Some observations from my stay:
1. Tourism on the island of Crete was up by 4% this year
2. Restaurants, bars, cafes etc were packed every single day of the week with both Greek and foreign tourists.
3. The cost of food seemed pretty cheap to me. Especially locally produced fruits and vegetables were dirt cheap. 1/2 kilo of bread was 1 euro. Eating out was dirt cheap too. I never payed more than 48 euros at any restaurant for 2 people to eat fresh seafood. At the fish market you could get 6 large sea bass for 5 euros.
4. Went shopping with the gf and to my surprise noticed all clothing stores were quite busy with Greeks shopping for clothing items.
5. Greeks were more conscious of buying Hellenic products instead of imported products
6. Saw a handful of anarchist students (4-5) blasting heavy metal music while BS'ing over the mic in the main square, but everyone was ignoring them.
7. Hiked the Samaria Gorge and saw tourists primarily from Holland, Sweden, Poland, Italy, and the USA.
8. Every beach I went to was packed. Beach bed rental was 6 euros and they were all packed.
9. Greek customer service/efficiency has improved dramatically. I noticed that customer service has become much friendlier than before.
10. Generally speaking I didn't notice any financial "crisis". As I mentioned earlier all cafes, restaurants, bars were packed even on weekdays. I never saw any soup lines or Greeks begging for food or money. On the beach you would occasionally see a Paki trying to sell you pirated DVDs. Also, had another Paki beg me for money while at a stop light and a Gypsy kid trying to wash my windshield for money.
11. Greece has great potential in the organic food industry and in textiles. Greek organic food is the best tasting in the World based on my travels. Also, our textile industry has great potential. I can buy a 100% leather Greek made belt for 3 euros, while the same belt in the USA costs 30 dollars.
After my recent trip, I am very confident Greece will come out stronger from this crisis. Once Greece manages to reduce the public sector, cut spending, and allow private industry to flourish we will take off once again. The average Greek is highly educated with multiple degrees and fluent in 2-3 languages in some cases with fluency in English almost a given.
There is great potential in the energy sector from solar and wind. Construction seems to have slowed down somewhat although I still noticed buildings being constructed both in the city and in tourist areas.
Hellas, Hellas, n tav n epi tas