Uprooted by a national debt crisis and a deepening recession that has eaten up their jobs, incomes and pensions, many Greeks are now returning to their families’ rural past in search of a future.
Just as young graduates are moving abroad rather than risk joining the 18 percent of Greeks who are out of work, families struggling to maintain their living standards are looking for a simpler life away from the city.
Elisabeth Kokoreli and her husband Vanguelis Tsaprounis quit Athens earlier this year to live permanently in their second home on the island of Evia, where he grew up.
Although they had long been thinking about a change of lifestyle, they were forced to act after the cost of raising a family in the capital, at about 3,000 euros ($4,000) a month, far outstripped their earnings.
Now, their two daughters are settled in the local school in Vassilika and Tsaprounis, a 42-year-old painter, has set about learning the farming skills needed to make the most of the land that he has inherited.
”I am very happy,” said Kokoreli, a 40-year-old dance therapist. ”We have a better chance at a future here. In Athens, it was a constant struggle.