As we traveled we made many observations about the various places we visited. I am sure everyone does this. In thinking about that I decided to start with Athens. Before arriving there I was apprehensive. A language totally unknown to me, food that as a fussy eater was pretty darn threatening, and stories from the news about strikes and refugee issues raised my anxiety level. As it turned out none of that caution was necessary.
Athens was delightful. Of course, we were in a tourist area so that might explain the total sense of safely I felt. People were so friendly and helpful, the hotel was wonderful and the sights just beyond belief. Climbing the Acropolis was a wonderful success for me with my crappy lungs which don’t always help me out. The fact that I could walk the miles I did every day was an other surprise. Up and down and I still made it.
The food was good and I tried a few new things. The restaurant experience was just a laugh. The fellows and sometimes owners out in the street telling us why they were the best place to eat and who to avoid and who they did not like. It was like getting dragged into the neighborhood gossip circle that we really had no interest in but it was such a hoot that we enjoyed those chats. And once in what ever restaurant it was the men coming and sitting with us talking about NY City, politics, and bringing us extra dishes we did not order but they wanted it to try. Totally enjoyable.
So my first lesson of this trip was to not put expectations on the places we were going to visit and to just enjoy the ambiance and soak in the culture if allowed to. I think I would like to return to Greece and to visit the coast and some of the other places people told us about. And to continue to be amazed at the ability of the people hundreds and thousands of years ago to build the buildings they did and be thankful for archeologists who put those hundreds of pieces together again into wonderful sculptures and buildings. And to maybe find a way to spend more time with locals to learn about the life there of the regular people who live in the city or in a rural area.