Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Greece Part 1: Athens

     So I could make this post the generic "all about my vacation" blog that takes forever to read, illustrates in Stephanie Meyer esque fashion the most ridiculous and bland details of my trip, and in other words sounds like something written in a diary and meant for no one to read but nosy Moms who say they read cause they're concerned but really they just need a little excitement in their life and are totally looking in ALL the right places....yeah.
      Sadly I can't promise that it won't be like that because I'm an 18 year old female and I only have so much intelligence to write something worth reading. But hey! You're probably going to be on the computer for 4 more hours anyway posting "Yoga Moves In 3'x5' Workspace"on to Pinterest so maybe you should just read this anyway.

Are you hooked yet? Good. Now lets begin.

Now for the first installment of a series whose length is at this point undecided:
Photo by Eliza Eaton

Photo by Eliza Eaton

     Athens was filled with the typical tourist traps, so Americanized that they made the worst “air guitarist” in Times Square look like a sort of Yo-Yo Ma. Driving from the airport to the hotel was a learning experience in itself. Because I tend to think of myself as someone who embraces urban culture, I immediately was fascinated by the Greek graffiti, urban decay buildings, and millions of ridiculously horrifying sidewalks that doubled as a place to park one’s car. I soon realized that this place was no joke.

      In New York City, yes there’s poverty, but there’s also an equal amount of wealthiness, showiness, and above all flashiness (is that considered the same as showiness though?). Anyway,  Athens really relies on tourism and the second they see anyone who could possibly give them their money, that turns into their immediate focus. We also learned another factoid about Athens: they don’t want to hurt you and there’s hardly any type of violence involving tourists; however the one issue that you’re always reminded about while being in the city is to watch your pockets and purses. You will come in contact with pick-pockets. Most of these people are quite desperate. At one point my father was riding the subway.Being one to never take a warning lightly, held on firmly to my purse. Dad, being slightly less paranoid, reached into his uncovered pocket and felt a hand. Knowing exactly what was happening as soon as he felt the moving hand, Dad whipped around only to give the man (who was more or less middle-aged and not a juvenile by any means) a good scolding. This was within our first 3 minutes of exploring the city.
     Now when it came to being around the city for a full day, our experience was surprisingly pleasant. The ruins of the Parthenon, and others, were incredible to see in person and not as underwhelming as history book staples usually are. And while the whole city is still filled with tacky tourist shops as bad as Gatlinburg, and young gypsy children playing the accordion for any sort of money they can get, we eventually found a strip where we walked peacefully and actually enjoyed the beauty of the ancient city. As for our nights in Athens, they were filled with watching Soccer at outdoor bars across the street from the hotel or admiring the lit up Parthenon from the roof top bar of our hotel. 

Photo by Eliza Eaton

       One wonderfully wonderful day we rode on a bus three hours out of the city to the beautiful Delphi, an ancient city on the side of a cliff. To us, it seemed like an ancient Las Vegas (or as we called it, “The Birthplace of YOLO”). Seriously. Our incredibly wise and philosophical tour guide, Christine, told us the history, mythology, and secrets (OMG) of the ancient vacation spot with such eloquence that it was hard not to wish we could have seen the place in its hay day. When the visitors of Delphi weren’t listening to the preaching’s of philosophers or coming to see the center of it all, The Oracle, they were partying for weeks on end with the help of the God of YOLO, Dionysus (OK he’s the God of wine but close enough).  Thanks to Christine, we were able to get a much better feel to the fascination behind Delphi, way more than what we were able to grasp from going to the bland museum where we were yelled at by a middle aged Greek woman and took pictures of the millions of stray kitties outside.  
Photo by Eliza Eaton

     One our way back to Athens, we stopped at a Crackle Barrel esque Greek restaurant where I got a classic Greek foods sample plate. I cannot lie to you and say that Greek food wasn’t one of the greatest parts of the entire trip.

        Athens, while fascinating and in some ways inspiring, was perfectly placed at the beginning of the trip. For the days to follow were filled the greatest experiences of my life and memories that I could never take for granted. Thats all for now, but expect plenty more.
Photo by Alexandra Chamberlain
Greek Country Side


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