Many students abroad were fearful of going to Greece because of all the riots and governmental problems the country was facing, but when your friend has a house on the beach in Greece…you suddenly become more willing to go to Greece. The best decision I ever made regarding study abroad was stepping outside of my comfort zone and only going abroad with one of my friends from college. It forced me to make new friends and some of the friends I made abroad are some of the most amazing people I’ve met in my life. It also just so happens that making new friends also leads to an impromtu trip to Greece!
My friend Christian’s grandfather was from Greece and left his condo on the beach of Loutraki, Greece to his family. He invited a couple of us to go their for the weekend. It was obviously a no brainer! When we got off the plane in Greece it was an interesting experience. If you’ve never seen Greek writing before, it looks pretty strage. Very different than any country I had traveled to before. His house was an hour outside of Athens, which meant we somehow had to figure out the train system when everything was written in Greek. We had to wait 45 minutes for the train to come and I’m not going to lie, it was kind of a scary train. Thank god there was a big group of us traveling.
Once we got of the train the situation went something like this:
We approach 3 cabs to take to his house
“Hey Christian, what’s the address to your house?”
“Uhhh…I forgot to ask my parents.”
“WHAT. how are we supposed to get there?!”
“Uhh.. just like it’s by downtown Loutraki…just say that”
I quickly meandered my way to Christians cab, in fear that the other cabs would get lost. Eventually we actually, somehow, made it. His place was awesome! It was a cute condo with the most amazing view of an all rock beach with the mountains of Greece in the distance. There was an old Greek couple that owned the restaurant at the bottom and a boardwalk filled with more restaurants. It reminded me of the strand in Manhattan Beach. Feeling a little homesick, this was a welcoming site.
View from the Condo
The next morning we woke up and hung out on the beach, listened to music. It was a peaceful day and nice from the busy abroad lifestyle. That night we went a traditional greek restaurant and our friend made us try crazy greek food like friend kalamarakia, favakeftedes and a bunch of other crazy greek sounding foods. After, we went to a bar/club which wasn’t the most exciting thing but we made a great night out of it.
The next day we woke up relaxed and ready for gyros. I think we all had about 4 gyros in the duration of our stay in Greece. They were from this small little place by shore and absolutely amazing. And of course we also ate lots of Tzatziki.
Christian knew of this secret cliff that was about a half hour cab ride away where we could go cliff jumping. It turned out to be cooler than I even imagined. When we got there, we told the cabs to come back in 2 hours because there was no civilization within walking distance and we didn’t have phones (thank god they came back). It was absolutely breathtaking. It was quiet and peaceful with ancient ruins right next to the cliff. We spent a half hour exploring and stumbled upon a cool cave with the most amazing view of the ocean. Then we decided to get to the excitement and go cliff jumping! We had to jump with our sandals on because there were sea urchins on the shore where you get out. Christian jumped of the little cliff first and it looked FREEZING. However, Alec, Blase, Bates and myself (the only girl willing to take the risk) decided to jump off the big cliff. It didn’t look THAT high up, but when I approached the top… I got pretty scared. I almost didn’t jump but after everyone else went off the cliff, I knew there was no going back. It was a great rush. It was a truly great day. How often do you get to jump off a secret cliff spot in gorgeous Greece next to thousands of year old ruins?
Me jumping off the cliff!
Since there really wasn’t that great of nightlife in Loutraki we ran to the grocery store, grabbed some cases of beer, and decided to spend the night at the apartment. My friend Blase had the idea that we should split into two teams and play a game. We all put folded pieces of paper of movie titles in a hat and split in two teams. You couldn’t speak but had to act out the movie titles with body language. While it sounds like some G-rated game you play at a Christmas party when your 8 years old, it was one of the most fun nights abroad I had. All that it takes to have a good night is surrounding yourself by good people!
We woke up super early Saturday morning to go into Greece. I was pretty excited to go see Acropolis and the Parthenon!!! As soon as we get into town…bad luck hit us. Apparently Saturday is the only day of the week that Acropolis closes early. Here is my view of Acropolis from afar:
…At least I got to see it at all? Anyways, we spent the rest of the day just walking around Athens. It was basically a bunch of tourist shops with ancient ruins in the mix. I did, however, get to stop at a GREEK YOGURT BAR. I love Greek yogurt and being in Greece getting Greek yogurt with honey and strawberries was pretty damn cool.
Greek yogurt in Greece! Mmmm
On our way back to Loutraki we saw a man try to run away without paying for a cab and getting tackled by the cops. We pretended we saw true, Greek rioting.
Also, one pretty strange thing about Greece is that there are stray dogs EVERYWHERE. It’s so sad and really weird to see dogs wondering about like squirrels.
After a long, fun weekend it was time to go back to home and the greatest place in the world: Florence.