Swedish Couple on Walking Tour Across Southern Europe Disappointed by Greece’s Hostile Welcome


Written by: The MQ

“Great, first our clothes get dirty, now our suitcases don’t work in the dirt. How are we supposed to do this?” Alex Frisk whined as the couple approached the Macedonia-Greece border.
Photo by: Riley Mallory

Swedish couple Alex and Marta Frisk have been traversing Southern Europe by foot for the past couple of months. However, upon reaching Greece, they were shocked to find that its accommodation of foreigners was “less than satisfactory.” The Frisks decided to end their travels after experiencing long waits at the border, not enough housing, and rude wait staff in the country.

Alex Frisk explained their reasoning for undertaking such a long, strenuous journey: “Both of us have been under a large amount of stress recently. There’s a lot of drama in Marta’s office over people stealing each other’s food out of the communal fridge, and I haven’t been able to sleep at night with all the dogs barking in our neighborhood. It’s like bombs are being dropped outside!” The couple claimed they needed a break to fully recover, and their top floor, spacious apartment with a large balcony couldn’t provide the shelter, comfort, and safety they needed.

“We knew it would be a difficult journey,” Marta explained, “and that’s one of the reasons we wanted to do it. There is a sense of fulfillment you get from walking across countries on foot. And also, the weary traveler aesthetic looks great on us,” she concluded.

The Frisks had just reached the four month mark of their walk when they reached the Macedonia-Greece border. “By that point, we were already fatigued,” Marta described. “We had spent all of the last day on a boat ride across the Great Prespa Lake from Macedonia to Greece. The boat ride was so rocky I thought we were going to drown! So you can understand how exhausted we were.”

The Frisks were both looking forward to successfully entering the country. “We had been through a lot, and considered giving up countless times, but we figured finally entering this land full of hope would make it all worthwhile. We were hoping to find some kind of second home in Greece, and also finally be able to say that we’d seen the Parthenon,” Alex exclaimed. However, upon reaching the country, the Frisks were discouraged by what they encountered.

“There was this really long line at the border checkpoint, and we just had to stand there and wait for hours! There were no refreshments, or seats, or anything. It was like no one cared about the struggle we’d been through to reach that point.” The couple was finally able to enter Greece after an hour wait; however, they reportedly had difficulties finding an adequate place to stay.

“There were just travelers everywhere, you’d think the country would at some point curb the flow of tourists so the rest of us can find available rooms isolated enough to fully relax and enjoy ourselves,” Marta explained. After hours of searching, the couple decided to end their journey. “The human spirit is fairly resilient,” Marta continued. “If anything, our journey up until that point had proven that, but there is only so much we can take without completely breaking down.”

The Frisks caught a late flight out of Greece, and were more than ready to return home. “I just thank God that we have our own bed waiting for us. If anyone in the world deserves some good rest and sympathy right now, I think I can safely say it’s us,” Alex finished, “it almost would have been better if they had just turned us away at the border, so that we wouldn’t have had to go through any of that. It would have saved us a lot of trouble.”

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