We arrived in the port of Pireus, which is in the outskirts of Athens. I didn’t know this, but Athens is by far the largest city in Greece. Driving in to the center of town felt a lot like Mexico City because the architecture changes in concentric circles going out from the ancient center. I love the contrast between the old, the very old, and the new. My first day was spent around the Plaka district, where I visited the Acropolis architectural museum with a SAS tour. The visit was far too short because I was in heaven. I absolutely adore the white statues, and for the first time I started to see how the anatomical accuracy changed throughout the periods of Greek art. One of my favorite things was this display of how color pigments were created back then.
We went to the acropolis and saw the Theatre of Dionysus which was incredible for me, of course, to be be where it all started. And then we climbed to the top of
the hill and basked in the glory of the Parthenon while the sun set. We had terrific views of Athens from there. On the way down we stopped on a little hill where we were told Plato’s students did their homework.
For the next three days I travelled to Thessaloniki with an SAS field program. We stopped at Mt. Olympus for a short hike up to the first level of the climb, where the Nymph Pools are. It was such beautiful clear water I just wanted to jump in!
We walked by the National Theatre of Northern Greece and of course I had to see what was playing… ten minutes later I walked out of the box office with a ticket to Uncle Vanya. After a nice dinner with my friends, I headed back to the theatre (no one else was really dying to sit through Chekov in Greek for some reason.)
And the play was spectacular. I speak exactly one word of Greek (thank you = epharisto) and yet I followed the plight of these characters and was really touched. I even got the comedy, which is surprising.
My tour visited the grave of Alexander the Great’s father and then drove back to Pireus. After much deliberation, I bought a Bouzouki! It’s a classic Greek instrument that kinda looks like a big mandolin and sounds like a banjo. I fell in love with it and figured I’ll worry about getting it home later haha….
Honestly, Greece was awe inspiring.