Greek Heaven

by Jane Moneypenny

Greetings from Greece! We’re alive!

3 of us left New Orleans Thursday morning and while we waited 2 hours in Atlanta, we ate our last American meal. And by American, I mean Panda Express. My fortune cookie read “It’s the time to create your own adventure.” I took it as a good sign of the upcoming few weeks. After a harrowing and uncomfortable flight on Delta (never flying them international again), we landed safely into Athens. We got no sleep on the plane due to Delta being crappy and jet lag (and bad food); the old stewardness was incredibly mean and kept glaring at us as if we personally offended her anytime we thanked her for something. In response, we hoarded the small free wine bottles into our luggage and have slowly drained them away in the last few days.

Still, no matter what people say about Athens and its dirt and not much to do, it’s still Europe and the second I walked out the airport and saw the gorgeous scenery and mountains, I knew I was in heaven. The weather has been a consistent sunny cloudless blue sky and 77 degrees. Talk about perfection.

Due to insane months of careful planning, there was little trouble finding the train and arriving at our first hostel. Great little place, but a little dark and sparse. They placed us on the 6th floor (a walk-up, of course) and when we entered our tiny 4-bedroom ensuite, we collapsed and then realized the tiny tiny bathroom with no real shower (just a shower head) had no light. Ah, the way of cheap living. I mean, how are you going to use the bathroom for number 2 in the dark?!

Smallbone arrived two hours later and bumped into us as we were walking out the hostel to go to the street market nearby. After introductions and hugging, we headed out to explore. The only huge downer was the severe jetlag we were all experiencing but since it was early in the day, we decided to power through until night. Bad idea. I mean, good in theory, but bad for all our moods. Until we found the “Happy Train” that for only 3 euros (we love being fake students despite graduating 3 years ago; keep that student ID!), took us around Athens on a slow little train. The sun was setting, the weather was perfect and I was finally at peace after months of turmoil.

We woke up this morning at 5am to find that the bathroom with no door stop or curtain had pushed the water out and right onto the floor under my baggage. Surprisingly, I found myself completely cool about it; annoyed, of course, but overall, didn’t feel much anger. Must be a sign of maturation? The young hostel owner felt incredibly bad, especially after telling me their dryer was broken, but I laughed it off and he put out a huge breakfast spread 2 hours early, just for us.

Despite Italy being my lifelong dream, I can say without a doubt that the Greek islands will always be my favorite. The ferry ride was long, but glorious and when we arrived in Naxos 5.5 hours later, I knew this would be somewhere I would find true peace and relaxation. The hostel owner picked us up in a van and as we drove up the small winding roads, we were in awe of the beautiful white and blue buildings. Our hostel, Soula Hotel, is a must-stay if you’re ever here. It’s quaint, clean, great hosts and the beach is RIGHT IN OUR BACKYARD. As in, look out our balcony and down the path, the beach is there. Incredible. The guys at the front desk, although they can’t speak English well, has been so helpful and anytime we’re up here to use the laptop, they continually offer us candy and the use of another laptop behind the desk.

Tomorrow, we’re going on my kind of adventure. We’re renting a car to drive around the entire island!

The downside? I’m broke. This trip is draining me of funds quickly. Food is too good! Can’t stop eating and we’re not even in Italy yet!