4/14/10

Greece...Part 1: Athens



Long over due. Well on March 19th, my friend and I took a train from Florence to Rome at about 9am. There were actually a few people that 'said' they were going to do this trip with us, but everyone bailed and it ended up being just Caitlin and I. Our spring break then was to entail a 9 day trip to Greece, covering Athens and the Greek islands of Mykonos and Santorini. Our flight for Athens was the next day, so we decided to go down a day early and spend it in Rome. I had not been to Rome since the very beginning of my trip, so it was really cool to go back. Rome is just one of those cities that I feel like no matter how many times you go there and see everything, it never gets old. We tried to do nearly everything in one day and as impossible as that may seem, we came pretty close. The only things we really didn't see again were the Colosseum and the Trevi Fountain. We spent an extended amount of time in Vatican City which was what I wanted to do anyway. We stayed in a nice little hostel fairly close to the train station, so it made it easier to get up and get to the airport as soon as possible in the morning.



Our flight to Athens left on time and went smoothly. We got there around 1 or 2 in the afternoon. I just know that we lost an hour getting into Greece. Now let's talk about Athens' transit systems. This was one of the parts of Greece that I didn't like. That and the cost of this trip. But anyway, Athens transit systems suck and unless you reside there or have been there recently, you will be like us and have no idea how get around. There is really no way to describe the dysfunction and inconvenience that is Athens' trains that will do it justice. I will just give you an example. Pireaus is the name of the port city that is basically a part of Athens but is a bay area where all of the ferries get into and out of Athens. From our hostel, we had to walk to the train, get on a train, get off that train, get on a bus to take us to another train, take that train to another bus to one more train that finally took us to the port. All of this while we thought we would be able take one train all the way there, because that is what the map says in the train station and that's what the front desk worker at our hostel said. Yeah, nope. Athens transit systems suck. If you go, prepare thyself.

Okay, negativity set aside, Athens was awesome. We were there for two full days so I definitely felt like we got to experience everything there. We lost two hours when we first got there due to the shitty transit, but ended up getting to our hostel around 4:30 in the afternoon. We went out and explored the city the rest of the evening. We had a pretty decent walk from our hotel to the heart of Athens, where everything worth seeing resides for the most part. First of all, it should be made clear that the heart of Athens is way different from the rest of it. Outside the heart of the city, Athens is kind of dirty. The buildings and streets just came across as dirty and unkept to a certain extent. It was rather underwhelming. Just another city. What I imagine the Dirty South in the US to be like, ha. The heart of Athens is so cool though. Once we got there, we decided to look around a bit and find somewhere to eat. There were plenty of options. Greek food definitely gives Italian a run for its money. I am not going to say which one I like better, but Mediterranean food in general is definitely my favorite. The gyros there are so good and actually pretty cheap. Sorry Pistol, but I am going to have to take these ones over those of King Kong's in Omaha. Heartbreaking, but true. All of the greek food was fantastic. Definitely spent too much money on it. So anyway, the rest of the night we walked around Athens at night (which looks incredible by the way), through all the streets checking out shops and what not and eventually making our way up towards the Acropolis. We couldn't actually go up to the Acropolis that night because it was closed, but we got high enough up to give us an awesome view of Athens at night. It was fantastic. It also seemed to be a popular place to take your girlfriend to swoon her and make out. Understandable, given the view. So yeah, that was a little awkward but nevertheless, I got my high from the view and that was good enough for me. We ended the night by getting a couple drinks in downtown Athens and headed back to the hostel. Greek television entails a lot more english than Italian, so we got to go back to our room after couple drinks and watch Catwoman. I know, awesome. Hallie Berry, what were you thinking?

The next morning we went up to Acropolis. It was flat out stunning. The ancient structures just towered above and looked over the city of Athens. Just thinking about how historic and old the structures actually were gave me goosbumps; as did the view from the top. Definitely one of the best views I have gotten. You can see the city of Athens (which is huge), the Mediterranean Sea, Greek landscape, and the layer of pollution that hovers above the city, haha. No, it was fantastic and I got some great pictures. The rest of the day we just kind of roamed around the city, checking out other sites like the Parthenon and what not. It was really cool and really chill. We ate more awesome food, checked out shops, and talked to the Greek people. Greek is a very difficult language, right up there with Latin, but luckily all of the greeks spoke perfect English. Greece was also home to the most friendly, hospitable people I have met yet in my time abroad. What an amazing culture. So friendly and just happy about life in general. They love America too, which is cool. Honestly though, very down to earth people. It was uplifting to receive that as I was a bit nervous due to the country being completely bankrupt and riots breaking out the past few weeks. All of my experiences with the Greek people were very positive.

The next morning we made our way to Pireaus to catch our ferry to the island of Mykonos. I already explained how wonderful our connection from Athens to Pireaus was, but once we got there we hopped aboard our ferry and made our way toward Mykonos. I really didn't know what to expect with the ferry, but it was some kind of combination between a nicer airplane and a cruise ship. We rode second class so we had airplane like seating, but first class was able to get a room and bed to sleep if they like. We were also able to get up and walk around and sit in a booth to get something to eat or drink if we liked as well. The ferry experience was pretty cool and I'm glad I did it, but it just takes a while to get from isle to isle. It was about a 4 or 5 hour ferry ride from Athens to Mykonos, but we left at 7:30am so we got there in time to spend an afternoon right away in Mykonos.

5 comments:

  1. If you scroll this post from top to bottom at a steady speed you can see some girl enjoying a coffee TWICE.

    Word.

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  2. who is this girl? is she a tour guide?

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  3. Everyone that bailed really missed out!

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  4. i have no idea what is going on here?

    ReplyDelete