GREECE - LANGUAGE

Old Mar 2nd, 2000, 04:31 PM
  #1  
Vicki
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GREECE - LANGUAGE

We will be traveling to Athens, Santorini and Mykonos in a couple of weeks. Does anyone have any tips on understanding the language and easy currency conversion. When in Europe, we normally travel with a pocket language translator, but it does not contain the Greek language. Any tips will be appreciated.
 
Old Mar 2nd, 2000, 04:42 PM
  #2  
Helen
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Yeah, I would like to hear some tips. I have become fascinated with the Greek alphabet since I started watching the Greek-language news broadcast a couple of months ago. Now I can make out parts of words. I even translated the writing on an urn in the Met a few weeks ago! What a thrill! Now I'm ready to step it up. Can anyone recommend a book/tape/software for a serious intro course? The alphabet alone is getting old. (Oh - it already <b>is old.)
Vicki, not sure if this will work for drachmas, but I can't imagine why it wouldn't - try downloading one of the currency conversion charts at oanda.com. There are a lot of web sites offering similar services, about which people have posted here before. This is the one I have used (not for Greece, however.) If it's not satisfactory, try posting on that topic specifically, or try a topic search for past recommenda
 
Old Mar 2nd, 2000, 09:26 PM
  #3  
Diane
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I was in Athens, Mykonos, and Santorini in May. No language problems that I can recall. Everything was written in English, and if you stay in the major areas, most of the people speak English, and probably two or three other languages as well. For currency conversion try http://finance.yahoo.com/m5?a=1&s=USD&t=GRD
When we were there it was about 300 drachmas to the dollar, so it was easy to calculate in our heads. You can pick up a small currency calculator at a travel shop or at Brookstones. I also have one with me when I leave the States.
 
Old Mar 3rd, 2000, 01:41 AM
  #4  
April
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Just before leaving home I printed out a few basic conversions on a business sized card that I carried in my wallet. For instance:
$1 = x drachmas
$5 = x drachmas
$20 = x drachmas
Etc.
While not precise, with just a glance I could quickly estimate the cost of anything.

We only learned a few words and phrases like: hello, good morning, good afternoon, thank you, go away, etc. by listening to a tape as well as using a book.

After a few days a Greek informed us that by not putting the accent on the O of "efharisto" we were saying good instead of thank you.

You can practice some words at:
http://www.travlang.com/languages/cg...75&flags.y=235

 
Old Mar 3rd, 2000, 10:10 AM
  #5  
bly
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Vicki: We did a similar trip last fall and didn't have any language problems. Learn the phrases April mentioned - particularly "efparisto"-thank you and you'll get a smile. If you go to other islands or some of the smaller towns, you may have a little more difficulty.

Re: conversion rates, we bring a cheat sheet the size of a credit card with the exchange rate and couple basic conversions so you can ballpark figures - ie) $1=xdr, $5=xxdr, $20-xxdr, $100= you get the picture. Have fun!
 
Old Mar 3rd, 2000, 10:12 AM
  #6  
bly
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oops - just reread April's post - mine's completely redundant. Good advice is good advice! email me if you have other questions. bly
 
Old Mar 3rd, 2000, 10:49 AM
  #7  
Monica Richards
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Other greek words that will come in handy (written phonetically, because I learned them spoken not written): Parakalo, please: Yiasoo, cheers: Poo inne ...., where is the..., Praxi, play (used when we took to long to make a move in backgammon). Many many people speak english, and most signs are written in English. Also if you remember your fraternity letters from college you'll be cool with the capital versions of greek letters. I used April's suggestion of the wallet card when I went to Greece five years ago--worked great.
 
Old Mar 3rd, 2000, 10:58 AM
  #8  
Patrick
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Look at www.travlang.com/languages. I have been working on that myself for some basic Greek phrases. I love the way it spells them out phonetically. If I run into you in Greece, at least we will be able to understand each other.
 
Old Mar 5th, 2000, 03:12 PM
  #9  
Vicki
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Thank you everyone for your excellent suggestions, especially taking a small chart of the conversion amounts. I have two more questions - what the are denominations of the Greek drachmas and any suggestions on tipping?
 
Old Mar 5th, 2000, 06:14 PM
  #10  
April
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Notes apparently come in these denominations:
Dr10,000, 5000, 1000, 500 & 100.
(Drachma = 100 lepta)

Coins come in denominations of:
Dr100, 50, 20, 10, 5, 2 & 1
and 50, 20 and 10 lepta.

I use the currency converter at
http://www.xe.net/ucc/
 
Old Mar 5th, 2000, 08:16 PM
  #11  
Diane
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The exchange is almost 350 drachmas to the dollar. Last May we got 300.

The best exchange, of course, is by using your credit card, but be careful. One merchant in the Plaka took my card to Thomas Cook or some other company like it and it was treated as a cash advance. Not only did I not get a good exchange rate, but my bank wanted to charge me a fee (which I got them to remove) and the interest started on the day of the transaction (which I also got them to remove). Don't let the merchant leave the store with your credit card. I did not realize they were doing this. I'm sure they were trying to avoid the American Express transaction fee.
 

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