Last week I wrote about some general tips for traveling over spring break. In this post I am going to tell more about my trip to help give some ideas to others about what to see in Greece, but also as a way to help me remember and reflect on my trip. It was unique in that I was able to go with a friend from DIS and we stayed with their family there. As I mentioned in my last post, this helped me feel like I learned more about Greek culture than I would by just being a tourist. Also, with access to a car we were able to go to many more places in the country.
I arrived in Athens on a Friday and left the Sunday of the next week, which means I was there for around 10 days. During this time I stayed with the other DIS student in the suburbs of Athens with their relatives and family friends as hosts. On Friday and Saturday, we explored Athens. This experience was different than normal because the first weekend included the Greek independence day, which meant that many people were gone to celebrate the holiday. As such, the city was a lot quieter. During these days we explored the major sites of Athens like the Acropolis and its museum, the shopping street Plaka, and the path around the Acropolis. We also walked around the city to see all the different ancient sites that are in the middle of the city like the tomb of Socrates, the Roman agora, and the baths.
On Sunday, we took a road trip to the Temple of Poseidon which is at the very end of the Attic peninsula. This was a very scenic drive along the ocean which had many small villages and beaches. The Temple of Poseidon itself is very imposing as it is on a cliff next to the ocean. After this visit, we went to a beach and swam in the Mediterranean. It was a lot colder than I was expecting! But, I am glad I did it. We also stopped at a restaurant and tried Greek seafood such as octopus, fried squid, and different types of fish that I didn’t know the names of.
On Monday we took a train to Corinth. Since Monday was the actual Independence Day, we got to see a parade in the city. During the parade, students from the schools in the area dressed up in traditional outfits and marched down the main street of the city. Then, we went to the Corinth canal. On Tuesday, we took a trip to the ancient site of Mycenae and then down to the tourist town of Nafplio. At Mycenae, we saw the famous lion gate and the mask of Agamemnon. This was a truly amazing place to visit, especially because we were able to walk around the site with a lot more freedom than many of the other archaeological sites that we visited. Nafplio has a beautiful port and lots of great shops where we purchased many souvenirs.
On Wednesday and Thursday we made the long drive up to Meteora. Meteora is the location of several Greek Orthodox monasteries situated on precarious parts of a mountain. We toured many of them and saw the amazing art that decorates their chapels. We also had the unique experience of talking to one of the monks at one of the monasteries. We were just walking around, and he came up and spoke to one of us and from there we had a long discussion. On Thursday when we were driving back, we made a pit stop at Delphi which contains, among other things, the Temple of Apollo. This site was very cool although we did not have very much time to explore. We also made a stop at the location of the Battle of Thermopylae and saw the statue of the Spartan king Leonidas.
On Friday we had a more relaxed day back in Athens. During this time we went to the agora and spent quite a bit of time there. I was surprised at how big it was. We also explored the Temple of Zeus and other parts of the city that we missed during the first few days.
On Saturday we went with one of our hosts to a mountain near Athens, Parnitha, and went for an almost 10 kilometer hike. The scenery was beautiful, but the weather was chilly and it was very windy. However, it was a great experience.
I returned to Copenhagen on Sunday, and it was hard to leave Greece, but also good to be back in Copenhagen. It was weird because after being gone for a week, it almost felt like coming back home. This really hit me as it showed how attached I am getting to Copenhagen and I don’t know if I really noticed it as much before I was gone. Overall the trip was amazing, and I am very grateful for the opportunity I had. As a side note, Greek food is really good. Before this trip I had not tried very much Greek food, but during the trip I tried many things such as moussaka, spanakopita, baklava, and one of my favorites souvlaki. I know this post was a bit different from the other posts more related to DIS and Copenhagen, but hopefully it was still interesting to read. I encourage others who are interested in Greece to also visit it if possible. It was definitely worthwhile.
Thank you for reading and have a great week!