We were still a bit dazed from having landed in Greece for Spring Break. We’re all used to making elaborate plans with every other person we meet, only to have them never pan out. Actually getting to the other side of the world though…we hadn’t quite processed it yet.
We were wandering around Plaka, a touristy neighborhood stuffed with souvenir shops and restaurants, when we heard a middle school punk shout to the rest of his group, “Every old dude here looks like Shel Silverstein!” This was when the stupor faded away; we were actually in Greece and every elderly man here did have the same balding pattern and facial hair as the famous poet. We burst out laughing, craffing (crying-laughing) actually, until we were gasping for air. Disclaimer—I have to argue that our sense of humor is usually better than this. From this point on, Silverstein became the basis of many mischievous, granted very immature, snickers at the sight of all old Greek men.
After absorbing enough of these tourist saturated areas, we decided to wander off. Jennie and Jeff had international data plans, meaning that we were allowed to get lost. I, on the other hand, could only send texts, so getting separated from my lifeline was not really an option. We ventured through neighborhoods devoid of people but filled with aggressive cats, taking in the traditional architecture and general lifestyle of Athens. Motorcycles galore, souvlaki wafting through the air, more tourists than locals even during off season, densely crowded cities with little room to breathe.
We ended Athens with its history. The Acropolis, sitting on a hill overlooking miles of terra cotta roofs, telephone lines, and greenery, was like a grandiose, ancient emperor above an expanse of insignificant modernity. Even with the construction, it was a passage back in time to 6th grade history and NatGeo documentaries.
Imposing columns, frenzied wind, dizzyingly high. From this vantage point, it was a surreal feeling of having escaped the winding labyrinth extending below.