Greece is great, let me just open with that. Sure, I’m only basing this on one day in Athens and then another day spent on pilgrimage to the temple at Delphi, but as far as I’m concerned, Greece is great (and yes, I acknowledge the repetition, but given how great Greece is, the redundancy is necessary).
We first arrived in Athens at 2:00 in the morning, with high hopes for our hostel which had been advertised as one of the world’s 10 best, though I was sold at the mention of a free breakfast. By the way, boss, have I ever expressed to you my absolute love for free hostel breakfasts? Usually, the spread includes the standard toast, cereal, juice and some sort of Nutella incarnation. Though once in a while you may totally luck out and the complimentary breakfast resembles more of an elaborate buffet rather than a half-assed attempt to bring in deal-seeking tourists. As for the “Top Ten” breakfast that was laid out for us at our Athenian hostel, let’s just say I completely hated myself for deciding to pay the extra 5 Euros a night just so I could wake up and find like 2 hard boiled eggs, half a loaf of bread, a very limited supply of Nutella. Seriously- are you kidding me?
Now, I’m not one to complain about hostels, and instead view each mishap encountered at an accommodation as an anecdotal opportunity. Take the hostel I stayed at in Rome, for example. Not only did the amenities suck, but I was stuck in a room with 3 Swedish guys who had thought that turning the lights on at 5:30 in the morning was a good idea. And this was only after being awoken by a myriad of annoying cell phone alarm clocks, two of which may have even been David Hasselhoff tunes, proving that Germans aren’t the only ones with a penchant for the Hoff. I can’t really picture you being the hostel type, boss, so let me just tell you that turning on the lights anytime before 9:00 AM is definitely not proper hostel etiquette.
Even less “Emily Post proper” is to boast about how your hostel is so great that it has even been honored with the title of “Top Ten in the World” and then offer little more than a rude staff and a broken shower drain. I’m telling you that the horror of this place made me want to write some hate mail and throw around some slanderous Hostelworld.com comments. Thankfully, though, the spectacular city of Athens made up for the barely habitable hostel.
The part of Athens that was most breathtaking was, as to be expected, the Acropolis. No matter how many images I’ve seen on postcards or descriptions I’ve ready in my Art History textbooks, nothing could do the Acropolis justice. And adding even more to its aesthetic beauty was the amazing spring weather that my friend Mandy and I were lucky enough to take advantage of. The sun was shining, the birds were chirping, and the abundant supply of wildflowers would surely have made any Nor Cal hippy bid bon voyage to Santa Cruz and seek refuge in the Athenian flower fields.
Besides the natural beauty of the landscape, one particularly standout relic was the Theater of Dionysus. Set along the base of the Acropolis, the theater is overgrown with daisies and other weeded flowers, but the structure still alludes to the previous greatness of the Greek theater. With the meticulous carvings that were still visible where the stage would be, you can just imagine Antigone defending “My nature is to join in love, not hate” and Medea seeking revenge on her cheating husband, Jason, by eating their children (seriously, who wouldn’t want to see that? 90210- you’ve got nothing on classical tragedy)(And yes, I know that I am coming across as quite the nerd by flaunty my knowledge of Greek drama). The entire Acropolis experience was overwhelming and was complimented nicely by a walk around the outdoor markets and lounging in a hookah bar- the site of our first experience with the Greek liqueur, Ouzo, which tastes exactly like black licorice.
After our day at the Acropolis, which intensified our desire to see Greek ruins rather than quelled it, Mandy and I woke up at 6:00 in the morning to make our 7:00 bus to Delphi, which is a temple 3 hours from Athens that is built to the god Apollo. Even though the temple itself was spectacular in its day, travelers who visited Delphi were more inclined to visit its oracle for advice than its temple for worship. For Mandy and myself, despite the lack of prophecy, the day trip was entirely worth the 5 hour bus ride back (f*ck traffic, man. If you think the 405 is bad, try being stuck on an Athenian highway with a busload of agitated tourists).
So Boss, even though I know you are disappointed that this excursion occurred sans a trip to the Hard Rock, I have to say that Athens might have been one of my favorite destinations as of yet (and that’s not just my affinity for Ouzo talking).