Sunday, November 20, 2011

northern greece


Sunday, November 6th

After flying from Santorini to Athens with my mom, we said goodbye and I settled down to wait in the airport for my next flight. I waited about 3 hours. Read. Bought over-priced chips. Spied on two girls waiting with their fat cat :)

This was my first time flying on an airplane alone, but it was surprisingly easy! I flew from Athens to Thessaloniki, a very short flight, and everything went smoothly. The nerve-racking part of my journey came next. I had to take the bus from the airport to our hotel. Even though I had a map and some notes, I was getting nervous because the sun had gone down and I felt very disoriented. But it all went okay! I found the right bus stop and walked about 15 minutes to the hotel.

After a confusing call to Panos and a lot of waiting (it's hard to know what to do when you can't call your friends because no one has a cell phone!), Lauren and Brianna came back to the hotel looking for me. We walked a few blocks to a restaurant where most of the group was waiting.

I'm so happy they found me because dinner was wonderful! Maybe the best dinner I've had in Greece so far. We received free wine, free bread, and free dessert (a small chocolate cake and small cheesecake to share) and my meal was delicious. It was called pasticada and was basically beef cooked in a red, herb-filled sauce with noodles. Really yummy! And apparently Croatian, according to my Wikipedia search just now.

A pastry from Ble.

Monday, November 7th

Today was a busy day of walking. First we hiked up to the Trigonian Tower. It was a very strenuous walk, but a good workout. It's at the north wall of Thessaloniki. There were lots of students around, mostly younger (high school age) but some our own age. It was strange seeing so many kids near our own age around.

After stops at the Byzantine Museum and Archaeological Museum of Thessaloniki, we had a lunch break. Some of us went to Ble, a bakery mostly known for its amazing pastries. They had so many delicious-looking treats but I settled on a berry tarte. It was amazing!

Then we kept on walking. We walked a lot more around Thessaloniki. A few places were closed, so Panos just showed us them and talked about them from the outside. Had dinner in this nice area near our hotel. Split mushroom pasta with Lauren and it was delicious. After, we went shopping for a bit. It was wonderful being in H&M again :)

Tuesday, November 8th

Visited a number of churches. I don't remember all their names but one was Church of St. Demetrios and another was ___ Sofia. Then we went to the Contemporary Art Museum. There were a lot of cool pieces, including the one above by Andy Warhol. There was also a whole area that was really dark and kind of spooky with talking exhibits (movies or audio). It reminded me of that scene in "Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory" where they're on the fast boat and the walls turn into weird movies and Wonka starts signing this creepy song and yelling. Scary!

We also went to a mosque that had another modern art exhibit. There were two really strange "art" movies showing. One had a bunch of grown-ups wearing lots of make-up and costumes and playing out a bizarre, loud, non-sensical classroom scene. Another simply had a woman saying "Dieter" over and over again in different tones. We watched it for one minute, waiting for the next thing to happen, but nothing did. So we just kept laughing and talking and waiting but nope. That was it. She just kept saying "Dieter." :) Crazy, crazy art but really funny.

For dinner, Brandon and I got sandwiches from Everest (a big European sandwich chain), wine, and tartes from a bakery. We ate them in the park, where a bunch of dogs were gathered with their owners for play time :)


Wednesday, November 9th

Visited the tombs in Vergina first and then on to . . .

Meteora! One of the most amazing places in Greece I've seen. Meteora means "suspended rocks" and there are all these huge, beautiful rock pillars there. On the tops of the rocks, monasteries were built hundreds of years ago. We visited Varlaam monastery. Gorgeous!

When we arrived in Volos, it was already dark, but Panos took us around a bit. After our little tour, we all went to the Noodle Bar for dinner and had some amazing Asian food. That's one thing we are lacking in Aigina-- variety in our food. We've missed Asian and Mexican food so much!

After dinner, we played cards in our hotel. It was a very strange hotel too because it was in the middle of renovations. So the lobby was very modern and chic, but the hallways were big and old and strange. Plus, the elevator had no walls! As you went up, the wall moved past you and one girl got her backpack stuck in it! The whole building reminded us of the board game "Clue."

Thursday, November 10th

We started the day by driving up Mt. Pelion and stopped in the mountain village Makrinitsa. It was beautiful! Very unlike the rest of Greece, but beautiful. It almost felt like we were in Germany. We stayed there awhile to listen to presentations, take pictures, and explore.

That concluded the Northern Greece field trip! After Makrinitsa, we had a 5 hour bus ride back to Athens and then the ferry back to Aigina, our home sweet home.

Friday, November 11th

Like all the days after traveling, I spent my time sorting/editing pictures from the trip and e-mailing friends and family.

Saturday, November 12th

Homework, writing, and movies.

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