East Bay family heads to Greece amid financial crisis

EAST BAY, Calif. (KTVU) – As the financial crisis in Greece continues to make headlines, an East Bay couple plans to head there next month.

Dimitris and Nikki Haramoglis said they have deep roots in Greece and said tourism is very important for that country.

The trip is part of a family tradition. This year the couple will be baptizing their 8-month-old twins on the island of Lefkada.  The couple’s first daughter was baptized in Greece too.

“My entire family goes every single year,” Nikki said. “My father was baptized there. Our first daughter was baptized there and now our twins will be baptized in the same island.”

The family will be traveling in the midst of Greece’s financial crisis. Currently, major banks are closed, access to cash at ATMS is limited, citizens voted to reject the terms of a bailout by international creditors, and there is a possibility the country could leave the Eurozone.

“It’s going to be a little different than other years, but I don’t think too much different,” Dimitris said.

They will have to prepare differently, in terms of possibly taking cash with them instead of credit cards.  Their relatives have told them people in Athens are stocking up on things like spaghetti and rice, but for the most part, tourist spots like Lefkada are unaffected.

“I was talking to my cousin and he told me that his sister in law just lost her job,” Dimitris said. “She worked for a travel agency, which all the more reason for us to go, right? Tourism is important for Greece.”

The couple hopes the recession will end and start a path of growth for Greece. They also hope the country does not leave the Eurozone.

“Our hearts are really with the people [of Greece] and what they are having to endure in this time of unknowns,” Nikki said.

Despite the economic uncertainty, the family said nothing can devalue Greece’s true assets, the culture, history, and family values.

“Greece is a beautiful nation filled with a lot of hard working people,” she added. “We’ll pack up our babies, we’ll pack up our things. We are excited. We cannot wait to get home and just be with our family and friends.”