Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Athens, Greece: there's thousand-year-old ancient dust on my boots

I finally got a chance to do some travelling in Europe.  It's really not always as cheap as they say it is (but if your dates are flexible, it can be) and since I work 6 days a week I could only go for a few days (Friday morning to Sunday morning) but it was a great time.  The weather was in the 70s (as opposed to the 20s and 30s in Paris), and everything was so laid back and much more casual and friendlier than Paris.  I really am starting to love it here, but it was nice to get out of the rigidness for a little while.  And they had flip flops!!  I haven't seen flip flops since August.  I miss you my friends.

Everyone we met seemed to love us.  There were 10 of us in the group.  We got free desserts at both the restaurants we went to for dinner, the bartender at the cafe we sat in knocked 50 cents off Connie's drink, took out her laptop to Google Map the Greek Isles, and taught us some Greek words, and the produce guy in the square gave me 2 free oranges.  I don't know what it was about us; my theory is that maybe tourists (which is mostly who was around) aren't usually very friendly, and we were?  That's all I got.  But I'm not complaining.

Paris has a system for everything.  There is a proper way to do everything, a proper way to say everything or eat everything or greet someone (or not greet someone); the atmosphere in Athens just seemed much more forgiving of those of us who might not understand the system.  On the bright side, however, I have never appreciated how capable I am of maneuvering around Paris and its language more than when I was in Athens, where even the alphabet is foreign and I was COMPLETELY lost.  It turns out Greek is really quite phonetic, though, and being in the sorority helped me know a lot of the letters, so we were able to pick up at least the pronunciations pretty well by the end of the trip.

My souvenir is a pair of leather flip flops.  Next to the hostel was a store owned by a guy who custom fits flip flops and sandals, and is the 3rd generation of his family to do this.  The style and concept have become quite popular, and there were many other stores around, but he is apparently the original.  His sandals have been purchased (and I'm assuming subsequently worn) by John Lennon and the Beatles, Jackie Onassis, Sophia Lauren, and Barbara Streisand.  I got the Jackie Os.  And I will probably not be able to wear them again until I come back home, but I like them.
I have Beatles sandals apparently.

making the sandals
and the fitting
All in all it was a success, even though Connie booked the wrong flight home (stupid European calendars) and I made the trip alone.  I'm totally jealous of her extra day.  My travel advice to anyone going to an unfamiliar place: go somewhere even MORE unfamiliar first, you'll feel great about yourself once you get to your destination.

My favorite pictures:
Baklava. Delicious.

It was really windy. This was at the Temple of Poseidon, a 2 hour bus ride
outside of Athens, and, appropriately, by the sea.

one of the Acropolis buildings

Being tourists. We feel a little bad doing it in Paris.

Beach! I miss it.

Temple of Hephaestus, god of metalworking, craftmen, etc. in the Agora

A nice view from the Acropolis

Pantánassa church monastery in Monastiraki Square (Μοναστηράκι in greek, means "little Monastery")

Acropolis from either the rooftop bar at the hostel, or Mount Lycabettus (see below)

Lycabettus (Λυκαβηττός) - it's open 24/7 so we climbed this sometime 
after midnight after happy hour at the rooftop bar.

1 comment:

  1. Lovely photos of Athens. As with many other European destinations, I would love to put this on my bucket list.