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Celeste is half-Dutch, half-Italian and first came to Greece some 20 years ago to work as a tour guide in Crete. She followed an education in Tourism and studied Spanish and Cultural Studies at the University of Amsterdam. For her thesis, she researched the foreign Cultural and Archaeological schools. She worked at the Dutch Institute in Athens where she organized an educational program, co-wrote a book, an article and finally decided to stay in Greece. She worked in PR & Hospitality during the Athens 2004 Olympic Games and 6 more years in Coca-Cola Hellenic. She travelled extensively for both business and pleasure around Greece and Europe. After the birth of daughters (6 and 3 years old), Celeste decides to be a full time mother. She spends most of her time on finding and enjoying family activities, family friendly restaurants and vacations and excursions. Celeste has many interests and likes change. Her hobbies include: crafts, food and wine, the beach, reading, the arts, museums and to be active outdoors. Celeste loves swimming in the sea, long walks in nature and participated in the 2014 Athens Marathon for Family Goes Out.
TBG: What is your blog about?
CT: It is about (my) family outings, activities and holidays in Athens and Greece. Activities can be adventure parks but also exploring nature, art classes, museums, restaurants, beaches, traditional local events etc. Besides kids-friendly, I focus on family friendly. I found that a lot of places are nice for children, but not for parents. The same goes for hotels. When my second child was a newborn baby, we all desperately needed a holiday. I found a resort hotel that was very child friendly and at the same time the kind of place that I would go even without children. My husband and I were able to still have a beautiful dinner and enjoy our drinks in the evening whilst our children were safe and happy too. I want to find more of such places were both parents and children can spend quality time together.
TBG: Why did you start your blog?
CT: When my kids were born, I started sharing our adventures and activities on facebook. I found out that other parents were very enthusiastic. They started asking me for tips on activities and places to go out in Athens with their children. Unlike many people believe, there are actually a lot of great family friendly places and initiatives. I wanted to promote these places and inspire other parents.
I believe that Athens – and Greece in general – are ideal for family outings and activities. The weather, the food, the nature, the landscapes, the beaches and the sea, the history…I don’t like seeing children with tablet and ipads in their free time. I want them to explore. I also wanted to share the low budget and eco friendly outings that I had found.
Going out with my babies and young children usually required specific equipment. Is it safe for a toddler running around, is there a highchair in the restaurant, is the sea shallow or rocky ? I started listing the places that have these facilities.
Finally I wanted to show the beauty of Greece to my family and friends in other countries.
In 2014, I started working with Marianne Najm, founder of Family Goes Out – in Greece. We created a directory and decided to turn the initial facebook posts into a blog, part of the Family Goes Out website.
TBG: What is one of your most viewed posts you’d like to share with us?
CT: The most viewed post is an article describing my favorite family friendly beach resort in Evia island. I have found that there is a great need for such information. We do not only see this in the statistics of our posts but also in the requests for tailor made family friendly holidays that Family Goes Out receives. Other popular posts are related to activities in and around Athens.
TBG: What was one of the most memorable trips you’ve taken and written about on your blog — and why?
CT: I only recently started writing the blog, before I only posted my travel on my facebook page for my friends. The most memorable trips before I had children was on our boat cruising the Greek islands and spending endless days alone on deserted beaches. With my children, the most memorable would be a trip to Nafplio. Because in that trip my children were both old enough to understand a bit more of history and archeology and they were able to share my passion for this with me.
TBG: What do you like most about blogging about Greece?
CT: Sharing my passion with others: parenting, family activities, travelling and Greece. Greece is so diverse. It is a destination for every season of the year and for any kind of holiday, budget and traveller. I also enjoy sharing the quality activities that my home city Athens has to offer. There is plenty of initiative out there and it needs to be promoted.
TBG: Give us one travel tip for those who have not traveled to Greece yet.
CT: Greeks love babies and children and they are welcome anywhere. The Greeks will go out of their way to make your children happy and feel special. I find people more helpful to parents here than some places abroad. From a practical point of view; if you travel with babies or toddlers, check if your accommodation offers if the necessary equipment. Family Goes out has created a database for family friendly hotels. We also partner with a baby gear rental.
TBG: Any advice for new bloggers?
CT: I am a new blogger myself and do not feel that I am yet ready to advice others. What I did notice is that post with my personal family photo’s are the most popular.
TBG: One place in Greece AND in the world you’d love to visit in the future that you have not been to yet
CT: For Greece: I have visited most of the Greek islands but not Amorgos, Folegandros and Symi. They will be part of a future trip. For the world: Egypt. I have been to the pyramids in South America but never the ones closer to home.
TBG: One place in the world AND in Greece you could visit over and over again.
CT: For the world: Italy, especially my dad’s village in the North. I spent my childhood summers there. For Greece, it’s very difficult to choose one. I will say Chania as I still often visit. I have made my best friends there. And also my hometown: Athens. Such an energetic city, always changing and yet always the same. The perfect mix between the old and the new. Fast and slow, hip and old fashioned. My best family evenings are the ones where my kids are running around in the the car free zone in Plaka underneath the Acropolis and the moon.
TBG: If you could invite five famous people to your fabulous upcoming dinner party — who would make your list?
CT: I love dinners and parties and I would invite Pope Franciscus, Madonna, Leonardo da Vinci, Bill Clinton and Nelson Mandela. (PS. for music I would of course invite a famous Dutch DJ!)