Greece is the Word (Athens, part 1)


If you don’t yet know, at the beginning of February I started a new job at a real live private school.* It’s really great for a number of reasons (more on this later), not least of which is that I got a week-long spring break! So as my friends still at Penn State packed up to black out in Miami, I hopped a fifty dollar flight to Athens for a week of ancient sites and island hiking.

Naturally, the first thing I did upon arrival (after checking into my hostel) was seek out a place where I could sit on wifi and charge my phone, and like the American millenial trash that I am, I ended up at a Starbucks in the Monastiraki area with a grande iced coffee and Belgian chocolate donut. I didn’t do much for the rest of the afternoon, opting instead to wander around the city center, taking pictures and enjoying the warm weather.

The next morning I woke up early to enjoy my book over a hearty breakfast (the one good thing about the Athens Choice Hostel) before heading out to the Acropolis. Luck was on my side—the weather was perfect, just warm enough to be content in a t-shirt and jeans, and the woman at the ticket counter accepted my student ID for a smooth 50% off. As I explored the ruins, I couldn’t help but feel beyond #blessed to be visiting this incredible place for the second time in my life, when others dream their whole life of seeing it. I also had a very pleasant interaction with a Spanish woman named Dora, who offered to take my picture when she saw me snapping a selfie, and then proceeded to direct me in a full-on photoshoot, telling me how to pose and telling jokes to get natural smiles. She got a perfect picture that will surely be my trans-platform profile picture for months to come.

Afterwards, I headed to the bottom of the hill for a quick look-about at the Theatre of Dionysus, which was included in the Acropolis multi-ticket, before finding a grassy overlook to eat lunch* and write in my journal for a bit. I treated myself to ice cream, witnessed a woman break down because she got a smudge on her Ray Bans, and went to bed quite content.

After checking out of my weird hostel the next morning, I trooped over to the Ancient Agora, which truly felt like going back in time. I spent more than four hours wandering around the site, sketching and nibbling on my packed lunch. After an al fresco cappuccino at a nearby cafe, it was time to return to the airport to catch my much-anticipated evening flight to the island of Santorini.

*As opposed to my old employer that sent me traveling around the city for 3+ hours each day to teach in-company courses

*IMPORTANT TRAVEL TIP: if your hotel/hostel includes breakfast, pack a lil sandwich or two for lunch later! Is it classy? No. But it WILL save you around $10 per day, which is WORTH IT.