With a wine stain on my jeans, and a leaked-pen-stain on our slacks (both of us) we left the southern shores of France. Woody’s stain looks a little like the Hawaiian Islands, mine = Japan. If there was a message there, we ignored it and headed to the Grecian Islands. Another dream come true… to visit GREECE. I largely hold my Mom accountable.
I grew up watching her teach Greek folk dance. Occasionally participating, I’d reach on tip-toes to hold on to adult shoulders.
Or perhaps it was the idea my name, “Hali,” can be considered Greek and means thinking of the sea. Also Greece is home of the Olympics, the birthplace of philosophy & logic, and then there’s the National Geographic exposés of this destination… you just have to check it out.
Well, here I am.
Landing in early evening, our AirBnb host picked us up from the Airport. For a fee, less than a taxi, Yiorgos escorted us right to our front door – Uber is not allowed in Greece. In the 45 minute trip from the airport, we got the low down on Athens….
For example, there are 4 million people living in Athens, it is not pedestrian friendly – you take your life in your hands crossing the street, there are thieving Gypsies everywhere, and his country is as mixed up as the next (insert Trump conversation here.) He pointed out the local grocery, a couple of nearby places to eat, and demonstrated how to make Greek coffee – just like camp coffee! It was dark when we got to our pad, and a little overwhelmed, we stayed close to it – it’d be way too easy to get lost.
By daylight, we joined a city tour and got our bearings. Let me share a little of our Athens experience:
About Food and People
My first impressions of Greece… well, Athens, was how well they speak English. Compared to France, there was little to no language barrier.
Their kindness, and eagerness to engage the tourists, melted my heart. Enthusiastic to share their culture and food made me think we may just have another country of Labrador Retrievers 😉.
Speaking of Retrievers, I was moved by the stray cats & stray dogs. Practically a symbol of Greece. They were not nearly as depressing as other country’s strays. In Greece there appeared to be a certain level of compassion to care for them – at a minimum, kibble and fresh water.
You may have noticed the graffiti in the pictures… there does not seem to be any graffiti patrol in Athens. Our tour guide said some are considered legitimate artists, and others who lack any respect. Apparently you can find evidence of ancient graffiti – not spray paint, but carved into the columns. Athens practically has a culture of graffiti, thought to be a sort of “freedom of speech.”
On our Own
Once we got the vibe of the city, we did our own exploring. The city has ancient columns tumbling in random spots. Sometimes they literally build around ancient structures. We did our share of goofing around, and climbed for the best sunset spot.
I’ll share our island hopping experiences. We are bypassing a couple of the biggies, Mykonos and Santorini… saving them for another day. Instead, we’ll be touring Hydra and Poros. Stay tuned!