After visiting the U.S., where she saw how Donald Trump and others are trying to replace democracy with a right-wing dictatorship, Sophie, with her LUC8K handmade leather bags, is now flying to Athens, Greece.
Why Athens? The Greek capital is one of the world’s oldest continually inhabited cities with a recorded history that dates back to 1400 BC. It is known as the cradle of Western civilization. This is due to its progress in the fields of literature and architecture. Athens really excelled in philosophy, were pioneers in this new field of learning—such as Plato, Aristotle, and Socrates—first shared their theories that are still being studied today.
Athens is also known as the birthplace of democracy. Athens’ politics evolved into an early form of democracy in 550 BC with a system that allowed the population to vote directly for legislation. It did have its limitation as only men who had completed their military service were allowed to participate, which amounted to about 20% of the total population. Despite these restrictions, Athenian democracy was successful and well maintained.
How Democracy Is Doing
Sophie came to Greece to see for herself how democracy is doing these days. Of course, the democratic system of government has progressed since its founding. Its government is a presidential-parliamentary republic, which is one of the many democratic systems that elect people to represent them.
The past few years haven’t been easy for Greece or its government. Mired in corruption, inefficiencies, and far too much borrowing, the country nearly fell into insolvency and forced to leave the European Union. However, in 2015, far-left populist politician, Alexis Tsipras, was elected and has gradually led the country’s economy back to a slow, steady growth. He did this through the use of extreme austerity measures imposed by the EU. Remarkably, as a candidate, he vowed to ignore these EU demands. The government and economy are stable again as a new prime minister was elected this year, Kyriakos Mitsotakis.
More recently, a flood of immigrants landing on Greece’s shores from worn-torn countries in the Middle East is a new problem that the country struggles to solve.
The country still has a long way to go before it can be released from creditors’ grips, but its present and future look sound. Sophie can see this on the streets of Athens. Municipal services are working properly, people are engaging in light conversation in cafes and the smiling tourists who have returned. Sophie, with her LUC8K Shopper, bought souvenirs in the many family-owned stores for her friends.
The importance of tourism to the Greek economy can’t be underestimated. Greece, in particular the southern Greek islands, are universally considered to be one of the most romantic and beautiful places for a holiday. Whitewashed buildings on cliffs overlooking the deep blue sea and beneath clear blue skies are the stuff of dreams.
Newly elected government go Greece.
In 2015, the newly elected government disbanded the environmental ministry and merged it with a larger ministry with a broader mission. It was a controversial decision, but one of the good things that happened is sustainable tourism has become a growth industry. It’s another layer of proof that sustainable practices can also be a profitable business model.
While Donald Trump wants to turn America into a totalitarian state and a dirtier place to live, struggling countries like Greece show real leadership in governance and sustainability.
Not many people know this, but Sophie is an Olympics fanatic. The international sporting event was founded in ancient Greece. Sophie even has her eye on an Omega 1932 Olympic pocket watch, but at $109,000, she is content with her LUC8K handmade leather bags. Omega has been the official timekeeper for the Olympic Games since 1932, so the watch is so special to Sophie.
The Stadium at Olympia
Sophie took a side trip to the Olympia architectural site, leaving her leather bags behind at the hotel in Athens and going with her LUC8K duffle bag. The site has more than 70 significant buildings and ruins of many of these survive. However, Sophie was most interested in one lesser-known site: The Stadium at Olympia. The small grassy plateau with a long horizontal dirt marker was once the track events scene to determine the world’s fastest person. During the 2004 Olympic Games in Greece, this ancient and unassuming spot hosted the shot put events. It was the one place that tied the ancient sporting event from the 8th Century BC with the multi-billion-dollar modern monstrosity of the 21st Century. It also emphasized one of the true ancient sporting competitions of the Olympics that survive today.
Finally, the world-class shot putters performed their feats of strength on dirt, one of the world’s oldest materials. Even the crowds watched the games gathered informally on the dirt playing field’s sides, sitting on the lawn as the athletes competed. It was a far cry from the Olympic Games of today, performed in multi-billion stadiums—with armed guards, metal detectors, and hundreds-of-thousands of spectators.
Before moving on to her next adventure, Sophie took all of her special-made LUC8K bags and went to the Greek islands for a short holiday. Of course, she went to a sustainable resort.