Hello my faithful (?) readers and welcome to another post by the ever-amazing Voice of Truth (your lack of comments means I have to do my own praising *hint hint*). My latest adventure involved a week in the wonders of Greece, more specifically Athens and its environs. I found Greece to be an amazing country full of rich history, modern conveniences, and absolutely incredible beaches. Possibly the only downside to my entire stay in Greece was the flight there. My first flight involved a ridiculously long layover in Paris (7 hours or so) where I had to switch airports from Paris Orly to Paris De Gaulle. As luck would have it I only realized this upon my arrival. This was followed by a three-hour delay where the plane first arrived late, was boarded and fueled, and then we were all asked to board a different plane entirely. One could ask why they didn’t do that to begin with, but whatever. This ridiculous maneuvering resulted in my arriving in Athens at around 2 am after catching a bus to the city center and hightailing it to my hostel. Strangely (or so it seemed at the time), only one of the other 6 bunks in my room was occupied and, as luck would have it, occupied by a fellow American (from the USA for all you nit-picky types). Long plane rides and late nights tend to make me chatty so we quickly introduced ourselves. The young man was on a 2-month hiatus (not sure from what) but he was taking the time to travel around Europe and after finishing his stay in Greece he was off to the delights and decadence of Italy.
The next morning I awoke for an early (and free ☺) breakfast at the hostel whereupon I met up with my friend from the night before and a girl who was employed as an ice hockey player in Switzerland (you really do meet the most amazing people while traveling). Since they had been staying in Athens for several days before me, we made plans to visit the National Archaeology Museum. On our way back from the museum, we happened across a protest along the infamous Syntagma Square and thereafter made our way into the marketplace where the tall, blond girl was molested (or at least harassed) by an overly enthusiastic clown with a British accent. Unfortunately (for him), she was having none of that and rather forcefully removed him from her surroundings. The rest of the journey into the market proved unremarkable, but the market itself reminded me of the medina of Fez. Stalls crowded much too close together, vendors hawking their wares, overly solicitous sellers, and more goods than you could possibly have time or need for. Lunch consisted of my favorite Greek meal, the gyro (or pita or slouvaki, depending on minute details that I never really learned to distinguish in my week long stay). After lunch we wandered back towards our hostel and the nearby ruins of Hadrian’s Arch, the Temple of Zeus, and the national park. Below is a picture of the columns that are all that remain of Zeus’s Temple.
The national park was by far my favorite attraction, purely for the presence of a trampoline-like contraption. Yes, we did play on the children’s toys – for almost an hour, in fact. We returned to the hostel at which point I took a long overdue siesta and then spent the rest of the afternoon/night chatting up some fellow travelers. I absolutely love traveling alone; you can meet the most wonderful people. Everyone was ridiculously nice and helpful and I made a lot of new friends. I used Greece as a crash course into traveling alone and now I feel confident that my 2-month tour of Europe should go smashingly well if its anything like what I did this past week. That night I indulged in the first of my infamous pub crawls. That concludes the first day of my Grecian adventure; I’ll write the rest as soon as I’m done watching the Semana santa processions go by. Hasta luego!