I made it to Athens, my last stop. I slept great on the overnight ferry – a welcomed surprise. The trek to the hostel (Piraeus port to Athens Backpackers) was a bit dodgey, but 1,40 euro price-tag begs for forgiveness. My bag has gotten heavier by the day and my wifi is pretty shot, but I tell myself to enjoy the remaining 48 hours.
I visited the Temple of Zeus in the early morning before there were too many souls. The columns carry and ominous vibe of authority, honor and respect. How a piece of a ruin, even amongst its refinishing, can still carry the weight is hard to comprehend.
I saw Ancient Agora and I made my way through the small cobblestone streets, past the neoclassical buildings and into the flea market mayhem. An immediate distaste washed through my body as I searched for my way out, all the while remembering the labyrinth from the Palace of Knossos and feelings as if I hadn’t left. I made it to a coffee shop where I watch people glance over the paper, a group of greek men sharing conversation and a band playing beside me. I sat at an orange table and ordered a Freddo cappuccino. Since days are numbered, today I’d get two.
Two weeks is the perfect amount of time for a trip. There is no need to rush around cities or into indulgences. You can spend the day reading in bed or monument hopping. You come to learn that there is always time for a coffee break and observe that it’s bad luck to pass a church without signaling the cross. And, by the end of two weeks, you feel a small twinge of excitement for your own return. To climb into your bed and wash your clothes that you’ve been carrying on your back. Also, to stop carrying clothes on your back.
On my final night in Athens, I took to the top of Mount Lycabettus
with a new friend who had just left her two year peace corp post in Ghana. We split a bottle of red wine, dakos and feta cheese pie as we watched the sun fall asleep. When I saw all the colors appear in the sky with a view of Acropolis to my left, I let it all begin to settle in. The past two weeks full of exploration, every day, every moment, swirled around me. A part of me that had been dormant, slowly began to awake.
A good friend said to me before the trip, “remember what ever trip you have, is the exact one you are supposed to have.”
I loved that idea and to be honest I had low expectations for the trip. I knew it would be beautiful, but I didn’t want to put any pressure on it. I wanted to wake up everyday and decide what to do, who I wanted to be and connect back to the simple pleasures that often get lost in the void of the world wide web.
I learned a lot about myself that trip. I gained patience and re-connected to passions that hadn’t been acknowledged since elementary days. I found out that I can in fact sleep on planes and I really do love hiking. But overall it was about remembering that I have the choice to decide how I view everything. Is this the worst bus ride of my life or simply a chance to discover where I keep peace? Will the series of funny detours still get me to where I need to be? Should I take public transportation that will add a stupid amount of time onto my trip? Yes, always. Because, if I learned anything, it’s that all those little I missed my flight from JFK to Athens (& then to Rhodes)
moments can be enjoyed just as much as the big holy crap I’m sailing on the Aegean Sea
moments. With or without wifi.
View Greece Part 1, Greece Part 2, Greece Part 3 and Greece Part 4.