I remember waking up on our last day in Greece with a little knot in my stomach, because I could feel our wonderful journey coming to an end. Endings and separation are always difficult for me (I was a little teary-eyed before I wrote this after parting with my family at the end of Thanksgiving break), but I tried to keep a cheery mood!
On our last day in Greece, we drove about an hour outside of Athens to visit the Temple of Poseidon at Sonuion along the coast. In all honesty, this was one of my favorite ruins in all of Greece. I mean, check out that crystal blue water! It served as a marker for sailors leaving Athens or returning to Greece, sort of like a modern “Welcome to Pennsylvania” sign.
When Lord Bryon visited the site, he was so impressed with the temple he carved his name into it! You can read more about this famous poet’s obsession with Greece here. Unfortunately, many not-famous visitors followed suit. Older generations oftentimes criticize our new tech-saavy society, but at least with snapchat we can only virtually carve our names into ancient historic sites.
After ten days of historical tours, my brain was in information overload mode. I was beyond excited to hit the beach after our tour!
It was a Saturday, however, so everyone and their grandmother had the same idea we did. We couldn’t even get a chair to sit in at the beach we were at! Once we were all settled under a leafy palm tree we were ready to relax. We went to this beach because it was relatively close to our hotel, however, I would definitely recommend lounging further out from the city if possible.
The real excitement of the day occurred traveling back to our hotel. Our tour guide had left us because he had to take some other tourists back to the hotel, so my school group and I had to follow his instructions to ride the tram back to the hotel. He basically told us we could take any tram going into the city.
We quickly got onto the first metro going into the city. It was super crowded, people were literally crushed up against each other. Some creepy Athens natives were making kissy sounds at my friend and I, and we avoided eye contact as much as possible. About halfway through our ride we realized we were on the wrong line! We had to get out and regroup. We had to back track and find the right line. It was stressful and chaotic, however, we finally got into the right tram and were able to relax. Only for a few moments, however. A father on our tour realized he couldn’t find his wallet! My friend and I realized that the men making kissy noises at us were trying to distract us while he was being pickpocketed! Unfortunately, this is a relatively common occurrence on Athens public transport. You can read more about pickpocketing tactic in Greece and how to protect yourself while travelling here.
By the time we got back to the hotel, we were all exhausted beyond belief. I hate flying, but I was excited to spend the next day being able to sit on the plane and just watch movies.
Just when we thought we were on the home stretch, our flight in Athens was delayed. We actually ran to try to make our connecting flight from Philadelphia to Pittsburgh, however, it was too late! Our group really couldn’t catch a break.
Unfortunately, four people in our group (shout out to Mrs. Farley, Mrs. Eades, Mrs. Phares, and Riley!) had to stay behind because there was not enough seats on the next flight to Pittsburgh. I never thought I would be so happy to return to Morgantown, West Virginia!
This wraps-up my ten day adventure in Greece. While it had its highs and lows, I would not trade this experience for the world! Greece is where our modern society as we know it began. I think it’s a place everyone should visit before they die, to understand the roots of our modern civilization and admire its Mediterranean beauty.