December 17th, 3am:
Two impressions of the airport: 1. Stickers: What is with all the stickers that they check everything a hundred times and put a sticker on it. I’m surprised I dont’ need to wear a sticker saying I’m o.k.! 2. Shoes: My super duper hi-tec tigger shoes caused me a security snag in Israel. They had never seen such shoes, and for a mintue i thought htey weren’t going to let me keep them. But all is well that ends well! off to GREECE!
December 18th, 5pm:
We arrived in Greece after a short flight (we had to take a bus to our plane because it was too small to be at the regular terminal!) No problems entering the country other than the disappointment of the Greek stamp in my passport; it doesn’t even say Greece on it! We got our luggage, found the metro, and took 2 trains to our hotel! We wealked up from the train station and there, straight ahead was the Acropolis. It was incredible to see such an amazing piece of history just in the distance. I know I see history all the time in Israel, but this was different, this was new!
We set our bags down at the Hotel and off we went to explore Athens. We decided to save the Acropolis for day 2 or 3, so our only plan as we set off on foot was to avoid the Acropolis. We used it as a fantastic landmark, but did not want to end up climbing up! We went all around the city seeign ruins from one place and then with the map, trying to find them and figure out what they were. It’s like every street we turned down had another piece of History waiting to be discovered. We saw the fleamarket, which reminded me of the Shuk, and continued to be surrounded by worry beads, churches and other ancient ruins! Many pictures were taken and finally, at noon we decided we were hungry having not eaten since the night beore. Lunch was found at a cute little outdoor cafe: “Traditional Greek Salad” chopped cucumbers, peppers, tomatoes, onions and crispy bread from Crete, tossed together with Feta! AMAZING!
Then we decided to ehad back to the hotel to see if our room was ready a bit early! Itw as, so we headed up, looked around and passed out for a much needed 3 hour nap!
We woke up, lit hannukah candles, in Greece, publicized the miracle!! After the lights went out, we headed out on the town to find some diner. We originally wanted to go to this vegetarian place, but it had closed. So we wandered some more and found a nice little restaurant. We sat down at our heated outdoor table and were greeted with a glass of Ouzo on the house! I dont’ love licorice, but this was pretty good! We ordred, too much food, but it was worth it! I had an incredible tortellini and of course a liter of the house wine, it was too cheap to resist!!
After dinner it was late, so we headed back to the hotel and called it a night, watching legally blond and al the other stations that were in Greek! It is all Greek to me!!
December 18th, day recap:
We woek up late today, headed out to the Jewish museum, a let down! I am sure there is so much more to Jewish Greek life outside sororities and fraternities on college campuses, but alas, what can you do! it was too late to begin hikin hte Acropolis, although, I’ve now seen it from just about every angle!! WE walked around town, saw the parliament, and the changing of the guard. Then we wandered through this strange Christmas wonderland to a ton of diferent stores and then thru the botanical gardens to Zeus’ palace and Hadrian’s Arch. We wandered and wandered and then found a place for lunch; another salad, another complimentary shot, and nap time!!
After nap time, we went to a cute little outdoor resturant for an amazing mozzerella pasta and a good glass of sangria. We were both feeling pretty tired so we came back to the hotel, and went to bed to prepare for our big day the next day! The highlight of the evening: Finding a Starbucks! I MISS AMERICA!
Today was jam packed! We left the hotel around 9:30am and headed off to the Acropolis, finally! We ended up finding a random ancient temple on the way, so we wandered through there and met Spartacus, the dog who led us up until we reached the top of the Acropolis! The Acropolis was amazing! We saw the parthenon, all these really cool temples and statues! I know it’s not a Jewish sight, but i felt such a strong connection to the incredible detail and other efforts that went into building all of these intricate buildings! I love walking throughhistory, living history, trying to visualize what life must have been like in those days!
The Scenary here has also been breathtaking! The views are always spectacular with history sprouting up in the distance, but mostly the skies and trees have touched me! Everytime i see an amazing cloud, storm or sky, I think of my Grammy and this trip was no exception! I miss her a lot. I know she would have loved to be in Greece and the natural beauty that surrounds me there, i know I get this love from her, and I know that I carry her in my heart and she is watching over me and enjoying nature as I am! This was very prominent today!
After the Acropolis, we headed out ot the nearset port city to see some water and get away from Athens for a bit. We got to the city, walked around a bit and decided to try and catch a boat to one of the islands for a while! We were in luck and bought tickets to the 1pm boat to Hydras on Hellenic Seaways! Our boat was a hydrafoil, which means that it sat ontop of the water. We had an hour to grab lunch, so we headed out to the nearest Starbucks and enjoyed a little treat from home, which made me all the more homesick! 1.5 hours later, we disembarked on Hydras and had about 1.5 hours to walk around. It was magnificent, with beautiful shorelines and forts built all around! I was so thankful we decided to visit an island. It was much mor elike the Greece I had imagined, much less commercial! A cute little island splattered with little white houses and blue doors, donkeys moving tourist luggage and other goods, peaceful, quiet and authentic! We stayed utnil just about sunset and enjoyd the sun setting over the watter (Mediteranian/Aegean sea) on the boat on our way back to the port. We got back after dark, found our way to the metro and headed back to Athens! Now, we are pros at figuring out Greek signs and what train to take!
We arrived back in our room at 7:30pm, enjoyed the lighting of the Hannukah candles, figured out where to go for dinner. We ate at this little resturant called Mi Sueno, some of the most amazing food I’ve had in a while, fish, Paella, wine, free liquor, this is vacation!!
*SIDE NOTE: I miss Israela nd knowing where I am going! I guess i fell in love with Israel more than I realized and I am looking forward to going back! Also, this was my first time travelling with soemone who wears a kippah all the time, and I have to say it felt strange to receive stares, people saying Shalom or acting differently because they figured out we were Jewish!
Also, people automatically assume that since a man and a woman of a certain age travel together, they must be married. Thus, making me very uncomfortable, but also showing society’s pressures and standards… UGH!!
MUSEUM DAY! Today, our last day in Greece turned into a museum extravaganza, 5 museums from 9:30am-6:30pm. We walked and enjoyd! We started at the Byzantine museum, followed by a brief visit to the War/Military Museum, then a long walk to the Archaeological Museum, lunch, a train to the Interactive Hellenism Museum where we visited in Olympia and the temple of Zeus, checked email and finally headed back across to our side of town to the Islamic Art Museum. Off to sushi for dinner, the hotel to light candles, change clothes, pick up our bags and off to the airport.
I have to say, I am more than ready to be back in my Apartment. Seeing American resturants: starbucks, Applebee’s, TGI fridays has made me miss America! I also just miss having my own space and being in a country where I understand the language!
And now I’m back, and tired just typing about the trip!! MORE IN A BIT when I’m awake! Peace out!!