Monday, March 15, 2010

mamma mia.

Spring break is over and we’re already into the second half of the semester. Our trip to Greece had a bumpy start when we were advised by Dean, the receptionist at the Student and Traveler’s Inn, that it’s not smart to visit the Islands this time of year because everything’s closed and the weather isn’t warm enough. After our first “family” meeting over some snacks at a nearby restaurant, we decided that instead of going to Santorini for four days, we would see what Athens had to offer.

Although we were disappointed that we wouldn’t get a chance to wear our bathing suits and get sunburns, the trip ended up being great. Our very eclectic group had the ability to make the best of every situation and roll with the punches. We learned that plans really do change, and even three pre-trip meetings won’t warrant an accurate itinerary. Highlights of the week include: going to Nafplio and climbing countless steps to the fortress on the warmest day we had, discovering The Art Foundation (a really cool bar that only locals would know about), buying handmade Greek sandals from the famous “Sandal Making Poet”, and playing mafia and essence whenever we had down time. We also went to the Acropolis, the National Archaeological Museum (whoa, old marble stuff!), and on a three island day cruise to Hydra, Poros, and Aegina.

Now a few fun facts/stories about Greece:

- You can buy the most ridiculous souvenirs (if you can even call them that) on the street in Athens. We saw miniature, mechanical, dancing donkeys that jolt back and forth, giant lighters, light up stick things, miniature mega phones, and really scary dolls. No, I did not buy any of them.

- Greek restaurant owners try really hard to get you to eat at their restaurant. Luckily we had Claire and Brian to bargain down our dinner prices. One night we managed to get free bread (instead of paying a euro per person), unlimited wine, and any entrée we wanted for only 10 euro. Whhhaaaaatttt?!

- The nicer buses that take you longer distances do NOT have bathrooms. I discovered that it’s best not to down a Coke before a three hour ride to Nafplio unless you want to pee your pants. Don't worry, I didn't pee my pants... that would've been really bad considering I only packed two pairs (one of which ripped in the crotch-ish area when I was climbing some rocks on the last day. Oops). I'm definitely over-sharing in this bullet, sorry.

There are definitely more "facts", but weird souvenirs, food, peeing, and ripping pants are the only things that seem to come to mind right now. Hopefully these will be helpful to know if you ever find yourself in Greece.

(One of my favorite pictures I took. Courtney, Claire, and Emily by the fortress in Nafplio.)

So yeah, Spring Break was the bees knees, but now I’m back in Arezzo and back to work. After being in another country for a week, I’ve developed a newfound appreciation for Italy. I missed the gorgeous countryside I get to look at everyday, the pasta, and the relaxed Italian mentality. Today, after ballet, I walked to Coffee O’Clock (the closest thing to a Starbucks), ordered a cappuccino, and dove into this week’s philosophy reading. Since Tuscany is starting to warm up, the half hour walk back to the villa was very pleasant. It was nice being alone for a while after having constant company for seven days and I had a chance to just stop and think about things.

I have no big plans for this weekend as far as traveling goes. Liz and Perry, two of my friends from Goucher, are planning on visiting Arezzo, so it will be nice to see them. If the weather’s nice, I’ll probably go to the market and pick up some fresh fruit, pecorino (the best cheese ever), and proscuitto.

I don’t like closing blog posts, so listen to this song instead.

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