A 3 AM wake-up is never optimal, but when you’re headed to Greece, it becomes that much more exciting! This past weekend, I flew out to Athens and Santorini and had an amazing experience in the land of gyros and evil eyes. My friends and I kickstarted the trip by listening to one of our favorite movie soundtracks on repeat, Mamma Mia, to really get us in the right mood for Greece.
We spent all day Saturday in Athens, exploring the historic city which had interested me all throughout my childhood with its strong connection to Ancient Greece and Greek mythology. The weather was beautiful, and we were able to enjoy all our meals outside, with amazing live Greek music in every corner. We walked through the streets of Monastiraki, a vibrant neighborhood full of bustling restaurants and vendors on our way up to the Acropolis, which could be seen from nearly every angle of the city.
Our walk up to the Acropolis allowed us to stumble on smaller building nearby, including the Library of Hadrian and the Herodes Theater. Once we reached the Acropolis, it was astonishing to realize how long the iconic piece of architecture had been there. The hill also housed the Old Temple of Athena, which was dedicated to the patron goddess of the city. There was also the location of the old olive tree which was a something I had always read about in books about Greek Mythology. After exploring the ancient parts of Athens, we headed to a dinner and a rooftop bar which overlooked the Acropolis, which was beautifully lit up.
The next day, we headed to Santorini! Although our trip to the island was not on-season, my friends and I still had an amazing time hiking and soaking up the sun, all without the constant flux of people that we had been warned about. The pictures I had seen of this island did very little justice to how beautiful it was! The entire thing seemed like such a dream!
The following days in Rome after Greece were interesting! My program was providing a free guided tour of the Colosseum, so I would finally be able to visit the iconic part of history that was so characteristic of Rome. It was crazy to realize just how vast the building was, including how many people it could fit and how integral it was to Roman societies. Our tour guide also provided information about the legendary gladiator fights and how they would transform the Colosseum into a decorated scene!
During this week in class, we would be doing case studies on hot-topics which intersected both topics of politics and religion.