One could say I definitely picked the wrong date to go to Greece: Sunday July 5th, day of the referendum which my Dad thought was as big as the Berlin Wall… To which I answered “Umm… No.” I know the situation at the moment is one of crisis of course, but I can confirm now, after having been there, that things are alright if you’re a tourist and there’s really no need to cancel any holiday you had planned. I didn’t, and I had an absolutely amazing time! (I saw no riots and can I add: there were ATMs with money in them and no queues…).
The Greeks are very friendly, and very chill (maybe that’s why they’re here today), their food corresponds to what I love: balance between fresh and indulgent (I want aaaaaall their tomatoes and aaaaaaall their baklava…). The sea is of the most beautiful blue and don’t get me started on their long lasting heritage. After all, I couldn’t rent a villa on the Greek coast with friends without checking out Athens for a day, despite what all the media and people said about how dangerous it could be. So Mills, Jen and I hopped on a bus (free) to the capital which drove us all along the coastline, allowing us to gaze at the beautiful sea for a little less than one hour. We then took the metro to the Parliament and Oh. My. God. The metro in Athens… Modern, air conditioned, efficient, clean, reliable and on top of that… FREE (well that’s the only element of the crisis that affected me during my trip and I must say I was pretty happy about that!). In the meantime, there was a massive tube strike in London. A message to transports for London: get a grip, because even the Greeks and their poor financial management are on when it comes to public transports. Rant over.
After strolling around Syntagma square where we sat down to eat some baklava while sipping ice cold fresh orange juice, we walked down the pedestrian street of Ermou up until the very small yet beautiful Church of Panaghia Kapnikarea. We visited it and then walked around the neighbourhood of Plaka where we had some Greek food for lunch on the terrace of a restaurant where the manager was the craziest, friendliest and funniest man we’ve met on our trip. Once full with delicious baked feta, spinach tart and stuffed vine leaves, we made our way to the Acropole.
Warning: you can’t even start to understand how hot it was up there… The sun light reflects on the marble stones which also absorb the heat… We had to take 10minute breaks every time we found a bit of shade and breeze to sit at. But the Parthenon is a must see… I had never imagined how immense it would be… It also makes you shiver when you think that these stones have been cut, brought up on this hill and then assembled by architects and free men about 2,400 years ago. And that it’s still there… You’ll really miss out if you come to Greece but don’t visit the Acropole so make sure you go (it’s free for EU students ;) seriously… we only spent money on food that day…).
On our way down the Acropole, we stopped by a cute shop to buy some fresh baklava to bring back to our families (and possibly give them diabetes). I can’t stress how much I love baklava. Sugar and nuts. How can I resist? We then stopped at a terrace to enjoy some mojitos before heading back to our villa while gazing again at the beautiful Mediterranean sea.