I did not want to go to Athens. Not like it was hard to convince me to go but I’d been there before albeit a long time ago and, meh, it was ok. Husoor wanted to go and you know how that goes, I went. I agreed to go on the condition I didn’t have to get up at the buttcrack of dawn. And the travel then turned out to be relatively painless except for, you know, the travel part.
But Athens, oh my god, it was sooo very different. It was gorgeous, chaotic, yes, but not like New York chaotic. Clean—makes-Berlin-seem-like-a-garbage-bucket clean. And the Greeks were so very sweet. Everyone was wonderful. Everyone speaks English and it’s not that I expect them to, but it’s super helpful when the words on signs or menus are completely incomprehensible. No one was ever annoyed or in the least bit put out when I asked if they spoke English. They just do.
The Acropolis Museum on the grounds of the actual Acropolis is a spectacle. Not nearly as crowded as the Acropolis itself and far more interesting. Too much information for me to process all at once, I will have to go back, maybe with a guide, but the experience and exhibits were fabulous, well thought out and extraordinarily well organized. The UX was great.
The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier Changing of the Guards at noon in Syntagma Square outside of parliament or the senate or some damn thing. We happened upon it right at noon. Much hoopla and hoo-hah, stamping of feet, waving of arms, straightening of tassels.
Viewer discretion is advised. In our hotel there was one of these. I have only seen something like this before once in my life. I was/am seriously confused about how it works. This one actually did not work or in any event I could not get it to work. Not that I tried too hard. Like, really? Do I want to use something that someone else, actually many other someone elses have been using, um, you know where? Isn’t it messy? Doesn’t it splash all over? And then what? You stand up to use a towel and water runs down your legs into your shoes?
After I’d tried to make it work—I wasn’t going to use it at that point, just see if there was like a jet, a gentle mist, a light spray or perhaps a pulsating fire hose—I went and washed my hands in boiling bleach.
I really, really loved Athens. I was so glad what’s-his-name talked me into going, well, forced would be a more accurate word.
We were only there for 4 nights but I left wanting more, to go back and see more of the country. My sister tells me Delphi was wonderful and the countryside was beautiful. I want that. The islands, where everyone goes, would not be my destination, too much sun, too many people (including me) and when I was there, waaaaay too many friendly/hungry/feral cats and dogs for my comfort zone.
When I was on the island of Santorini 2 decades ago, the Mediterranean in that area had been fished out, the fish processing plants there were completely closed. I hope that this has been rectified not that I really want to eat fish, I don’t but, well, the environment, the economy, I dunno, it just seemed so wrong.
There was a European basketball team on our totally packed flight back. These guys were huge. It was only a 2+hour flight but OMG they looked so uncomfortable. And I thought travel was uncomfortable for me. At least I don’t have to play basketball at the end of a trip. That would kill me.
I am back in Berlin.