Saturday, 19 June 2010

Greek Beach by the Thames.

A charming PR exercise to encourage tourists to visit the economically devastated cradle of democracy.
We all know that the Greek economy isn't what it ought to be, but the Greek Tourist Board are seeking to dispel the newsreel images of angry rioters and plucky protest dogs and persuade tourists to return to the country in an effort to wiggle out of their economic crisis. New for 2010 is the ‘You in Greece’ campaign, which invites you to imagine yourself in Greece, and then make your dreams a reality by actually going there. Hence the arrival on the Southbank of the Thames, of the Greek Beach at Gabriel’s Wharf.

The tourist board have shipped in tonnes of sand from the islands of the Aegean and populated them with sun loungers to create an 'authentic' holiday experience in SW1. With a plethora of delights from Hellenic delicacies such as spankopita and kofte, to beach football, sand sculpting and frosty pints of Greek beer, you'd be forgiven for thinking that there's no reason to board a plane to enjoy the Mediterranean.

Unless however like on the day of my visit, the weather falls somewhat short of Grecian. In place of endless blue skies, sparkling seas and searing heat, I sunk my toes into the damp and chilly sand under a slate-sky and beside the murky waters of the Thames. That said, I'd recommend a visit if the weather picks up, I daresay that after a couple of pints of Mythos or a glass or two of retsina that you’ll be feeling distinctly Mediterranean. Lie back on a sun lounger, listen to the DJ beats and imagine you're sitting in an olive grove in sunny Greece. Then book yourself a flight and plough some cash back into the ailing Greeks’ empty coffers.

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