GR - A trip to the Acropolis
It's been a busy month so far and I haven't been as active here. As I work on my other writing projects my mind drifts to Greece.
Specifically Athens and the short lived jaunt with two of my favorite women through ancient structures and chasing the perfect gyro. Spoiler alert: I found it.
Lauren and I began our journey in America together from JFK airport. We grabbed a standby flight because she works as a flight attendant. We easily navigate various trains that she knows her way around by heart. This is the route she takes to get to work regularly. While it seems complex to me, it turns out the route is listed in Google maps. I try to remind myself how to complete this backwards, since I'll be alone on my way back. We board our flight with no issues and I relax while in route to Copenhagen. Standby flights don't seem so nerve wracking as Lauren had told me they could be.
Upon arrival in Copenhagen, things are getting tight and we begin to fear missing a flight into Athens. There is another group of three traveling together to Athens as well. We had all gotten our passes printed, and Lauren was set to fly in the jump seat-we were close to having one of the girls ride in the cockpit. Suddenly a man bursts down the hall to collapse into a seat at the gate and like a plot climax in a movie we all turn in slow motion horror at the realization that he is going to Athens and one of us may not get on the flight.
A few moments full of dread pass as we discover that he is indeed going to Athens but with a different airline and ended up at the wrong gate. We begin boarding safely with a sigh of relief.
This time we are landing in Athens and the excitement is getting to me. I haven't gotten to talk to Lauren the whole flight since we were seated separately. I haven't gotten to share my excitement with anyone and I feel like I'm going to burst.
Lauren and I have arrived earlier than Say. I hook up to the airport WiFi to discover she will be delayed. This suits me just as well, since I can grab snacks and hydrate while we wait on our third arrival.
The excitement is overwhelming but I am exhausted from the flights. My body wants a nice bed but my brain wants to soak up everything in the city and paste a wallpaper of it all across the inside of my skull.
When Say arrives we began purchasing our 3 day transit tickets knowing we'll utilize the subways often.
It is dark out and the sidewalks of Athens are actually very slick when dry, and worse when wet. I have well worn flip flops that might as well be skates at this point. After a dark and careful walk, we meet our Air BnB host and he leads us to our building. Inside, a tiny elevator awaits us that in America would be classified to fit one person. We end up stuffing all of us in on a regular basis to haul upwards to the 3rd floor during our time here. It is a point of giggles every time.
We settle in and I step out in to the porch after a lovely shower to be greeted by a view of the Parthenon on the hill behind us. I take a deep breath in and savor it. This is what I came for. All my life I have wanted to see the Parthenon. Here it is, right before me and it looks just like the movies. I'm in freaking Greece.
Every time I arrive somewhere it takes my breath away that I stand where I stand. I'm in Greece, I keep telling myself. I made it. My heart pitters, knowing that we are going to be at the base of the Parthenon in the morning.
We buy our tickets and meander our way along the winding path up, stopping every few seconds for more photos. The view is completely incomparable to anything.
I am in awe at the ability of ancient civilizations that we are continually told were "primitive". There is nothing primitive about this monumental structure.
The air is so crisp and a massive Greek flag snaps and waves in the wind, filling the air with the sound of its movement. You can see so far from here, over the rolling hills. What was it like for the ancient Greeks?
Did they feel this energy when they came here?
As I allow my mind to run rampant with questions and ideas about the Greeks of old, my feet carry me to a smaller shrine nearby. It is a goddess shrine and has a lone gnarled tree standing near it. Statues adorn the outside and I'm humbled that I stand here, that I even have this opportunity.
We continue back down from the hill top, heading for the other nearby sites. We manage to catch some right before closing. A kind entrance steward allows us just a few quick photos inside Hadrian's Arch, knowing we won't be back any time soon.
A few silly shots, for the memories.
And then off to street markets, more food, ice cream, and exploring.
We even make time to grab a tram to the beach. I want to be able to say I put my feet in the Mediterranean. Bucket list goals.
The ocean is always revitalizing to me, and I rub my tired feet as we float in the water.
We soak for some time before deciding to stop by a beachfront restaurant. It was a good decision. Most food decisions are good here and I haven't been disappointed yet.
Time is fleeting though and before I know it Say and I are boarding flights to Egypt while Lauren prepares for Malta. Our short three days in Athens has concluded and we say our goodbyes. But I know that I want this to happen again.
I'll be back, Greece. 3 days isn't enough time to truly know you, but what I do know is the gyros are unmatched, the streets are charming, and the history has stood the test of time.
Until we meet again, Ta Leme.