Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Day 26: Athens

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Today's highlights: 

   -Church in Athens!
   -Tickets to Santorini! 
   -Acropolis museum 
   -Ferry drama

First full day in Athens! And we loved it! All those things I said I loved about Greece last night were only re-emphasized today. Rob and I have already agreed that I think Greece is the place we want to come back to most of everywhere we've been so far. Bummer we only have 4 days here!

So we found a church to go to today! Yay!! Sacrament!! It turned out to be right down the street from the flat we are staying in. We actually couldn't find it at first because when all the letters are completely unrecognizable, it's kind of tough to read signs. But when we discovered it was in the general shape that the church's name is usually in, we took a guess and we were right. We met lots of cool members and TONS of missionaries (10 missionaries! That's as many members as they had there!) It was so great and we got to have the testimony portion translated by one of the missionaries. I felt bad, hoping it was not distracting to others, but man, understanding things is real nice. 

After church, we ate gyro platters (DELISH!) and tried to figure out the ferry situation to go to Santorini. Even at this point, the day we were supposed to be leaving for Santorini, we still didn't have ferry tickets and didn't know if it was going to work out. I had to keep telling myself that it probably wouldn't happen, that I shouldn't get my hopes up (because as Robbie stated, when I have a plan I'm passionate about, I get real sad when it doesn't work out). But after some visits to some travel agencies (who understand the system MUCH better than we do), we got tickets for the 9:00pm ferry that very night (just 2 left)! We'd only be able to stay in Santorini about a day and a half because of the ferry schedule (and having one day less in Greece than we'd planned), but hey, one day is better than no days!! Plus, the ferry there was an overnight ferry which means no paying for a place to stay! The only bummer was it got in to the island of Santorini at 4:00am. But I didn't worry too much about that, we would figure it out later, right...? (This would come back to haunt me). 

Now that we knew we were going, we could FINALLY try to book a room there. However, this proved to be far more difficult than we'd hoped with only 1 day notice. We are still waiting to hear back on some airbnb places. Cross your fingers!

Okay, business aside, now for some actual Athens time! Talk about a history teacher's dream! There is SO much ancient history to see in Greece! And it is seriously ANCIENT! Like from 500 BC and older! Rock on. 

(Ancient theater with acropolis in the distance)

Historical background (for those who care):
Greece was one of the earliest civilizations (earlier than Rome) and had a very rich history and culture. One of the coolest things about Athens was the Acropolis or hill in the middle of the city. It was the most sacred place in the city. On this hill, ancient Greeks would go to worship their gods, mainly Athena since she was the patron goddess/protector of Athens. In fact, they even had a huge temple built to honor her up there. You've all heard of it: The Parthenon. It's GORGE! It used to house a 40-ft statue of the Goddess of War herself, but has since been removed. 
The Parthenon itself has tons of beautiful carvings and artwork on it depicting famous scenes from Greek mythology. Like when Athena was born FULL-GROWN and fully armed, out of Zeus' forehead. Yes. You read that right. Born out of his forehead. These Greeks have some CRAYZAY stories. 

The first place we went was the Acropolis Museum which houses a lot of artifacts from the acropolis itself, but they are kept here now to keep them more protected from the elements. 

Robbie's embarrassing moment of the day: I (Angie) was standing watching a video in the museum, and he walked up, seeing my pink shirt out of the corner of his eye, and put his hands on my shoulders and squeezed. The thing is, that wasn't my pink shirt and those were not my shoulders. The girl that turned around to look at him with alarm was probably 14. Haha. I watched the whole thing go down in amusement. 

After the museum, we walked up to the actual acropolis which is SO cool and SO windy. 

Cool story about this flag. During WWII, the Nazis occupied Greece and forced them to take this flag down off of the acropolis. But two teenage boys scaled the wall, climbed to the top, and rose the flag again in an act of defiance. Viva la Grecia!

(Beautiful Parthenon)

Angie's embarrassing moment of the day: Exposing her bottom half numerous times to everyone else on top of the acropolis because her stinkin skirt wouldn't stay down in the wind. So, accidentally showing your garments is kind of like sharing the gospel, right?

It was so great, and so fun to hang with my honey in such a crazy old, awesome place. 

So we grabbed dinner at our favorite place from last night (again, when we find a good spot, we pounce!). And this is where the story gets crazy. 

Our ferry for Santorini left at 9:00pm, and we were told to be there by 8:30pm. We took that advise seriously and left early enough that we should have been there by 8, a whole hour early. Bad timing on the metro pushed us back but we still should have made it on time. Except for one small thing. We showed up to the wrong port. This left us with only one thing to do. Run. Run like the wind. 

Before this experience, I thought I was in shape. We climb a mountain to see some ruins, I do great. We climb a 550 step dome, I do peachy. But running, nay, SPRINTING with your huge backpack for a full 15 minutes is stinking hard. I don't care who you are. Well, maybe unless you're Robbie, who kept looking back at me in a panic. He was obviously torn, "Do I stay with my wife who is slower than molasses or do I catch that ferry and make sure they don't leave us?!"

Thanks to a blessed bus driver who saw us frantically running and had enough mercy to yell at us to get on his bus and he'd take us there, we made it. We made it by about 1 minute. No joke. The boat pulled away before we even had a chance to sit down!

So that was a crazy start to this ferry. Obvi, we could not put into practice the "claim a good spot early on" trick that we learned before because we were literally the last people on the ferry. So we slept in seats. And I use that term "slept" very liberally. I dozed a few times but kept waking up. But poor Rob-Bob, no matter what crazy position he tried, did not ever fall asleep. Not even once. 

At 4am, we got off the ferry. 

Thus begins the longest (and most eventful) day of our lives.

1 comment: