guide - I would rather say the leader-cum-advisor-cum-porter-cum-translator-cum-psychologist-cum-companion
(etc.etc.) - is the crucial component which makes any
program successful or not. Likewise, on the people behind
the name of a company depends what is inside the products.
You like them, they will like you. You have the same interests,
the same philosophy, we will get along great. You trust
them, you will really focus on enjoying yourself. Know
them. Know us. A little.
Partner, General Management
Why start with climbing and why focus on Mount Olympus?
Very simple, Dimitris is a climber and lives on Mount
Olympus, well, on its foothills in Litohoro village.
Also, Greece is 75% mountains. So, you cannot avoid
But, you do not need to limit yourself to them for,
as you know from Zorba the Greek, we have also lots
and sea - plus the rivers and canyons in and around
the mountains. Dimitri is ready to make all the personal
arrangements to take you sea-kayaking, rafting, scuba-diving,
canyoning, or on a Jeep or Zodiac safari, for he is
a tested organizer by owning and managing, in parallel,
a large business in the book industry.
Need a guidebook, a photo album, a map?!
Partner, Local Promotion
Well, that doesn't interest you!
Except if you are a Greek living in Greece reading this!
So, we won't bore you describing the nitty-gritty of
reaching local people.
The good news is that nature has been getting lots of
attention in the past few years inside the country too,
with regular features in the media. The best news is
that primary and high schools now regularly organize
trips to nature centers which themselves have become
pretty good at describing the evolution and (many!)
challenges of their local ecosystem, and some could
even be qualified as small museums. So, the next generation
will go watch birds instead of eating them!
Partner, Foreign Promotion
Why travel? Why Greece? Why birds?
I am not born for one corner; the whole world is my
native land?, said philosopher and tragedian Lucius
Annaeus Seneca astride two eras (4 BC-AD 65). Alexander
has traveled overland to 63 countries on all continents,
not yet Oceania and Antarctica, always as Northern Greece
as his starting point. So ideally located it is, sitting
astride Asia (ever heard the expression Western Mistress,
Eastern Bride?), Africa (Creta's Ierapetra is Europe?s
southernmost city), and Europe (before the European
Union, Greeks did not include themselves when talking
about this continent). So much that the migrating birds
from/to Europe, Asia, Africa, also stop here at one
of the 11 Ramsar sites or IBAs, raising the total species
well above 400.
Why manage? Manage what?
Tourism and travel is one of the most demanding industry
in terms of preparation and services. From designing
a program, selecting appropriate hotels and guesthouses,
booking buses a year ahead, dealing with vegetarians
in meat-mostly tavernas, to fixing last minute problems
or requests, assisting participants with special needs,
answering hundreds of info requests, and much more.
All that is Yiota responsibility at the office, and
into the nights, when she takes home her laptop and
cell phone, and into the week-ends when she goes into
the fields with some or other group. The rest of the
time, she is finishing a master's degree in Fisiki drastiriotita
kai athlitiki anapsixi, oops!, we meant physical activities
and athletic development... or, to put it simply, Leisure
Yannis also lives on Mount Olympus, and climbs on it
when he is not under the earth, excavating at the nearby
ancient sacred city of Dion as part of the university
team. He is full equipped, both theoretically (courses
and certificates from the Hellenic Mountaineering and
Climbing Association to the Chamonix, France, Association
to the American Red Cross and the Hellenic National
Center for First Aid) and in practice, with clients
ranging from the U.K. World Challenge Expeditions and
the U.S. Universities of New Orleans, Duke, Park, and
Diversion and Delta-Sky Magazines, to the Japanese World
Expeditions Consultants, and TOSOH. Just beware, his
English was Brooklynized when he did his master at CUNY!
What more guides?
Here is Michalis Styllas, another U.S educated young
man, climbing from the bottom of the oceans where he
specialize in sedimentology and geomorphology (M.S in
Oceanography from Oregon state) up to the top of Mt
Olympus, so often that he now also manages one of its
refuges. But not only -you climbers may have hooked
him on the Alaskan Range, the Cascades, Sierra Nevada,
South America's Corillera Blanca, or even on Nepal's
Dhaulagiri. Cho Oyo, Ama Dablam, and... the Everest!
And you, runners, may have bumped into him on the blistering
140 miles Death Valley, the freezing 300 miles Alaskan
race, or the 1.700-fot high Nepal running trails. Come
run with him on one of Greece's mountains, he will know
how to both entertain you and respond to any situation.
Want more guides?
Why guide? Guide what?
Well, you could go on your own, especially if you want
to focus on preparation and management rather than on
enjoying the nature and the activity, if you want to
miss that traditional village, Byzantine bridge, scenic
view, if you want to order from the menu at the taverna
instead of telling the cook what to prepare, and, above
all, stay stuck in a cove with your sea-kayak or take
the wrong turn on the mountain path, and, last but not
least, if you spurn an unforgettable companion ready
to tell you the history - and the stories -
of the places you go through.