I took this picture in Santorini, Greece, in March ten years ago. Digital cameras weren't quite so good then, were they? :) Santorini town itself was too developed for my taste but the natural setting is fantastic. I stayed in a hotel built into the hillside, overlooking the fabulously coloured sea and caldera of the volcano. Amazing.
This picture illustrates the news that after my blog post here, I got the chance of a whirlwind March trip to Greece. Seven days in the Pelion peninsula, with the aim of getting an article out fast to show what holidaying there is like right now. It seems that some British holidaymakers are concerned about booking in Greece in case they hit a riot or violence (very unlikely indeed) or a strike or disorganisation (rather more likely).
To be honest, I've often hit some degree of disorganisation in Greece, a country I adore, but people always seem to find ways around it. Rather than generalising, though, let me just direct you to naturalist Gerald Durrell's delightful "My Family and Other Animals" describing his wonderful, crazy, funny childhood in Corfu. I can only say that sometimes in Greece I have felt as if I'm in a scene from Durrell's book.
Anyway, I was really keen to go on the trip. We're planning a private visit to Greece next year, so it would have been great to look around. But then - well, you don't want to hear the details. Nothing awful, just annoying. And to cut a long story short, I can't go.
Npw, here's the bit for bloggers..... The person who would have organised the trip is called Sue, and she runs the PR agency handling the GNTO's efforts to keep Brits coming to Greece. Discussing this with her, I remembered that several travel bloggers read this blog, and readers come from many countries. including Greece.
So I suggested to Sue that perhaps a few bloggers might want to work with her on this story on Greece now, and she was interested in that. I don't know what exactly she has in mind, or what she will be offering in return, but I think it will partly depend on how many suitable bloggers she can find, and how quickly. A developing concept, in other words.
Learning to work with PRs is a useful business skill for any communicator. A PR's job, of course is totally to push their message, and there really are no free lunches - but they can also be worth their weight in gold. Sue is well known and well respected, and in fact, as I was searching through my Santorini pics, I noticed that her agency organised that very same trip. (And what a lot of problems someone else caused us, I now remember, but a wonderful lady at the agency called Pippa Sutton sorted everything out).
Anyway if you are interested, or know anyone who might, please act very soon, the sooner the better. Please don't use the comments box on this blog. Send me a brief email message here as soon as possible, with your blog url, an email contact address and info about when you will be in Greece. I'll then pass it on. Bloggers or writers need either to be in Greece right now, or just this minute back, or just about to go, and of course, they can be of any nationality, but writing in English, please.
Relationships between Greece and Germany are not good right now, to put it mildly, but actually my hope is that there might be a few Germans enjoying themselves out there. Often when cycling round empty, bumpy roads in the remotest areas of Greece, the only other foreigners I found were Germans exploring hidden sights and forgotten history. Truly dedicated visitors.
While I'm at it, here is something for aspiring travel writers. The 2012 Nomad/Rough Guide travel writing scholarship is offering a wonderful prize and fair & decent conditions.
Quite recently their rivals Lonely Planet did a travel photography contest in which the winner got ... unpaid publication in one of their guides, and Lonely Planet got ... a 5 year license to use the winning entry worldwide, free of charge. TA-DA! (Moral: read the small print - here's the story.)
This Rough Guide prize is quite different from that. It looks like a route straight into professional travel writing and will surely change the winner's life. The Youtube video tells you more.