Recently I was part of a group of 14 people to go to Rhodes, a pretty Greek island with cute beaches, good food and good wind for kitesurfing which was the purpose of our trip.
On the first day of our trip, we went for groceries where I got some tomatoes and a map of Rhodes as gifts from a shop keeper. My friends asked me how I managed that and to be honest, I really wasn’t sure.
The next evening, we went to another grocery store where a shopkeeper offered a lift back to our hotel and couple days later bought me and my boyfriend some drinks in a place where we used to get dinner.
All of my friends were super jealous and I was thinking: “Okey, this is fantastic! Greek people are just amazing and I will never want to leave this place!”
But this was not it.
A Russian kiting instructor, who lives in Rhodes for 3 years now, has given me extensive advices on technique, found me a kite harness to try when my one wasn’t performing and lifted my kite whenever it fell close to the shore. Just like he did to people who were paying for his services.
He was the one who made me realise why this was all happening. He literally said: “Don’t get me wrong, I love speaking Russian and there’s not so many people who I can speak to here”.
It all started to make sense.
In 2006 I spent a summer in Greece working in a nightclub as a bartender. During the long days on the beach before work I started learning Greek and because I am fascinated with Greek language some of it has stayed with me to date!
So at the shops and at the dinner place I was speaking to people in basic Greek. And I mean basic – I was greeting, saying “efcharistó” meaning “thank you” quite a lot and asking what people’s names where in Greek.
As for Russian, I learned Russian as a child from watching cartoons so although I can’t write and can barely read, speaking is not a problem for me.
So to sum up, here’s what speaking maybe 20 words in Greek and some Russian gave me:
- 3 tomatoes
- Map of Rhodes
- A bar of olive oil soap
- 4 oranges
- Kitesurfing advise
- Kitesurfing assistance
- A free rent of kite harness for a day
- A lift home
- A local drink
- Extra meat on my Giros
- Directions on where to find amazing off track beaches
Overall, that’s 1000 times more than I expected, because I didn’t expect anything!
At this point I started thinking about my trips to Spain and France some time ago. And guess what? I too got things for free in those countries and more importantly, very good advices on where to go, where to eat, what to see and where to get the best local experience!
Just for the record, Bliu Bliu tells me that I know 137 words in Spanish and 251 word in French.
Is that a lot? I don’t think so.
Is it worth it? Hell yeah!!
So before you go on holiday this summer, why not learn a 100 words in a local language and enjoy a much better experience with so many perks that would not necessarily be available without the language factor.
Because knowing at least couple words can make wonders and enhance your holiday experience immensely!
Enjoy your travel or holiday this summer!
P.S. Pita Gyros is almost a kebab, but 100 times better! It’s pork in pita with some tzatziki,onions, tomato and french fries and it is absolutely delicious!