Yesterday was the “yes” (people who want to accept austerity and stay in the EU) protest so we went to check it out. The protest was totally different than the “no” (stop austerity and see what happens) protest – the “yes” protest was massive, there were so many people in the square it was nearly impossible to move. It took us a good 20min to walk a quarter of a block. It was incredibly hot in the crowd even though the temperature was in the low 60s (15.5C). Police shut down the arterial streets because so many people were flooding in they spilled over the sidewalks.
Just like yesterday, the crowd was very chipper considering the severity and seriousness of their situation.
Yesterday, the bailout ended and Greece did not pay its creditors. The politicians are trying to wrangle a deal before the July 5 referendum on whether the citizens want more austerity or not.
There is word the government and the banking system only has enough cash on hand for a handful of days of operation.
I think we are in for an interesting week. The supermarkets and ATMs around us have plenty of supply so we’ll see what happens.
When in Greece do as the Greeks do, part 2: protest!
We are fine and things seem to be quite calm here in Athens. Given the severity and seriousness of the situation the Athenians are surprisingly chipper.
Saturday and Sunday were very hairy. We didn’t know if we would be able to get money and ultimately if we’d have to leave Greece. ATMs were closed or out of money, people were roaming the streets looking for working ATMs, shops/restaurants stopped accepting credit card – everyone is looking to get cash. Sunday around midnight all the ATMs across the nation stopped working due to capital controls. Fortunately for us, tourists are exempt! The ATMs started turning back on in the mid-day Monday and I was able to withdraw cash. There were reports supermarkets and fuel stations were being emptied but we haven’t found that to be the case.
We had heard the “no” group (no more austerity, leave the EU) was protesting outside of parliament so we decided to go down and check it out. It was very peaceful and all sorts of different age groups and folks from different walks of life were present. There were a lot of news crews and journalists roaming the streets. The “yes” protest (stay in the EU, accept austerity) is tonight and I think we will go to that protest too. Why not, right?
When in Greece do as the Greeks do, right?
So, in this case… Join the bank run. Government shut down the banks and people are trying to get cash from ATMs – including me.
We arrived to Greece yesterday knowing there was still financial issues the country was working through with its creditors but we had no idea a bank run would happen. The day we arrived (6/27) we were able to pull a small amount of money out of an ATM at the airport figuring we’d get more money at the many ATMs spread all over the city of Athens. Early on 6/28 we were following the news and we realized we had a pretty big problem on our hands: the Greek government looked like it was going to fail to meet it’s financial obligations and we had heard people were withdrawing money at ATMs. Saturday morning I went out and tried to get as much money as possible. There’s word of bank holidays / closures and no one is sure what’s going to happen or whether we’re able to get money.
I emailed multiple people we knew in Athens asking what to do and how this will all get sorted. No one knew and stated they were in the same situation as Jac and I. The most memorable comment by far was, “good luck to us all!”. Not very reassuring.
I think we will have a very interesting time in Greece. Of all the different situations we planned encountering while traveling, a nations’ solvency was nowhere on the list. We certainly didn’t expect this.