) and found out even the bank does not like 100 euro bills!!

What in the world!? The bank teller did not care that the bank machine attached to her bank branch issued me the money. She told me that I would have to visit the National Bank of Greece and only there will they change my 100 euro bill.

I visited 2 other banks and both refused to exchange my 100 euro for smaller bills.

What’s a girl to do!? Fortunately, the lady at the bus station accepted one of my 100 euros.

3.  What time is it!?

While in Kalampaka, Olympia and Corfu – I had noticed a common thread. Many of their clocks do not work. They can be wall clocks, clock towers, personal watches – for some reason many of them are either out of battery or set to follow an unknown time zone. Needless to say, there was a few times where I had near heart attacks because I thought I had missed a bus.

4.  Missing Toilet Seats

Most countries offers 1 of 2 types of “facilities” – let’s call them Thrones or Holes. Most countries offers Thrones, a place for you to sit down and do your business. While other countries, based on their traditions or culture offer mostly Holes, though for accommodation of globalization, they have also incorporated Thrones.

This time in Greece, I have noticed a 3rd type – the Seatless Thrones. For reasons unknown, the plumbers here have often forgotten to install the toilet seat. This leaves one with 2 choices sit on the narrow porcelain bowl edge or “hover”. Ladies and some gents, I think you know what I mean when I say “hover”.

After a long day of exploration, I usually cherish the moment of privacy inside a toilet stall – sitting and resting, as sometimes I would walk for hours without a break. So of course, I appreciate Thrones. Though squatting over a Hole is definitely a more preferred choice than hovering over a seatless Throne. Why this 3rd type, I don’t know.

***

As my visit in Greece is not over yet, I may come back and add to this list of oddities… until then, Have you noticed something different? Share it here.

11 thoughts on “Travel Tuesday :- Quirky Travel Tips from Greece

  1. It can be so awkward trying to go when there is no toilet seat though…but does this apply to most places? Maybe they installed it but forgot they still have the toilet seat to install..haha

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  2. It’s almost 15 years since I spend a summer travelling Greece, especially Peloponnese and the parts where most tourists did not go. I loved it, a bus driver could just decide to stop for a frappé in the middle of the drive, and destinations were swapped on the chalk board the morning of departure (maybe it wasn’t quite that random but my Greek was/is non-existent so…), Anyway, since most buses at least out there on the countryside didn’t seem to follow a schedule, I asked a Greek if they a) need to be on time at work (yes!) b) how they do it when one never knows when the buses actually drive. She answered:” One has to estimate the delay”. Now you know 🙂

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    • LOL – Thanks for sharing your Greek bus experience. I’m writing a post about the bus system here. They baffle me too! While in transit to Olympia, the bus driver just stopped in the middle of the road, hollered something to a shop keep and he bagged a few of the snacks he was selling and brought them to the bus driver! Seems like not much has changed in 15 years!

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