In the Plaka area.
October 17, 2007

I didn’t know what to expect prior to arriving here. Only a couple of friends have given me positive accounts of their time in
Athens. Everybody else? Not so much. The last person was an Australian guy who was in our group when I went to the tunnels
in Sarajevo. He said, and I quote, “Athens is a dump. Go and see everything in six hours. And then get the hell out.”

So you can imagine where my expectations were…

Upon arrival at the airport: Very nice and shiny airport.

Going to the metro at the airport to get into the center of the city: Practically nicer and shinier than the airport.

Exiting the metro at Syntagma Square: Really nice! I was liking what I was seeing!

Following the directions to get to my hostel: The street was great! A pedestrian cobblestone street lined with little boutiques,
shops and cafés. I was trying to find ‘the dump’ people were talking about.

In less than one hour, expectations had been surpassed.

When I got settled into my hostel, I had a few questions for the woman who worked there from a girl who is spending her last
couple days on the continent of Europe:

1. Where is the Acropolis?
2. What is a good island to take a day trip to?
3. Do you know where H&M is (as I saw somebody carrying a bag when I got off the metro – important stuff to know as H&M’
s will be a thing of the past in just a couple days)?

She provided me the answers to all:

1. Just walk up the street and you will see the signs leading you there (only about a 15-minute walk away!).
2. Hydra is a nice island. But Poros is closer.
3. (A little chuckle…)
Of course I know where H&M is. (And then she marked it on a map for me.)

And off I was to the Acropolis. It’s beautiful from below looking up at it. And it is also wonderful being up there and looking out
at views of Athens. I also learned something while I was there that I wasn’t aware of before (possibly because I’m an idiot?)…

I thought the Parthenon was located in one place and the Acropolis was somewhere else. I didn’t know that the Parthenon is at
the Acropolis. Silly me. The things I learn, I tell ya! I had to use my imagination a bit when at the Parthenon as scaffolding was
getting in the way of really being able to see it.

I also visited other ruins in the area. Am I totally bad person to say that I don’t really know what they were? I mean one thing
was the Temple of Zeus. But since I didn’t have a book, I don’t know anything about these sites.
However, I know I will be
back in this country again…and I will come back on a non-solo trip…so I will probably come to the these places again and then I
can get more of the skinny on these places. One thing I can tell you is that these places are old. I know, I know. My intelligence
level is incredible.

Tonight I walked all around my ‘hood. I saw the Acropolis lit up at night (stunning!) and took in more of the area that I didn’t
see today. Just having a really, really nice time out here…

October 18, 2007

See Hydra page as that is where I went today.

October 19, 2007

Today started off by going to the Botanical Gardens. They were nice. But I’m not a huge botany buff so it’s hard for me to be
extremely fascinated by trees and plants. I’m sure it’s beautiful in the spring with blooming flowers. But right now it was just
green. Got a little monotonous after a while – though it was extremely relaxing and peaceful.

Then, it was about priorities – heading to H&M. I ended up seeing a lot of stuff I liked. I have now been gone from San
Francisco for almost two months. It should go without saying that I am kind of sick of my stuff. I left H&M with a new dress
(that kind of needs a slip but has slits that are too high to wear with a slip so I am hoping that by wearing it at night it won’t be
a problem) and a couple shirts. Feeling good about the purchases.

I capped my time off at an outdoor café with some stuffed vine leaves. How Greek is

But seriously…I can’t wait to get back out to this country and hop around the islands. Hydra piqued my interest for so much

Now I am at the airport. I went from staying in my hostel where I was sharing a co-ed room with a communal shower and
bathroom to now being in the business class lounge for my Emirates flight. I still look like that ‘hostel’ girl since I couldn’t fit
my tennis shoes into my suitcase so I had to wear them instead. I think everybody in this lounge thinks it’s a mistake that I
am even in here. And then there was standing in the line waiting to check-in. Judging from a few stares I got, I can guarantee
that people were looking at me and thinking ‘Oh. Look at that stupid girl standing in the wrong line. She’ll find out once they
turn her down at the counter…’

Life is good in the lounge. Considering I am heading to India, it’s hard to say when the next time that I feel like kind of comfort
is going to be…
Back to Greece.
With the Acropolis behind me.
The Acropolis at night.