Yasas (which is Greek for Hello All!)
The gang has now migrated south to pay a visit to Andriana’s relatives in GREECE! We split up when we left Barcelona, a few people flew to Paris, a few others to Prague, but Cecily, Shannon, Andriana, Jordan, Kenny, Billy, Max, and I all came to Athens! We got here on Monday night, and a few more people are joining us on Friday. It’s been wonderful to be able to have a few days to chill out because traveling is ridiculously stressful! Kudos to my parents for carting my sisters and me around for so many years, I don’t know how you did it. I can barely even handle getting myself anywhere!
This is the first country I’ve been to with an entirely different alphabet, and clearly I had no prior knowledge of Greek other than baklava and OPAH! So I feel pretty worthless trying to get around here. And it’s really difficult to pick up on Greek because this language is ALL about syllables so just to say “Thank you” it’s “eh-far-eee-stoh”… What?
We didn’t get in to Andriana’s aunt’s apartment until midnight and, like true Greeks, they had food waiting for us. We came in to find gigantic Gyros! It was the best sight I had seen all day. Andriana’s yai yai (Grandma) and Aunt Voula were so adorable and friendly! However they’re English was very broken so communication usually involved a lot of confused smiling and nodding. Thankfully Andriana is fluent in Greek!
Isn’t Yai Yai the cutest? She cried when we left and I almost cried too!
On our first full day in Greece no one wanted to walk around to find anything. Barcelona had been such a blur of subways and maps we all just wanted to chill out and recooperate. So we headed for the beach! It was totally gorgeous and I even got some sketching done. And I have ACTUAL tan lines! I feel like a real member of society now. Then we came back to a full home- cooked- by-yai-yai Greek meal of pork and potatoes. We were all so relieved to get a meal that wasn’t pasta!
On Wednesday we planned to get up super early and travel to the Greek Island of Poros! So the plan was to get up at 6:30 AM and catch a taxi to the port for a boat at 8:00 AM… well no one woke up for that one. Then we were going to catch the 9:00 AM boat… well no one woke up for that one either. So we took the 10 AM boat! This island was…. GORGEOUS!
Kenny was loving it! He (of course) took 4 semesters of Greek. You surprised? I wasn’t either.
Within the first 20 minutes of being here we made a friend:
We named him Fredopolos John Stamos Odysseus the Dog… We decided to name him all things Greek. He followed us around for a while and because Poros is so small we saw him a bunch of times throughout the day.
I also met this wittle cutie! Is it sad that this is my favorite picture?
I would like to take a minute to speak seriously about Greek food. On Poros there was a phenomenal bakery and (not exaggerating) I stopped there THREE times in one day! And I got something different every time! The food in Greece is unreal! And I would mention all of the things I ate but I have no idea what they’re called let alone how to spell them. I guess you’ll just have to go to Greece yourself and try them! Shannon and I seriously got the same chocolate cake three times in six days! And on top of the gyros and pastries, every night we came home to a gigantic, authentic Greek meal made by Yai Yai! Andriana was not exaggerating when she said her family would never stop feeding us, even if I said I was stuffed Yai Yai would pile more food on my plate! And when we offered to do the dishes we were told “Absolutely not!” Greek hospitality is unparalleled.
After thoroughly stuffing ourselves one night we headed out to a Greek concert! When we got to the club we realized how horrendously under- dressed we were. All of the Greeks were dressed to the nines and we showed up in jeans! But it was alright because we were only there for one thing: to see Andriana’s future husband Nikos Vertis!
Andriana’s Greek MAN
It was so strange because he looked and sounded like a pop start but I had NO IDEA who he was. But the Greeks were loving it, I saw a few grown men almost cry.
One of the last days in Greece we finally made it to the Acropolis!
One warning if you ever go to the Parthenon, wear sensible shoes. The rocks on the way up the hill are SUPER slippery! We were all sliding right back down. It was so amazing though once we got to the top! There is a huge restoration project going on so there is a lot of scaffolding on the Parthenon, but I was completely shocked when I heard someone say, “I thought the Parthenon was really old? Why are they still building it?”… WHAT. They should have been pushed off the mountain.
More Greek Kitties!
What a view!
After our hike up the acropolis and our walk through the museum and a few gyros… 🙂 we trekked over to the Greek Parliament. Of course on the way we stopped at a bakery (go figure)! We had watched the square in front of this building get fire bombed by angry radicals on the news a few days earlier… so we thought it would be a good idea to walk through it!
Luckily there were these super intimidating guards to save us!
It was bittersweet saying goodbye to Yai Yai and Voula. They were the most welcoming people I’ve ever met! And when Yai Yai started to cry I had to give her a big hug, I’ve never met someone filled with so much love. And as sad I as I was to say goodbye, I am SO HAPPY TO BE IN ROME! I was so incredibly comforted to hear Italian again!
I can’t wait to get my normal life in Rome!