Monday, March 1, 2010

February 27th, Saturday

This morning we embarked on our first traveling adventure outside of Vienna. We woke up to finish up last minute packing. Some made themselves breakfast, and we all had to manage the unwanted task of saying our goodbyes to Janet. We had to meet down in the lobby area by 9am. With all being fairly on time, hoping we didn’t forget anything, we headed to the subway to catch our connecting trains to the airport. The plane ride went quick with some of the best views of mountains and cities; I can’t even describe how cool the picturesque scenes were.

When we landed in Greece we were a little bit disappointed that we were greeted by rain, but as the shuttle took us to our hostel, it cleared up nicely and only sprinkled later on in the evening. I have never stayed in a hostel before so I am sort of looking forward to experiencing the different atmospheres within them in the next few months. Our rooms in Athens are nicer than what I was expecting. All of our rooms have a small balcony off of them, and the room in which I’m staying is over a big orange tree. They have orange trees lining the street here. Some of us tried tasting them, and they didn’t taste very good. We later found out from our tour guide that they are more for cooking than eating them fresh; they were just kind of cool to see.

Speaking of our tour guide, I think she is one of the reasons why I had such an amazing time in Athens this first day. It is an awesome city and she made it even better. On the first night we went on a walk with Ioanna. She gave us the choice to “take the road less taken” when we came to a fork in the road. We of course took it and were treated with an amazing experience. The Acropolis could be seen almost everywhere we went and is one of the coolest views that I have been able to see in my life. We made a few friends during our walk, too. I should mention that they were of the four pawed and legged kind. You see, in Greece they don’t have SPCAs or animal shelters. The strays become community pets. People feed them and take care of them. We even named a few of them that were with us, and they adopted us as if they were our very own loyal pets. This was a most welcomed change from what we have experienced in Vienna, where it is thought of as rude and inappropriate to pet a stranger’s dog.

As we were walking past it, a local priest invited us into a church that was built around 960, St. Dimitri’s. From what I can tell the people here are so laid back and genuinely just nice, it is quite refreshing to be in this atmosphere. We were even invited back for the next day’s services at the church. After that we kept on going and found a great look-off point. I wish that pictures could bring into focus the true beauty that you were able to see from off the cliff.

From there, it was off to supper, with a little bit more history and sights along the way. We walked down Tripod Street, which is the oldest known street in the world. And then there was the best part of the night, dinner. We really didn’t expect what we received. We went to this little place, whose name translates into “The Tavern of the Fisherman.” With live, traditional, Greek music playing in the background to our meal, we were able to sample a variety of different types of Greek food. And can I tell you, was it spectacular food. We were served round after round of it, too. Everyone left with full stomachs and in great moods because of what a great experience dinner was. To end the night off on a enjoyable note, we were shown where the night life for people our age takes place. In Greece nightlife doesn’t exist until after midnight, so we had to wait a little while for it to heat up, but it was well worth it. Well, I’m off to get a good night’s rest with hope that tomorrow in Athens brings as much joy as today.

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