Week 3: το καλο και το κακο – the good and the bad

Day 1: 

The market seemed extra crowded and noisy today. You could hardly walk for all the people milling about. We still get lots of “looks” but I think the locals are beginning to get used to us. Our friend who likes to brush his hair with sponges recognized us again and waved to us as though his life depended on it. 

Greek peanuts are the saltiest things I have ever put in my mouth. Heidi told me to get those instead of the normal kind. Now I think my taste buds are temporarily out of order.

We didn’t do any extra exploring today while Dad was teaching. Market day can actually be exhausting sometimes.

Day 2:  

It was nearly 2 in the afternoon when we finally got out of the house. I have been begging to go to Plaka ever since last year. We’ve only been for a short time at night. It’s the old part of the city around the base of the Acropolis that was not destroyed during the Turkish invasions. The houses are bright and colorful and the streets are lovely to wander through. 

It’s one of the most heavily touristed places naturally but we purposefully came on a week day so it wouldn’t be so crowded. I have so many pictures this week that this post might have to be focused more on photography than writing. 🙂

The streets here remind me very much of the islands. They are narrow and seem to tumble over each other with no sort of order or pattern. The best places for wandering are where you can be awed by the beauty of the place and slightly lost. The doorways are bright and colorful and the porches are overflowing with plants. It’s like a beautiful Grecian fairytale.

We hiked all the way up to the base of the Acropolis and stumbled upon a secret that we had been searching for. Tucked away from the smells and sounds of city life is a tiny portion of town that is made to look exactly like the islands. 

Locals from the tiny Cycladic island of Anafi moved to Athens and transformed their tiny corner into a secluded island escape. Everything is painted in white and blue and an inordinate number of cats lay peacefully sunning themselves here. It’s amazing, this place really makes you feel like you’ve left Athens for a lazy little island. Until that is, you crane your neck upwards and see a bit of the Parthenon peeking down at you. 

Dad had to go home to meet his Greek tutor. Our dear friend Harris helped Dad find a Greek tutor to speed up the learning process. His tutor speaks modern Greek, ancient Greek, English, some German, and Latin so they often switch between them all if they can’t understand each other. I’m pretty sure both of them have language superpowers. But in all seriousness, almost everyone here speaks multiple languages.

Mom and I stayed out for a while longer to grab some coffee and get some things we’ve run out of at the everyday market. On the way, I found a plant store which sold succulents! I’ve been looking for a succulent for a while now and finally adopted one. Two of my friends at home named him Sir Alfred. 😉 

Day 3: 

IKEA is probably my mom’s all time favorite store so we always make a point to visit them when we’re traveling because Nashville doesn’t have one. While mom was shopping we hung out at the cafeteria and drank too much coffee. They have a machine here that lets you choose between tea, latte, cappuccino, or regular coffee. You get a cup for 1 euro and you can refill as much as you like.

Apparently, we showed up on the right day because they were having a grand re-opening and there were samples and sales everywhere. If you’re like me and you’re not trying to furnish a house IKEA is for exploring and getting lost in. So Heidi and I set off to do that. 

We were just goofing around and having fun when we noticed that there was a window between an example supply closet and a staged bathroom that looked right into the shower. We were taking a video pretending to each be minding our own business (Heidi in the shower, me in the closet) when we each notice each other through the window. So we’re casually just talking through a window while Heidi was taking a pretend shower when a guy opened the curtain. He saw what was going on, then said, “Oh, sorry.” like he’d interrupted an important meeting and closed the curtain again. Heidi stayed in the shower for three minutes because she couldn’t stop laughing and I nearly dropped my phone. I still have the video.

After mom had gotten her fill of IKEA we went outside to catch a bus which we missed by a second. While we were waiting for the next bus we found a tiny kitten. She was meowing softly. She was definitely a runt but Autumn still wanted to keep her. Unfortunately, mom is allergic to cats.

The next bus finally came and we were on our way…for a minute. All of a sudden the bus pulled into a dark, gated, neighborhood, turned off all its lights and just sat there. We looked at each other like, “What now?” but none of the locals got off so we waited it out. Fifteen tense minutes later it started up again and pulled back out onto the road. I have no idea what that was about but I’m glad we weren’t stuck there.

Day 4:

Late start again today but Dad, Geneva, and I did manage to make it over to the Panathenaic stadium. This is an ancient stadium but they still use it today for the Athenian games. It’s in the area of the Temple of Zeus, Hadrian’s Arch and the National Gardens. 

We walked through the national gardens on our way back. They are blooming with flower-covered passageways, every variety of tree you can imagine, and lots of wildlife. This is the perfect place to spend a spring day with a picnic and a book. 

Sidenote: although there are plenty of dogs just laying around here we saw a man stroking a balloon shaped like a dog. He was gazing at it lovingly and stroking its “fur”.

Day 5: 

We have to find a place for us, our friends from Israel, and Dad’s family to stay together in Athens during June and July. Today we went to look at a house with three separate apartments in the same flat. Unfortunately, it is quite a ways from the city center.

Since its Sunday we had gyros and some gelato for dinner.  

Day 6:

I’m actually finding it hard to find things to write about this week. I have only related what adventures we did have but we have mostly been in the house this week. It’s been very difficult to find a place for all of us to stay in June and July and Mom has to do a lot of paperwork to be able to stay here longer than ninety days because she is not a European citizen. 

Honestly, this week has been stressful behind the scenes, and us girls have been at home most of the time. I find it hard to come to a new country and sit around inside when there’s so much to explore. But I shouldn’t be complaining and I know there is a lot to take into consideration right now. It does take us forever to get out of the house though and right now things have not been so sunny and cheerful in our house as we could wish for. But there are good times and bad and we’re hanging in there. 

Day 7:

Mom and Dad were gone for nine hours this morning dealing with Greek bureaucracy and trying to figure out how to get her a visa. In America they said it would be simple: it’s not. Meanwhile, we were at home, cleaning and doing schoolwork.

I smashed my finger and it’s bleeding under my nail so I’m having trouble typing all of this but I suppose the show must go on. We did get out to explore a special place with a fairy tale themed cafe and a unique alleyway. 

The afternoon ended up being fun but our mornings haven’t been great lately. Things will start to look up I’m sure. 

Until then, ανδιο!

 

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