13 February 2011

Greece is the Word

Birthplace of the  Modern Olympics.
Rocky-style workouts were sadly
forbidden by stadium edict.

Semesterferien (term break) is over and I have just returned from my trips to Croatia, Slovenia, and, my favorite, Greece.  Outside of the public restrooms - where a mysterious and malevolent injunction against flushing toilet paper down the commode leaves you with a rather unpleasant alternative - I found Greece to be a tremendously agreeable place.  In fact, I think February was the perfect time to visit, as the weather was warm enough to wade in the Aegean, but cool enough that the cafes did not necessarily double as Turkish baths.  Plus it was even possible to wander about the Acropolis without swimming through a sea of fanny-packed tourists with substandard walking skills.

Acropolis with the calorie-burning
Lycabettus Hill in the background.

During my stay in Athens I hiked up Lycabettus Hill, met with hunger-striking refugees, and ate about a kilo of feta - atop salads, in gyros, on crepes, and straight out of the package.  I enjoyed other culinary delights, including olives, ouzo, tyropita, and Mythos beer.  Although I highly recommend sampling all of these things, I caution that the thick Greek coffee requires an unusual amount of chewing, which makes sense as it is often all that the Greeks have for breakfast.  

I suspect that Greek coffee may be
responsible for the short stature of Greek men,
which was quite obvious from my
conspicuous perch at 1.93 meters.
I left Athens one day to visit Sounion, a remarkably beautiful cliffside that hosts the ruins of a temple to Poseidon that was once tagged by the English poet Lord Byron in a vandalistic fit of enthusiam.  Later that day I also got to sit in on college application interviews with two Greek-Americans aspiring to the class of 2015 thanks to my host and fellow Brown alum George.  Then, sadly, I had to leave Greece with just a jar of honey and a bottle of olive oil to remind me of my stay in Hellas.

Fortunately, the Athens metro workers held off their inevitable daily strike until after I had reached the airport.  The Greeks, it turns out, really like their strikes. 


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