Welcome back to me! No really, actually I welcome myself back to being able to be in touch with you all and share life with you in whatever capacity that might be. If it weren't for that, I very well might still be in Greece right now--or so I would wish for it. But I'm happy to be back in the sense that I can talk with you all and share my adventures. Obviously, considering that I generally spend a full post on just a weekend, it is going to be difficult to sum up two whole weeks of amazing travels throughout Greece in any sort of expedient manner. So I will break this up into parts, as many as are needed. Hopefully I will finish them all before this weekend when I keep on running my way to Florence and Venice. So in other words, keep checking this often! Oh and I don't have pictures up yet--I took over 600! yikes! so I will work on selecting which ones to put up and take all that time.
So where do I start? Athens? That was the first place we went, and I will get there--but first I have to say that I feel a little guilty. I felt guilty a fair amount on the trip, because how is there any possible way that I get to experience a trip like this in such a beautiful and historical part of the world? So many of you reading this deserve it so much more than me. I wish I could give you this experience much moreso.
We spent the first 3 days of our trip in Athens, including the arrival day. That night we had a traditional Greek meal that was...let me pause here. I know it is early in our narrative, but it is not without due cause--I know you will forgive me. Allow me a few moments on Greek food. Living in Europe, I walk a lot, I play basketball, I go on hikes--it's very healthy. I've been getting into better shape and eating pretty healthy. Well not in Greece. Greek food is incredible! First, Souvelaki (better known as Gyros). I ate these so much; they are so good! Then, the bread comes with every meal and is so delicious. Then we would generally have a tiropita (cheese pie), which is baked filo dough with feta cheese inside, potatoes, perhaps a touch of lemon or something else to make it a little creamier--so good. Then we would have a Greek salad. Olive oil, tomatoes, onions, cucumbers, green peppers, and of course feta cheese. Delectable. Then the traditional main courses were either Moussaka or Pasticchio--a type of lasagnaish dish with a bit more potato taste and no red sauce, including either pasta or eggplant. It was so good. They also had pork, chicken, or lamb skewers (also called souvelaki), which were so good. And then baklava for dessert--filo dough, honey, caramel, pistachio nuts--so good. Is your mouth watering yet? Well they don't do quite as well with drinks. The traditional drink Ouzo, is quite gross. It tastes just like black licorice. But their beer, Mythos, was really good. Way better than Swiss beer.
Alright, where was I? Oh yeah, the first night. Wow, this might take awhile. Well we stayed in an amazing hotel with a great rooftop bar with a stunning view of the Acropolis. That's where we went the second day, walking up along the Theater of Dionysos and the Odeum of Herodes Atticus (Roman Theater) to the entrance. Then seeing the Parthenon, the museum, and the Erechtheum. It was quite a site. That afternoon we went to the Museum of Cycladic (most of the Greek Islands) Art, which are the white marble statues that you see that look like this:
It was very interesting learning all about the history and progression from the tour guide. The next day we saw the Kerameikos Cemetery and had a guided tour of the National Archaeological Musuem, and a trip to the Byzantine Museum. They were perhaps my two favorite museums.
That night we were supposed to take an overnight boat to Crete, but the waves were going crazy and we were stuck in port. All in all we were on the boat for 28 hours before arriving, and then when we did arrive we had a 3 hour bus ride still to get to the hotel--which we finally reached at 2 am the next day. Because of our delay, we missed hiking down the gorge across Crete (10 miles). We were pretty bummed to miss that.
But the next day was nice and we were able to visit Knossos--both the Archaeological site and the Museum. It was interesting to be able to see the contrast from the Minoan civilizations with the Mycenae and Cycladic. That afternoon we had a short hike/climb next to the Mediterranean, and then went for a swim in the ocean. It was beautiful and delightful. And then at night we had an amazing buffet meal and a fun time hanging out at the hotel's open bar. People got a little crazy! Oh yeah, and our hotel was wicked nice. Actually they all were insanely nice. I am going to have a hard time going back to hostels.
The next morning we left for Santorini, which I will leave for the next post. As a teaser, I'll leave you this photo and tell you that it was perhaps the most beautiful place I have ever seen.