NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — It was supposed to be the trip of a lifetime, but a honeymoon in New York City turned into a nightmare for a couple from Greece when the financial crisis in their homeland hit them here in the city.

As CBS2’s Cindy Hsu reported, the couple had just arrived in New York City on Saturday as part of their three-week honeymoon that also included California and a Caribbean cruise.

The pair had saved for a year to cover the cost of the trip, WCBS 880’s Ginny Kosola reported.

They had pre-paid for their hotels, but when they were asked to pay a $45 surcharge at their Midtown hotel, their Greek-issued credit and debit cards were declined.

“Our families couldn’t help us because they couldn’t give us money,” said Valasia Limnioti. “And we don’t know anyone here, no one here. We are on honeymoon, we don’t know anyone.”

Banks in Greece are freezing accounts as the country deals with the debt crisis, Hsu reported.

It’s been a week of bank closures and long lines as depositors were restricted to daily withdrawals of the equivalent of $67 a day.

Back in New York, when the couple’s cards bounced, the cash they had brought with them on their honeymoon was running out.

So they turned to two Greek Orthodox churches in Queens for help, Hsu reported.

“So it was very difficult for us, especially for my husband to go to church. It was very difficult for our dignity, honor,” said Limnioti.

Parishioners from the churches were kind enough to give them about $350 in survival cash.

“Whoever comes to our community and knocks on our door, always we have our door open to help,” said Vasilios Louros, Greek Orthodox priest at Saint Demetrios Cathedral of Astoria.

The generous gesture brought the newlyweds to tears.

“Thank God! Thank God! For help us because it was my idea to go to the church,” said Limnioti.

The couple is now headed home to Greece.

The country will vote Sunday in a referendum on whether to back more spending cuts, more tax increases and more negotiations with European creditors.


Leave a Reply