Well technically it was not our start. but it was our first stop by ourselves on this adventure. We flew from home to England, and spent a couple days in Colchester with Caitlin’s aunt and uncle recovering from jet lag. But after our brief rest we were ready to set out on our own, and geographically Athens made a logical first stop. However, in hindsight, it may not have been the best choice to be our first introduction into our backpacking travels.
I was very excited to be travelling to Greece, I LOVE Greek mythology and could not wait to visit the all the ruins. We planned time for Athens, and possibly one other stop in Greece on our way out, but that was about it. At the time, Athens seemed to have the most to offer to see what we wanted out of Greece so that was that. Our flight there was nice and easy, and we got a wicked deal. With some help from friendly airport employees, we made it onto a bus, and then onto the metro which eventually led us to our hostel. It was then that reality sunk in.
Because it was the very beginning of our trip, we wanted to start out as thrifty as possible. Which led to the decision to book one of the cheaper hostels that we had found, without really researching much about it. Rookie mistake. We ended up in a not so nice location and unpleasant hostel, which considering it was my first hostel experience, it did not give me the best impression. I do believe a bit of culture shock had started to sink in and it took a pep talk to remind myself why it was important to not turn around and head straight home. This was just the beginning of the adventure and it would turn around.
By the time we had arrived at the hostel, it was time to eat and then relax for the night. After a brief discussion, we decided that we just had to move hostels in the morning. So we played some cards, emailed back home and then stayed up late and waited for daybreak. Before long we were out and made the trek to our new home for the night in the Plaka area. Much nicer, and now it had started to feel like the real trip had started. Since we were up so early, we got lots of sight seeing time in for that day.
We headed straight to the Acropolis, and also saw The Temple of Zeus, Ancient Agora, Theatre of Dionsysus. As well we made friends with a turtle and saw many cats! The rest of the day was spent walking around the Plaka area 🙂
The next day we departed for the train station that would take us to the port where we could take a ferry to Italy. We had made original plans to stop in Olympia, but due to train situations, we were not able to make it. At this point, we were ready to depart Greece and just move on with the adventure.
So Athens was a lesson in facing your fears from the get go, stepping out of your comfort zone and just rolling with the punches – for lack of any more cliches 😛 If I had to do it over, I would have picked a more comfortable first stop, to ease us into culture shock and so that I could appreciate Greece more when the time came. I do hope to have a chance to go back in the future to experience another side of Greece, like the islands perhaps?
However, I always believe that everything happens for a reason, and I would not trade the stories that came out this stop OR the chance meeting at the train station we had with a lovely Australian couple who would become our random travel companions (stay tuned for that story).
All in all, Athens was not quite what I expected but it did provide an interesting start to our journey.
– xoxo Veronica