View of Ancient Acropolis

Α guided tour of Greece

It is difficult juggling the role of a tour guide with the ever-expanding needs of a family. And a family holiday? That’s another story entirely!
As long as it takes to drink a Greek coffee
It is difficult juggling the role of a tour guide with the ever-expanding needs of a family. And a family holiday? That’s another story entirely!

I have been living permanently in Spain for almost 20 years now and spend most of my summer either pointing out to Greek tourists that the thermometer has topped 48 degrees in Seville or keeping their spirits up during the August simiri, the drizzle over the mountains of the Basque Country.

However, let’s not forget there are also school holidays to contend with and if a father (or a tour guide for that matter) wants to have family holidays with his child on his CV, there is only one way to do it; by putting work on the back burner for a while.

Alba is now 11 and since she was 5 she’s been flying on her own to Greece to visit her grandmother with a name tag hanging around her neck, her parents usually too busy to go with her.

This year though things will be different…

–     Alba, where do you want to go this summer?

–     To Greece!!!!

–     OK, so it’s off to grandma as usual then…

–     Not quite, Dad. This time I want you and Mum to come too!

Alba was adamant about making the trip to Greece into a family holiday and who was I to argue. In which particular blink of the eye, I wonder, did my daughter start turning into a teenager? My wife, Alaitz, a Basque woman who loves Greece, doesn’t believe we had this conversation at all, that I somehow convinced Alba that we should all go and she had colluded with me to make it seem like her choice. Was I really capable of such subterfuge?

  • January… All three of us splayed out across the sofa…

–     We could go on a package tour for a few days. Seeing as we can lounge around the beach all we want in Spain, we really shouldn’t miss out on all the famous monuments and temples in Greece. And then the rest of the time will be for visiting the relatives,” says Alaitz…

Alba turns on her tablet…

–     Look at this photo of the Parthenon Alba… all lit up at night

  • End of July… Athens Airport… bus straight to the heart of the city… Athens

–     This is Hadrian’s Library, Alba… and straight on from here is Plaka… Would you like to do what all tourists do on their first night in Athens? Tavern, mousaka, music…look, this instrument is called a “laterna”…

–     Let’s go this way, Dad… these streets are awesome… Plaka is like an Aladdin’s cave…

Old Plaka, Athens, Greece

We sit down to eat at last…

–     …and I definitely want a Greek salad…”

–     Turn on the tablet and let’s see what we’ve got on our programme for tomorrow.

2nd day

Breakfast, panoramic view of Athens, a guided tour of the Parthenon and then of the Acropolis Museum...

–     You will see “Kritia’s Child” there, Alba, and I will explain why the ancient Greeks never rested in their quest for perfection … they never believed anything WAS perfect … they always strove to make things better and better …

Acropolis museum of Athens

–     And on our free afternoon we can go up Lycabettus hill, what do you think?

Lycabettus hill, the highest spot of Athens

3rd day

Breakfast and off to Meteora…

–     Alba, you’ve got Basque blood running in your veins, so you’re going to love Meteora.

Everyone who visits is simply stunned by the monasteries on top of these gigantic rocks, which look from below like Cyclopes holding Ulysses and his companions in their palms… You’ll love it… another side of Greece with Byzantine churches as well as ancient monuments…

Meteora monasteries

4th day

Breakfast and off to Delphi…

–     The ancients used to believe that this was the centre, or the ‘navel’, of the earth, Alba.

Delphi… here people were given solutions to what was troubling them … No, I can’t tell you EXACTLY where the centre is, or if these solutions actually worked…but it’s always good to imagine…

Delphi archaeological site

5th day

(The all-important) breakfast and off to Epidaurus

–     Big day this one, Alba… The ancient theatre of Epidaurus!

The Epidaurus Aancient Theater

A voice suddenly pierces our dreams…It’s Alaitz… and she’s giving both us sleepy heads a little nudge…

–     Wake up you two. You fell asleep on the sofa. Dreaming again I see. Alba, you’ve got

homework to do!

–     What??? It’s summer, isn’t it? We are in Greece, right?

Father and daughter both feeling a bit lost and discombobulated right now…

–     It’s September. You nodded off while looking at photos from the journey…

–     But we did go on the journey. It wasn’t a dream, right?

I lean towards Alba.

–     Wake up, dearest Alba… we dozed off and didn’t even see the ones where we were running in Ancient Olympia… Where’s the tablet?

What a holiday that was! With the help of the trusty tablet, it feels like we’ll be travelling there forever. We can’t wait to go back as a family, all together, to do it all over again for real.


Yiannis Lymtsioulis
Yiannis Lymtsioulis
Tour guide from Greece, living in Spain

I studied political science at the University of Athens and drama at U.P., the State University of Philippines, in Manila.
Afterwards in Madrid (where I live permanently), I did my Master’s degree in “Cultural Management: Theatre-Music-Dance” in Complutense.
At present, I am doing my PhD in the Drama School of the Philosophy Department of Complutense, I work as a tour guide and I write for the theatre and for my blog, the online village GRECO-LAND.
Finally, a short while ago I created MELODRAKMA UNIVERSAL with a view to building different kinds of bridges, both touristic and cultural, between Greece and Spain.

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