Category Archives: Europe

Greece Travel 7: From Mountains to the Sea and From Delphi to Santorini

After we left from the Altana (most comfortable and luxurious hotel in Santorini), we headed down to the port of the Thera. I checked the ferry tickets for departure time.

Turns out, the ferry was set to leave tomorrow, not today. We rushed to the ticketing office titled “Blue Jet,” and explained how we’d purchased the tickets to leave “today, not tomorrow.” The man providing service explained that since this was the second time we were changing the ticket dates, we’d have to pay extra. He was condescending and rude, claiming that I lied when I’d asked for Sunday and not Monday, raising his voice. I would have gone all out with him, but my husband decided that leaving the island was more important than winning the argument; we paid the extra fee and rushed for the ferry, which was the last to leave the Island that day.

Funnily enough, when my husband rushed over, the man who argued with me that entire time disappeared or rushed away, and we had to deal with another man, who had no idea what was going on. I wouldn’t recommend ferry service from “Blue Jet” as a result; they should have other ferry services, so try other ones instead; maybe they’ll provide better service than the one we received; which was the only sour experience in Santorini.

The ferry itself was nice. Because this was Greece, and there are many islands in Greece, the ferry stopped by Naxos, the largest island in Cyclades state. Known as the island that sheltered Zeus from god-eating father Cronus, Naxos is also the home to Dionysus, whose legend is well-known to most studying Greek mythology. The land is rich and fertile with perfect pH for wine grapes to grow; as a result, Naxos became associated with Dionysus, the god of wine and theatre all due to the exceptional soil and products in ancient world; that reputation continues to this day.

If Santorini is the Hawaii of Greece, Naxos is like a mix of DC and New York hidden in time, with marble structures, temple of Dionysus and other prehistorical ruins around, showing what was once a great marketplace and place of civilization. Yet if one were to visit it now, they’d only see a glimpse of what was once a great sea marketplace and a place of theatre, coveted by the great ancient powers, Macedonia, Roman Empire, or even the Ottoman. Anyone interested in time traveling should give it a go, even for a day.

After 5 hours on sea, the deck was wet and windy. Yet the people refused to go inside until we arrived at the Piraus Port in Athens. There will be lots of taxis in line for tourists; do not go with the first guy that approaches you; let them haggle for you. For example, we originally was following one taxi driver, who promised to take us to Athens for 70 euro, thinking it to be reasonable. However, another taxi driver entered the foray, and we were able to go to 50 euro because they were fighting. Needless to say, we did get to Athens. But feeling rather sorry (the route was surprisingly long), we gave a decent tip, and he left a happy taxi driver.

The taxi driver, if willing, will give you the current state of affairs in Greece; after all, we all know about the economic crisis that Greece faced recently. It may be a jolt of awakening bringing you back to today instead of the glorious days of Alexander the Great or Homer’s Odyssey, but it is simply continuation of life and time; it didn’t take away from the experience. Greece has existed for a long time, and will have to continuously develop and face forward.

By the time we arrived at the hotel, it was dark, and when we got to our room after checking in, we could see the lights bouncing off of the water.

The hotel we stayed at was rather old; however, the staff was exceedingly friendly and courteous, and sought to help in any shape or form they could. We ate at the dinner buffet set up by the hotel, and they were delicious, authentic and kind, just like the people at the hotel.

Next morning, we woke up early and saw the sunrise by the beach in Athens. The sunrise on the Aegean sea is a sight to behold, and one that I feel blessed to have experienced. One can’t help but wonder about the heroes of Greek myths standing by the beach and looking out to the very same Sun that I also got to see, although they knew it as Apollo’s chariot.


Coree ILBO copyright © 2013-2017, All rights reserved.

This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed in whole or part with out the express written permission.

Brexit and the Decreasing Housing Prices in London

Photo from Google Images

영국이 유로에서 탈퇴한 지난 2016년 6월 기준, 한 해를 되돌아보면 특히 부동산 분야에서 런던으로 집중되어 있었던 부동산 투자가 적어도 8%-10% 감소되었다고 영국 언론은 전했다. 감소된 부동산 투자는 이제 런던 근교의 부동산 시세까지 같이 하락하는 추세를 보이고 있다.

1990년 이후 3배로 오른 런던의 주택가격으로 재미를 보았던 사람은 이제는 재빠르게 런던에서 발을 빼고 있다는 것을 볼 수 있다.  런던에 부동산 투자를 한 사람들은 유럽에 살고 있으면서 런던에 자녀가 학교에 다니거나 아니면 천정부지의 런던 렌트 비용의 증가를 이용한 임대형 부동산 투자였다. 그러나 이젠 런던이 아닌 Woolwich (20% 증가) or Manchester  등 외곽지역의 학교와 학군에 눈을 돌리기 시작했다.

물론 런던의 부동산 시세가 상대적으로 다른 소도시에 비해 터무니 없이 비싼 이유도 있지만, 런던이 유로에서 탈퇴하면서  비교적 안정적인 다른 유럽권의 나라에 투자자들의 눈길을 보내고 있는 것도 사실이다.

런던의 평균 주택가격은 18million 유로에서 16.7 million 유로로 전년대비 8-10% 가격이 하락하고 있다. 유럽인이나 영국인들의 런던 주택 투자는 이제 런던에서 조금 떨어져 있지만  비교적 교통이 좋고 학군이 좋은 지역을 선호하여 투자를 하고 있다.

유로 탈퇴와 사회가 불안하다는 이유, 특히 최근에 발생한 테러등으로 런던이 안전에 많이 취약하다는 것이 알려진 뒤로 가급적 조용한 지역으로 투자자들의 눈길이 돌려지고 있다. 이들 조용한 지역에 있는 은퇴자들을 위한 주택이 투자자들에게 인기를 모으고 있다.

일간에서는 유로의 탈퇴로 인한 인구 감소와 노동력 감소는 주택 시장에도 영향을 끼치고 있으며, 그동안 턱없이 오른 주택가격의 거품이 제거되고 있는 현상이라고도 한다.

맨체스터가 급부상하고 있는데, 로얄뱅크 스코틀랜드가 맨체스터로 이전하고 있으며, 티켓메스터도 런던에 비해 상대적으로 저렴한 맨체스터에 둥지를 틀기 시작했으며, 고급 아파트가 속속히 들어서고 있다.  이로써 맨체스터가 새롭게 부상하고 있는 소위 “뜨고 있는 지역” 이라는 말이 나오기 시작했다.

그럼에도 불구하고 여전히 캠브리지와 옥스퍼드 지역은 대학의 유명세로 인해 꾸준히 인기가 상승하고 있다.


Coree ILBO copyright © 2013-2017, All rights reserved.

This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed in whole or part with out the express written permissio