The Internet seems to be afire these days with chatter about Simon Reeve’s latest travelogue, Greece with Simon Reeve, which premiered on Sunday on BBC Two.
From the sandy beaches of the southern Aegean to the rugged mountains of the country’s north, Reeve travels across Greece marveling at its wonders but also looking deeper, to understand the issues Greeks face today. Along the way he encounters a lively cast of characters, admires the “extraordinary landscape” and “fabulous islands”, and gets a taste of some of the more… unusual experiences Greece has to offer.
Diving with some of the last sponge-fishermen on the island of Kos, trike-paragliding over Crete’s countryside, overnighting in a traditional shepherd’s hut in the mountains, spotting bears in the country’s north, and exploring Mount Athos with rebel monks are just a few of the exciting things Reeve gets up to in Greece.
To its credit, the series doesn’t shy away from the issues at hand either: Reeve stands on the shores of Lesvos as refugees come off the boats, examines the effects of the crisis in Athens, and literally takes a bird’s eye view of tax evasion in the capital. To put things in perspective, Reeve is quick to point out that most holidaymakers won’t even notice or be affected by any of these issues Greece is facing. “The country needs change to thrive,” he concedes, “but I think the future for Greece is bright.”
Writing for The Independent in the run up to the series premiere, the world-famous traveler, bestselling author, and TV presenter revealed that Greece isn’t just yet another sunny destination for him. Explaining that his wife adores the country – she’s even taught herself Greek! – he confessed that if he had to live anywhere aside from his native Britain, he’d happily choose the tiny Greek island of Symi, which he has visited repeatedly on holiday.
Reeve admitted to being surprised by “the variety and exotic extremes of the country”, which he discovered whilst exploring Greece for this series. He described it as a crossroads of East and West, where different cultures and customs have mixed and blended over the centuries. “You get a very interesting cultural experience,” he wrote – and that’s quite a statement coming from a man who’s visited over 120 countries!
The Financial Times’ review of Greece with Simon Reeve notes that “nothing disguises Reeve’s love for Greece and its people.” The statement rings true. At the end of the series’ first episode, even after having documented some of its harsher realities, he notes that the country is even more beautiful and the people more passionate than he had realized.
“I have to personally confess to being a big fan of Greece,” Reeve exclaims. “I love the beaches, the people, the mountains, the ruins, the food, the way of life… I love Greece!”