Some Notes from Greece
I wasn’t really planning to go to Greece, but my travel plans changed a bit, so I stopped in Greece for four nights. I had also not been planning to go to Europe, so entering Europe after South America, Africa and the Middle East was quite different.
Some notes from the trip:
- Lots of really classic sites, on a walking tour I was able to see many of them. Though on a walking tour we walked by many of them, I did another tour to spend more time going in.
- You can get a combo pass that gets you access to many of the famous sites, but a few random sites don’t fall under it
- Some sites: visited Temple of Olympian Zeus, National Garden, and Hadrian’s Arch
- Visited the Panathenaic Stadium, the site of the first modern Olympics in 1896. They have a fun op with a 1/2/3 Olympic podium.
The Parthenon in the Acropolis is a pretty cool site, it was interesting to me because they chose to restore much of it to keep the columns up, you can see a big difference in the colors. Many of the ancient sites I have seen are mostly ruins because people have avoided restoration efforts, or the restoration efforts have just maintained rather than rebuilt.
- Took the ferry to Mykonos, one of the Greek Islands. Seemed that Mykonos and Santorini were the most popular tourist spots.
- Also seemed you could spend a lot more time in Greece, just going between the islands
- Enjoyed the Greek gyros quite a lot, but still pretty confused on the correct pronunciation.
- While the Greek alphabet looks similar to the US English alphabet in many ways, then there are some characters where they look like English letters but actually represent different letters. Like rho (P), which looks like a ‘p’ but is pronounced like an ‘r.’ Lowercase ‘M’ looks like ‘u,’ lowercase ’N’ looks like ‘v,’ and what looks like ‘X’ (chi) is pronounced like ‘ch.’ So it’s a bit confusing.
- In Athens we were lucky to stumble up on some pretty solid food spots. One called Kosta ( https://goo.gl/maps/pqYsgJJFed4SkSEu7 ) which had souvlaki. I am not sure on the nuanced differences between gyros and souvlaki ( http://www.differencebetween.net/object/difference-between-gyro-and-souvlaki/ ), but it seems this was kalamaki pita or souvlaki, like meat on a small skewer in a pita. But then the gyros meat seems to be from the small slices off the large vertical rotisserie. I’m not an expert so maybe that is wrong. But most people in line there seemed Greek.
- At night in wandering around Psyri, found a restaurant called Avli ( https://www.likealocalguide.com/athens/avli and https://goo.gl/maps/1NXHa8SmrMNNmeT2A) which seemed more like a local spot. We had found it on google, and when we got there we thought it was closed. Turns out it is just very hidden and looks like it is closed. I didn’t recognize most of the food which means it was probably more greek, but it was solid. Some of the foods we had… stuffed tomatoes, some fried cheese, tomato and cucumber salad.
- Mykonos is very picturesque. Everything is white and blue, and everything is architecturally the same, with the curved white buildings. It seems that the history of why this is the case is that initially it may have helped with the heat, or been used with a material which was a convenient way to prevent spread of a disease. But later in the 1970s it seems the government mandated it. But it’s hard to tell why. However, it’s really very cool with this effect.
- Also some really nice beaches on Mykonos, though at the time I went the water was pretty cold. Seems it heats up a bit around June and July which seem to be the busier tourist season. Also Mykonos relatively was quite expensive.
Overall though, a really interesting historical, and scenic place to go, and the food was good too.