17 June 2018

Athens


Let me start this by quoting something one of our taxi drivers said to us: “ small girls, big trip”. That little phrase basically summed up the entirety of our —myself and my best friend Kylie— trip. A little backstory first, Kylie and I go to college together and we are both extremely interested in travel. One day, we decided we were going to take a trip once school let out and while our original destination was Italy, one thing led to another and we ended up boarding a flight to Athens, Greece. Fast forward eleven hours plus the two hour layover we had in Zurich ( such a lush airport) and we found ourselves speeding along in a taxi whipping left and right on the winding outer city roads. We found our hostel, which was pretty much what we imagined a hostel in inner city Athens to look like: one toilet (working lock not included) and one shower (thankfully working lock included) per hall, twin beds that weren't as rock-like as I was imagining and air conditioning that they failed to mention was only in the lobby. To be fair though, everything was clean and there was even a turndown service everyday. The one gem of this little hostel was every room had their on set of French doors that opened to a tiny little balcony. Perfect for airflow as well as sitting and eating some takeout dinner while enjoying a lovely sunset. 



Our second day in Athens consisted of what I call educational exploration. Athens, with its illustrious history, has so much to offer any regular tourist, but to two art students who have sat through countless hours of art history classes where weeks were purely devoted to Ancient Greek art, it was basically like children let loose in candy factory. We started our day with a (small) hike up the Acropolis, where we got to revel in the beauty of the Parthenon. Granted, it was extremely toasty that day so the reveling was combined with a generous amount of sweating and a slight tinge of swearing every time my previously thought trusty Birkenstocks slipped on gravel. Life lesson: don't wear sandals on a hike. This will come back to haunt me, just wait. 






After we made our way back down from the Acropolis, we decided to continue on our educational journey *someone screams nerds from the distance*. We headed on over to the Acropolis museum where we spent the next two hours ogling different pieces of ancient art. A quick nip to the museum restaurant where we ordered some ice cream and lemonade refreshed us for the next part of our excursion: Ancient Agora. Slightly less popular than the Acropolis but still 100% worth a visit, Agora houses a few still standing buildings like the a Temple of Zeus as well as a Stoa and a church. There were also a few ruin sites as well as a lovely view of the Parthenon. We then took a break from our education adventure to feast on some traditional Greek cuisine like spicy cheese dip, olives, vine leaves and of course, a Greek salad. With full bellies, we waddled down to where we thought another ruin site would be, but in a turn events, got absolutely lost and resorted to one thing we can do anywhere in the world: shop. Since stores like Bershka and Pull&Bear don't exist in America, we took advantage of the  opportunity. 






An hour or two of retail shopping later, we took a detour into a cafe where we picked up the most delicious deserts. My favorite of which was filo pastry which shaped into a cone and filled with chocolate cream, a sort of chocolate baklava. Eating it was like being on Cloud Nine. Amount our time here in Greece, we have eaten many desserts, but baklava with chocolate cream is by far my favorite. To round out our day, we happened upon a really nice restaurant (with great prices) and had some nice wine and pasta while people watching as the sun went down. 
Day three in Athens was a final day. We went on another educational excursion, hopping from one museum to the next. First off was the Museum of Byzantine and a Christian art. Very spooky but really worth a visit because they have some absolutely incredible artifacts. We then visited the National Archeological Museum which is probably the top museum in Athens to visit. Room upon room of sculptures, pots, bowls, etc. made this experience one I’ll truly never forget. Unfortunately with every trip, there is a day that goes a bit sideways and day three was that day. After being followed and harassed through a park, we ended up making a run for it and getting a bit lost. The next hour mostly consisted of sweating, paranoia and just desperately trying to get back to the hostel. Much to our dismay, the bad juju didn't end there as we ended up having to completely replan the second leg of the trip, which caused a great deal of stress. All is well that ends well because we ordered in a fantastic pizza and went to bed early, completely exhausted. That next morning, we boarded a plane to out next destination: Santorini. 


Stay tuned for the next leg of our journey! 

-xx-

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