|House Special Pasta|
|Me and my Pizza|
We didn’t have time to miss Rome as we were whisked away to Athens for the weekend. We were greeted with sunshine and a pure blue sky. We felt like we were in paradise. We were tired of the rain and gloom, and the warmth was a welcomed treat.
I found the people in Athens to be genuine and overall good folks to hang out with. This attitude created a comfortable atmosphere for us outsiders. Our first order of business was lunch. We went to the first place we saw and did not regret it. Our character of a waiter recommended pork gyros and tabbouleh salad (I still think my Dad’s is better!). The waiter believed that the gyro symbolized Greece and I would have to agree. Wherever you go, you can always depend on a delicious cheap gyro, which we got to know well over the course of our time there.
He taught us how to say thank you in Greek, efharistó. Overall a pleasant and insightful lunch. Next, we walked to the ruins of Hadrian’s library which was guarded by stray dogs. By the end of the trip, I regarded them as the Guardians of the Temple. After, we tried to go to the Acropolis but it was closed. Temple of Zeus, closed. Finally a tourist office, also closed! For some reason Athens shuts down after 3pm on a Saturday. For dinner, we were lured into a restaurant by the owner promising free drinks and dessert. Who can turn that down? Again, we were not disappointed by the food or service. Drinking our Alfa Beer we shared moussaka and lamb with a lemon sauce smothered in cheese and ham.
Both were simple and tasty dishes. Sunday brought with it the excitement of another day of ruin tourism. Even though Athens closed down the day before, it made up by having all attractions free on Sunday. We were able to go to the Ancient Agora, Hephaestus Temple, Zeus Temple, Dionysus Theater and of course the Acropolis (otherwise known as the Parthenon). We had another beautiful day hiking through the Athenian hills. I mean we had a real climb to the Acropolis but the clear views of the city were stunning. The Parthenon itself was a magnificent site.
|Temple of Zeus|
We were lucky enough to spend Valentine’s Day in Athens. We started the day by visiting the meat market. That sounds romantic, doesn’t it? I assure you, it is not for those faint of heart or squeamish characters. The market smelled of raw meat mingled with the scent of oregano and mint. It was like nothing I had ever seen with men in white butcher coats shouting as you walked past to come visit their stall. Different cuts and animals hanging from big metal hooks, it was raw in every sense of the word.
There were shops of dried fruit and nuts, olives, spice stores and of course feta cheese. I had to have a taste and the nice salesman gave me a nice chunk to eat.
We treated ourselves to some sweet and savory Greek pies at Apiston. We had spanakopita (spinach and feta), pumpkin with honey, and sweet cheese with cinnamon. They were decadent. One will definitely fill you up.
We spent the day wondering the city, exploring the lesser known sites like the national gardens and the Olympic stadium. There was a strike so all public transportation was not running and Greek guards were standing on every corner to ensure violence didn’t break out (nothing happened). Since we were low on cash at this point, we opted for a luxurious chocolate cake called love cake instead of dinner. This cake was so rich and moist. It tasted like it had been sitting and soaking up chocolate sauce all day. It was a perfect end to our time in Greece.
Re-reading my account, it would seem that our trips are fine and dandy without the slightest hiccup. Although we are having the time of our lives, it doesn’t mean we haven’t had to experience growing pains. You can have the best parents in the world who try and prepare you for the real world, but you don’t understand how difficult it is until you have to make the decisions yourself. I consider myself lucky to have parents who have given me tools to cope with the world around me; I hate to think where I would be without their guidance. I understand more than ever the stress money and a budget can put on a relationship. I am discovering how to balance living life and enjoying the present while being conscious of the future. When I came to Europe, I felt that a big change in my life would occur. Imagining an amazing career opportunity or dreaming of an epiphany that would guide me to my right path. Instead I am learning how to deal with life as it comes, jumping over hurdles, dodging wrenches, and adapting to each opportunity presented to me, good or bad. It’s not a fun process but a necessary one. All in all, Jon and I are supporting each other through these life lessons while enjoying the scenery along the way.
|Sweet Cheese Pie|