Monday was our last day in Greece. While I’m sad to leave it behind, I’m beyond excited to head to Italy. I’ve had an obsession with Italian culture for as long as I can remember, in part because there’s a lot of Italian blood in my family.
Anyway, Greece certainly tried her darnedest to keep us. As you may have guessed, directions aren’t really my thing, but somehow we managed to navigate Athens all day with just a map a random tour guide gave us because she felt bad. To say this was a miracle is an understatement. (I can only hope we have such luck everywhere else!)
We walked through the prettiest square before hitting the Main Street to Stygnalia, the center of Athens. The streets were lined with vendors selling off vintage goods, and I couldn’t help but hope people hadn’t sold them off in an attempt to keep their families afloat. (Walking through the streets and seeing all of the homeless people and animals was a harsh reminder of the times Greece is facing, in spite of all of its beauty.) However, just 500 meters (I can say that now since I’m over here, and mainly because that’s how everyone describes it, and I don’t know the calculation to miles or feet haha) away, is a huge shopping square. There, in the middle of the graffiti-ridden city, were three Zaras, two H&Ms, Brooks Brothers, Tod’s…and the list goes on. It was like the riots never took place in that little materialistic oasis.
After my new favorite shopping district, we got out to the more traditional area. I’m talking cobblestone roads, luscious flowers, the aroma of scrumptious foods – basically, the whole nine yards. There were street performers balancing balls on their heads while they took off shirts, women having dance-offs, and a man strumming the guitar playing the saddest song I’ve ever heard, even if I couldn’t understand it. It was really all so beautiful.
We spent most of the rest of the day in the National Archaeological Museum, which was really something. While all the museums we visited had various statues and other findings, the bulk of what’s left is in this museum, so it was neat to make the connections to what we had already seen. It truly was a fantastic museum. We finished off the day with a quick stop at Hadrian’s Arch and the Temple of Zeus, then headed back to the room to prepare for Italy.
All in all, I just adored Greece. I can’t wait to see Italy, but I’m thinking an island villa for winter vacations will definitely be necessary. Wouldn’t you agree?