Greece With Simon Reeve (2016) s01e02 Episode Script

Episode 2

I'm on a journey around Greece.
At the eastern edge of Europe, a land of mystery Look at that! with fabulous islands and rugged mountains.
It's one of the most beautiful and troubled countries in Europe.
After years of upheaval Bloody hell! people here are still having a tough time.
Petrol bombs being thrown.
I'll see how Greeks are surviving and enduring It's the only way to travel.
in this stunning and dramatic land.
Oh, my good God! On this part of my journey, I'll travel right across the Greek mainland.
From the Peloponnese peninsula to the beautiful and mountainous north.
We're in Greece.
There are bears here! I'll see how the country dug itself into a hole It's gone.
It's gone.
Let's go! Quick, quick, quick, quick! Start running.
and I'll meet the rebel monks battling to preserve their ancient way of life.
We're arriving at a medieval settlement.
February 14th, 2016 I'm just off the coast outside Athens and I'm beginning the second leg of my journey around Greece.
Just look at the size of these ships.
So, these are the Athens docks.
Shipping, of course, is an industry that Greece has been famous for.
It's an industry that has made some Greeks very rich.
Greek firms control the world's largest merchant shipping fleet by tonnage.
Including a quarter of the world's oil tankers.
Greek shipping tycoons benefit from lavish tax breaks-- an extraordinary quirk enshrined in the Greek constitution.
For many of the rich here, their wealth has actually increased in recent years.
It's a mad world, eh? Despite the country's economic crisis, thousands of rich Greeks still seem to be doing rather well.
See you! For ordinary workers, the story's a bit different.
Just down the road is the Perama shipyard.
As recently as 20 years ago, 15,000 people worked here building and repairing ships.
Tens of thousands more were employed indirectly.
Now it's more like a ship graveyard.
There is just one ship being worked on, a ferry that's being refitted.
There's a lot of intense activity on this ship, but there doesn't seem to be much else going on.
How much work have you had during the last five years, during the crisis? Can you survive on that? The nation gifts them generous tax breaks, but Greece's shipping bosses have outsourced work to other countries, putting at least 80% of shipbuilders here on the dole.
It's quite sad to see a once great industry brought to its knees.
It's not just shipbuilding.
The crisis here has had a profound impact on the entire Greek economy.
In five years, it's shrunk by more than a quarter.
That's far more than any other country affected by the global economic crisis.
I headed off across the Greek mainland.
My first destination was the beautiful Peloponnese peninsula to the south-west of Athens.
I'm crossing from the Greek mainland on that side to the Peloponnese on that side, which is separated by the Corinth Canal.
What a sight.
It's not wide enough now for most of the big oceangoing container ships and the biggest cruise ships, but it's still phenomenal.
Just a few miles length, but it saves ships a round trip of something like 450 miles around the Peloponnese.
That's where I'm heading next.
Oh, I'm going to get the car.
The Peloponnese has an extraordinary history.
The first Olympic Games were held here.
The peninsula was home to the ancient cities of Sparta and Corinth.
As Greece's agricultural heartland, most of the country's olive oil now comes from here, as well as huge quantities of fruit and vegetables.
Just look at this here.
It starts to give you a sense of the scale of what's happening here.
You can see the plastic tunnels.
And this is all for strawberries.
They're a very profitable crop for farmers in this area.
Agriculture is more important to Greece than almost any other country in Europe.
But just like in many farms across the continent, it's not the locals who actually do most of the work.
Despite unemployment and economic collapse, Greece still relies on an army of low-paid migrant workers.
Conditions for the labourers are often very tough.
Temperatures in these polytunnels can be more than 50 degrees.
I met up with Dimtris Peppas, a volunteer human rights worker.
These people are from Bangladesh.
They work for years here.
They live around here.
Assalaamu Alaikum.
Very nice to meet you.
How long have you been here? 16 years.
How much money are you able to make? Can we see where you're staying? Can we see where you're living? All right.
- Is this where people are living, just here? - Yes.
They're paid appallingly, work long hours, and workers told us they actually have to pay rent to stay here.
So, this is the sleeping area.
The conditions of the camp are primitive.
There's no electricity, a basic supply of water and a very rudimentary toilet.
I've been in villages in Bangladesh and, frankly, most of them are in a better state, better conditions than I see here.
It's pretty shocking that people are living like this on the edge of prosperous European farming communities.
There's around half a million overseas workers in the country.
Many of them are employed illegally in the black economy, by unscrupulous firms and farmers.
Dimtris, what's your take on this? There is such high unemployment in Greece now.
Why is, why are Bangladeshis doing these jobs when, presumably, Greeks could? Millions more Greeks used to work in the fields.
After Greece's economy started to take off, many people moved to the cities in search of a better life.
Now it's foreign workers who do much of the backbreaking labour.
They're often exploited.
In 2013, Nurul, one of the Bangladeshis here, was involved in a case of alleged mistreatment.
He and a group of migrant workers say they hadn't been paid their meagre wages for six months.
The workers complained to one of the farm bosses and said they'd had enough.
They pulled out guns? What on earth were you thinking at the time? The farm owner was acquitted of all charges.
Two foremen were sentenced but immediately freed pending an appeal.
Astonishingly, the migrants were then told they had to pay some costs.
The exploitation of illegal workers happens across Europe.
Many of these workers remain stuck in a terrible limbo, just praying they will get a work permit.
For them, that work permit is like a lottery win.
It's a chance to stay in a country that they've committed to, but it's also an opportunity for them to get a better paid job.
That's why they're enduring what is, in many ways, modern slavery.
I left the farmland of the Peloponnese peninsula and began my journey to Greece's North.
Here we are.
I'll get my bag out.
I dropped off my hire car and hopped on an intercity train.
Where's the numbers? We can go in here, look, it's a kiddie play area.
That's not bad, is it? I don't think that's where we've got a ticket, though.
I'd never seen a play room on a train before.
Surprisingly, there were very few other passengers.
The train cuts right across the Greek mainland, through beautiful scenery.
Greek trains have been a huge drain on the country.
Vast sums have been ploughed into building and running major public infrastructure like the rail network.
Even though Greece has some of the lowest passenger levels of anywhere in Europe.
Greek railway has lost billions and billions of pounds.
They haven't sold enough tickets, they pay enormous salaries to their staff, and one government minister actually said, at one point, that it would be cheaper to send everyone who wants to travel on a train by taxi.
And he wasn't entirely joking.
For years, successive Greek governments borrowed and squandered enormous sums.
Greeks lived way beyond their means.
The train took me to Thessaloniki, Greece's second city.
I'd arrived in time for one of the biggest events on the calendar here.
The national military parade.
It commemorates Greece's heroic resistance in World War II.
They still have national service in Greece, and the top brass love to put on a show.
Now we're getting more into a parade that's This is like something you'd see in Red Square or Pyongyang.
Greece still has a tense relationship with neighbouring Turkey, but, even taking that into account, Greeks spend a fortune on their military.
Bloody hell.
Greece has a huge army with almost twice as many tanks as the UK and France combined.
The size of Greece's military spending is quite extraordinary.
For years, Greece-- as in Greece-- was one of the biggest arms importers in the world.
The world.
One of the major providers of the weapons, and a major source of Greece's financial problems, is Germany.
Greece has bought scores of highly advanced German tanks.
Greece spent nearly two billion euros on German tanks.
It spent three billion on German submarines.
Before the financial crisis, German banks and officials were among those encouraging Greece to take out vast loans.
It's alleged that several German corporations then paid huge bribes to corrupt Greek officials to persuade them to spend money the country couldn't afford.
Greece has made terrible mistakes.
Taxes haven't been paid, money has been wasted, but bankers and giant European corporations helped to get Greece into the mess it's in.
It's not surprising, then, that many Greeks resent Germany insisting on years of severe austerity here, and on Greece paying back its debts.
Look at this! The bars and the restaurants here are completely rammed.
It's fair to say that austerity doesn't come naturally to most Greeks.
Many will say they live for the moment.
And, in Thessaloniki, that can involve splashing some cash on a big night out in a bouzoukia club.
People come here to see big-name singers, let their hair down and, oddly, buy carnations.
Hundreds of trays of flowers, at five euros a pop, are showered on the singer.
On my journey, Greeks have constantly been telling me the entire country was suffering.
I'd certainly seen a lot of poverty.
But, of course, some here do still have enough cash to enjoy a good time.
That was a giggle.
I'm slightly hammered.
It doesn't take much, to be honest.
Obviously my inner German is saying to me, "Don't waste your money throwing flowers at singers.
Save it, squirrel it away.
" But my inner Greek is saying to me, "Life is short.
Party while you can.
" And you know what? It's the inner Greek that is winning.
The north of the country couldn't be more different to the familiar Greek imagery of sunbaked islands and aquamarine seas.
Look at these mountains.
It's stunning up here.
This is a part of Greece that most people don't even know exists.
I was in the Pindus Mountains, close to the border with Albania.
I was heading towards one of the most dramatic sights in Europe.
My God, look at that! This is the Vikos Gorge.
It's one of the biggest, deepest gorges in the world.
Limestone cliffs tower up to 1,600 feet over the river below.
Hello! The north of Greece contains hundreds of square miles of stunning wilderness.
These mountains are still home to some of Europe's largest wild predators.
Conservationist Melina Avgerinou took me to meet them.
Bears! We're in Greece.
There are bears here! This sanctuary is run by the charity, Arcturos.
On his legs.
Heya! Look at you! We killed our bears in Britain centuries ago, but there are still some in the wild in Greece.
Most of the bears here have been rescued from people around the region who were keeping them for entertainment.
They will train them to perform in front of people in small villages, wandering around, like a small private circus.
- What, they were dancing bears? - Dancing bears, yes.
Incredibly, until recently, Greece still had a tradition of dancing bears.
Arcturos was instrumental in ending the dark trade.
They would train them when they were very young.
Usually, they were killing their mother in order to take them from the den, and the procedure of training is very hard, because they put the chains through their lips and their noses, they break their teeth and their claws, and they usually train them on hot metal stilts so that they will do this move that they do to lift their paws off the ground and they, at the same time, they would hit the tambourine to the bears so they would combine the noise with the pain they feel, and then they would perform in front of humans.
It was illegal in Greece, but this law was not enforced, mainly because there was no place for the animals to go when they were taken from their owners.
What Arcturos did is that we created the sanctuary and we cooperated with the police.
They confiscated the bears and they gave them a place to go.
While the horrific dancing bear trade has been stopped in Greece at least, the country's bears still need protecting.
This is a wild bear's damage.
Melina, just here, the fence has been taken down by wild bears.
Yes, exactly.
We fix this fence all the time.
There's wild bears out there.
I love it.
I think there's something exciting about being in a wild environment with a creature we can't control.
They make life more interesting.
Who's this? This is our baby boy, Ushka.
Unfortunately, not everyone loves bears.
Melina, why's he dragging his feet? He has a fracture in his spine.
- He has a broken back? - Yes.
- Is he paralysed? - Exactly.
Ushka was just a few months old.
Melina thinks he must have been injured not long after he was born.
Can I risk giving you that? Yes, I can.
How did his back get broken? The vets believe that it could be hit by somebody, and maybe not a car because if it was a car, the injuries might be worse than that.
So, you mean somebody has taken a club or something to this tiny creature and have hit? He was just eight kilos when he went, so it was even smaller than that.
I think I can honestly say I have never seen a cuter yet more tragic sight.
We do horrific things to animals.
Vets say they can't operate on Ushka but, because he's young, it's hoped he'll adapt.
In the meantime, Melina tries to manage his condition.
So, you're about to put some ointment on him.
Yes, but he doesn't want to.
He knows what the white glove means, presumably.
Today she needs to treat the painful sores that Ushka has from dragging himself across the ground.
But he's not so keen.
He knows that smell of this specific Oh, he's keeping an eye.
He's too bright, isn't he? He knows behind your back you've got the cream.
Oh, he's keeping his back to you.
You look like a feisty, intelligent bear, that so wants to live and so deserves to.
We need to do the best that we can for him.
- He wants to fight so you need to fight for him.
- He does.
Brown bears can attack flocks of sheep and crops.
There's wolves as well here in this wild corner of Europe.
Melina took me to meet a local shepherd.
Have you encountered bears in this area before, have you come into conflict with them? Are there actually packs of wild wolves roaming around roaming around here? Farmers used to shoot wolves and bears to defend their flocks but we can't keep wiping out our native wildlife.
Now Arktouros is helping the farmers to do something wonderful and live with them.
They're using old-fashioned methods-- powerful sheepdogs.
What a magnificent beast, look at it as well.
Characteristic of these dogs is that they will You can see the female dog sleeping in the sheep, so even if wolves or a bear comes now, they won't chase it away and leave the animals unprotected, they will just gather it and stay here and it will keep it safe, and bark, chase bark the bear away, not chase it away.
The sanctuary has now supplied more than 1,000 traditional Greek sheepdogs to farmers across northern Greece.
So all you need to do now is train these dogs to milk the sheep and they're doing the whole job for you! What's happening here is inspiring.
They're proving people can live in harmony with large predators.
Hopefully it will encourage new plans to rewild large areas of Europe, including Britain.
The existence of these vast areas of wilderness is a reminder Greece only developed recently.
Up until the 1950s, most of Greece was farmland and agriculture and very basic industry.
And then somebody realised that there was something under the ground, that if they dug it up and burned it they could power an industrial revolution.
Wow, look at the size of that power station.
The north of Greece is coal country.
There are massive coalfields here that helped to transform Greece.
It's a resource that still plays a crucial role.
I went to one of the huge mines that helps Greece keep its lights on.
So this is Miltos over here.
Miltos is one of the bosses - Mining engineer.
- Mining engineer.
- I'm a mining engineer, yes.
He's one of the bosses! He's going to take us out to show us the mine.
Very difficult weather conditions during the winter.
- Yeah, you get snow here.
- Yes.
This is part of Greece where you get proper seasons, not just sunshine all year round.
Minus ten degrees or minus 20 degrees during winter.
In Greece? It can get to minus 20? In this area of Greece, yes.
Oh, my goodness.
Look at the scale of it! - This is less than half of the mine.
- It's enormous.
More than 30 square miles in size.
The mine supplies Greece's two largest power stations.
We have 3,000 people operating all year long, even on Christmas.
Because if this closes down, so does Greece.
When this mine has a problem, Athens, the capital, with four and a half million people, has a problem with electricity.
As much as half of Greece's total electricity needs are met by burning coal from these mines.
This is the blasting area.
So we will go down there.
They are expecting us.
They blast several times a day here, and we're just going to the scene of the next one.
The coal itself could be up to 170 metres below the surface.
Getting to it requires serious force.
Don't step on the blue wire, OK? It's explosives.
- OK.
- It's a safety fuse.
We have 140 blast holes, with 4.
2 tonnes of explosives.
- 4.
2 tonnes? - 4.
2 tonnes.
This is the primer.
So that is that's the explosive that's going in there? That comes out like a sort of white foam.
And look at that up there, it's got on the sides, "mixing solutions for an explosive situation".
Right, so now they're going to connect it up.
Well, they're off.
So this is, erm, detonating cord.
This is something that burns, not blasts.
He will give us one minute.
- One minute until four tonnes of explosives goes up? - Yes.
This is, er This is an interesting way of doing it.
So you don't have a button that you press from a long distance? No, no, no, no.
He will give the initiation here with a match.
- He lights it with a match? - Yes.
And if we stay here nice to meet you.
- So how do we get out of here? - When Markos will light it up, we will have to start running together with him to go on the track.
OK? - We start running? OK.
- Start running.
OK, fine.
Is he completely mad? I keep thinking he's joking.
- You only have 60.
- We understand.
- Seconds.
OK? - We are starting.
- OK.
It's gone, it's gone.
Let's go.
Quick, quick, quick, quick.
Wow! Bloody hell.
That was incredible.
I mean, it's scary, and a little bit worrying, er, Greek health and safety being what it is, but it was all OK.
With the ground blasted and the upper layers of earth removed, the miners can reach what they're really after.
So now we start to see the coal.
Every day up to 65,000 tonnes of coal are dug out of the ground here.
Nine of these giant machines turn the ground into fuel.
Oh, my God, look at it.
The size of it! Great clanking dragon of a machine.
My God, it's moving! Look, right now! The machines are extraordinary.
But coal is an environmental disaster.
Coal's by far the most polluting source of electricity and this type, lignite, is particularly bad.
It's a Europe-wide issue.
Germany, the UK and Poland top a list for the dirtiest coal-fired power stations in the EU.
If we're to get serious about tackling climate change, emissions from coal power will have to be phased out over the next decade.
That looks unlikely in Greece.
What do you say to people who say this is a very dirty way to create electricity? From the time being, and considering the situation that the country is, gives us a steady energy for the right for this moment.
An energy that we don't have to pay somebody else from outside the country, it's here, it's ours, we can use it, we can use it to to start again, to restart the country.
Considering the economical crisis.
The environmental costs of Greece's coal industry are shocking.
The pollution from power stations is thought to cause hundreds of premature deaths every year.
The mine is also eating into neighbouring areas, emptying local villages and displacing hundreds of families.
It's such a shame Greece's leaders didn't use all that money they borrowed, and often squandered, to invest in solar power that could now be providing electricity for the country.
They're in a complete bind here now, because they can't in many ways afford to bring an end to the mining.
They need the energy from it, because they haven't got many alternatives, they haven't invested in solar power, and the jobs are really critical to the country as well.
This area of Greece has 72% youth unemployment.
That is the highest in the whole of Europe.
They can't afford to close the mine and for all those men and women to lose their jobs.
And so the mining will continue.
Many have suggested there could be something in the Greek character that helped shape their recent history.
It's risky to generalise, but I will anyway.
Greeks are often proud and strong-willed.
They're not mad about being told what to do.
I just want to show you this.
This is a spare seatbelt buckle.
So you can buy these across most of Greece and people put it into the seatbelt holder to stop the car bleeping at them, telling them "buckle up".
This is where the safety precautions of the motor industry collide with the mentality, the pride, the stubbornness of modern Greece.
And the stubbornness wins! It's unbelievable.
A lot of Greeks still refuse to wear a seat belt or a motorcycle helmet.
So it's hardly surprising Greece has some of the highest road-death figures in Europe.
I tell you what gives you a sense of how dangerous many Greek roads are, it's the number of shrines that you see alongside the road, marking the spot where somebody's had an accident and survived and they've put a shrine there because they're rather happy, or their family have put a shrine there because they've been killed.
My journey took me back to the Greek coast and the Halkidiki Peninsula.
My route offered me a chance to find out more about an aspect of Greek life that's more important than many outsiders realise.
We often think of countries like Italy or Ireland as being very religious, but Greece's identity has also been shaped by the Church.
The Greek Orthodox Church.
Surveys suggest more than 90% of Greeks consider themselves Orthodox Christian.
Journalist Kostas Kallergis offered to take me to the heart of Greek Orthodoxy.
And this is our boat.
Well, it's not our boat, you know.
It's a ferry.
We're heading to a part of Greece that is semi-autonomous, cut off, and runs most of its own affairs.
These are the monasteries of Mount Athos.
They're home to the oldest surviving monastic communities in the world.
Look at that! That actually is devotion.
Imagine what it takes to build that up there.
The 20 ancient monasteries here have stood for 1,000 years.
During much of that time, Greece was ruled by the Ottomans, the Muslim empire based in what's now Turkey.
When the Greeks successfully battled for their independence in the 1800s, the Church was at the forefront of the campaign.
Greek Orthodoxy, the religion, is very, very central, er, to the identity of our modern Greece.
One of the first persons who announced the beginning of the independence was a priest.
- Erm, that's - What, he would sort of rise up, - "My fellow Greeks, follow the cross, follow the flag," that sort of idea? - Yeah.
You had to be both a Greek speaker and a Christian Orthodox to be a proper Greek.
So are you saying, then, almost to be Greek you need to be religious? It's not necessarily a matter of faith but also in the way that the Greek Church is intervening into the daily life and what is allowed or not allowed.
Intervening? In what way? For example, if you want to be cremated after death, - you can't do that in Greece.
- You can't be cremated? - You can't.
Because the idea of burning a body was not in the Christian religion since its origins.
Throughout the history of modern Greece, the church has helped to shape Greek identity.
The Orthodox Church still has a pivotal role in Greek life.
Priests are still paid by the government and the Church is involved in shaping the school curriculum.
Because I'm extremely observant, Kostas, I've noticed there doesn't seem to be any any women.
Women are not allowed in Mount Athos.
The easiest way to explain it is that women, together with other things, are one more temptation, so they shouldn't distract the monks - from devoting 100% of themselves to God.
- I see.
- It's the same with meat.
- No meat? - No meat.
- No meat and no women? - Where the hell are we going?! - It's great, the - Can we turn around? Women haven't been allowed on Mount Athos for 1,000 years.
The monks certainly live an austere life.
But Kostas was taking me to one monastery where the monks have taken their beliefs to an extreme.
To get there, we had to wait for nightfall.
It's half past four in the morning.
The monks I was heading to see have become infamous.
The Orthodox Church has tried to kick them out of their monastery, which has now been sealed off.
There's a police checkpoint just a short distance up the road so we need to get through here into the bushes quickly.
The rebel monks have set up a smuggling route to get supplies in and out.
They'd agreed to try and smuggle us in.
So now we're inside Mount Athos.
And we're following a monk.
The monks we're going to see have a very difficult relationship with the Orthodox Church establishment.
Er, monks have been injured on both sides in what some have called pitched battles between the rebels and the establishment.
So that's the reason for all this subterfuge.
The dispute between the monks and church has left the monastery isolated.
As dawn broke we boarded the monk's pick-up.
The monastery was another hour away on a dirt road.
We're arriving at a medieval settlement.
My goodness.
It would appear we've arrived.
The Esphigmenou monastery was built 1,000 years ago.
The 120 monks who live here today are led by Father Methodius.
Quite recently you've come into a dispute, I think, with the with the rest of the Greek Orthodox Church.
Can you explain what's happened and why? The origins of this extraordinary dispute go back decades.
The Greek Orthodox Church decided to modernise and build bridges with other branches of Christianity.
These monks view that as heresy.
Over the years the dispute has escalated.
The Patriarch, or head of the Orthodox Church, has told the fathers here to leave the monastery.
And he's appointed replacement monks.
When they turned up, Father Methodius claims the situation turned violent.
It's hard to verify exactly what happened.
The Orthodox Church says these monks are squatters and it continues to develop friendly relations with other Christian faiths.
Meanwhile, these monks are taking their faith to an extreme.
The hardline stance of the brotherhood means they've had to learn to look after themselves.
And what needs to be done now? He's straight up and into the tractor.
You don't mean in the bucket? The father is It's the only way to travel.
Everything they need to survive is smuggled in, grown or made by the monks themselves.
Might call for a minicab on the way back.
So this is the workshop.
Where are the mechanics? All the work is done by the monks? They're hardcore here, but they've got humour.
And pride as well.
I think the the sense I have from the father is he's proud of what they're able to do here, proud of the brothers.
They've learned to cope with just the bare necessities.
It's a simple life away from all temptations.
Well, nearly all.
What is this? They want to They want you to drink a bit of ouzo.
- 55%, er, alcohol.
- 55%?! We've got some ice if you want.
I shouldn't take first.
So we have had magnificent hospitality everywhere we've been, and nowhere more unusual than here.
- But thank you very much indeed.
To Greece! - Thank you.
That's going down very nicely.
The fathers of Esphigmenou follow an extreme version of Greek Orthodoxy, but their attitude to faith and country is one many Greeks would recognise.
Most Greeks still have a real sense of their country as a Christian nation, very different, they think, to its Muslim neighbours to the east.
Indeed, many here see Greece as a bastion of Christianity on the edge of Europe.
Well, it's been fascinating being here.
But I'm going to leave tonight, and I'm just waiting for a monk to come and get me, because I'm going to leave the same way I came in.
Under the cover of darkness.
The 20 monasteries on this Mount Athos Peninsula are fortresses, not just for their inhabitants but also for an ideal, that Greece and the Christian Orthodox faith must always be one.
I was headed towards the country's border with Turkey and an area called Western Thrace.
Greece is overwhelmingly Christian but this part of the country is different.
Amazing colour trees everywhere.
Look at that.
That's beautiful.
- We have all the colours.
- Yeah! This English teacher was showing me around a largely forgotten corner of Greece.
When I'm in another country and they ask me, "Where are you from?" and I say that I'm from Greece, they are surprised that there are Muslims living in Greece.
We've been living here for years, you know, and - most of the people don't know us.
- What a stunning view.
- Yeah, this is the village.
- Wow.
This region is home to around 100,000 Muslims.
A community that has been here for centuries.
They found themselves living in Greece when regional borders were redrawn in the early 1900s.
- Is that the call to prayer? - Yeah, for prayer.
Call to prayer coming from the mosque.
For decades Greece was locked in a kind of cold war with the Turks and the Greek authorities seemed to regard Muslims here as an enemy within.
Assalaamu Alaikum.
Military checkpoints meant movement in and out of the region were strictly controlled.
Many people in this area were even denied Greek passports.
- Assalaamu Alaikum.
- Assalaamu Alaikum.
I'm getting a sense that there's pleasure - and mild amusement from people that we are here.
- Yes.
- Because you felt ignored for perhaps a long time? - Very long time.
The Christians that live in Thessaloniki, which is two hours' drive from here, they don't know that we exist.
Even the Christians from Greece.
Only in the last 15 years, and under pressure from the EU, have barriers been removed and things started to change.
The cutest sight in the country.
People here are proud of their distinct ethnic identity.
Many speak a Turkish dialect.
Yay! But with barriers coming down, this community itself has become more open to the rest of Greece, including its language.
Assalaamu Alaikum.
There's a realisation here that to be part of their country, obviously women from the village need to speak Greek.
A Greek teacher, paid for by the state, has come into the community to encourage integration.
Yay! So is this, for you, really life-changing? OK.
Well, thank you very much indeed.
There was, I think, a conscious decision by the Greek state to ignore the presence of these people here, and thankfully that's now starting to change.
It was a reminder to me that modern Greece is a young country.
And that it's still coming to terms with some borders that are less than 100 years old.
My journey across Greece was coming to an end.
It's a country that went through an incredibly fast modernisation, partly fuelled by its membership of the European Union.
But many of Greece's public institutions and its political culture didn't modernise with the rest of the nation.
The results have been chaotic and often catastrophic.
The last few years have been a terrible shock to most Greeks but they are trying and starting to adapt to the situation, and one of those ways they're doing that is by returning to the land.
I was meeting up with Pavlos Georgiadis.
Morning, Simon.
Two years ago he returned from living and working abroad to take over his family's olive grove.
And so this is your.
your olive farm.
But you travelled the world and then at some point presumably there was a flash of light in your head and you realised, actually, home is pretty amazing.
Home is amazing and home is in a difficult situation.
We really need to sort of renovate the home but we need to do it with our own materials, not with materials that we input.
And I felt that we have very strong materials, - this one is one of them! - Yes! - How old is this one? - Close to 1,000 years old.
These are like.
A 1,000-year-old olive tree? Olive is such an amazing, er, plant.
You need to really take care of it.
Pavlos is unusual.
It's thought 200,000 Greeks have left the country since the crisis hit.
It's one of the biggest brain drains the Western world has seen in modern times.
But Pavlos came back.
And he's only too well aware that enthusiastic young entrepreneurs are going to be vital to Greece if the country is to recover.
Wow! So there's very few.
Well, you can see very few leaves are coming off.
- Can I have a go? - Absolutely.
Here is a nice one for you.
- Whoa! - Keep going, don't be afraid.
- Nice.
- Whoa! I'm worried about ripping bits off.
Since coming home, he's turned the family farm organic and started producing his own brand of ultra-high-quality olive oil.
Come on, I can see you there.
Off you come.
Oh, look, there's loads there, look at that.
Here we go, whoa! Of course, yeah.
They're making fun of you.
That wasn't too bad! Pavlos is investing his time, his money and his future in Greece, the country he loves.
I'm hoping that what we do will be used as an example to inspire other people in Greece, especially young people, that there are ways out of this crisis.
They're not easy, but nothing is easy.
But there are ways.
And at the same time project an image of Greece abroad that Greece is not only about corruption, about economic inefficiency, about all this economic havoc that we experienced.
There are some positive things that are happening in our society.
There is more solidarity, there is more connection to each other, there is more communal effort.
It would be a mistake if our generation keeps inactive and only.
gives to the next generation a bigger problem.
Perhaps a positive aspect of the crisis is that it's exposed the failings of the Greek state.
Pavlos and millions more like him now want to build a new system to replace the chaos of the old.
One without corruption and out of the control of the old elites.
It's a rallying cry for the next generation and for the future.
Greek beach.
Perfect place to end my journey.
Perfect place to be, full stop, quite frankly.
I really hope the Greeks sort out the current mess they're in.
Though I have been quite surprised by how bad things are.
Been a bit shocked several times on this journey, in fact.
I think as long as Greeks can come together for their common good, they can overcome and thrive, even, during the difficult times that might lie ahead.