Hello my dear friends, after spending three weeks relaxing in my hometown in Poland, the Eurotrip continues—except this time around I’m with a friend. When I initially told Devon I was going to travel in Europe, I asked if they wanted to come along. We decided to meet in Warsaw and now we are in Athens, Greece. I can’t tell you enough how amped I am to be here!
After all, Athens is the freaking symbol of Western Civilization! Visiting an ancient place like the Acropolis, you can’t help but wonder what life looked like years and years ago. To be precise, we’re talking 5th century BC old. Taking the climb up to the Parthenon, you’re walking ancient roads, breathing in the sights of Athens from high above, and stopping at every remain.
Let me tell you, it all feels very surreal—to know how long ago it was in use. The ancient Greek mythology suddenly becomes alive and you’re sucked into a part of your brain that isn’t available all that often. It would be way cooler if there weren’t so many tourists around, but hey, I’m a tourist too. Be prepared for just a touch of claustrophobia and the heat… It gets scorching hot.
If your hotel is dirt cheap, it’s probably not in the greatest area. We are staying near Monastiraki and as I was booking the hotel, I thought GREAT, it’s so close to the Acropolis. We arrived at night and we weren’t prepared for what was awaiting getting out of the Metro. It seems like just about every part of this area in Athens is covered with graffiti. Things would be different if it was beautiful artsy graffiti. Don’t get me wrong, some of it is, but mostly, it’s just signs and words and markings. It makes you ask yourself what propels people to devastate their surroundings like that…
There are clues all over the streets. The unemployment rate is really high and you find a homeless person at just about every corner. Our first night in Athens, we were shocked by the massive amounts of garbage rolling around in the streets. MASSIVE, unlike anything I have ever seen. I have complained about the random forties and diapers and packs of chips rolling around East Cleveland, but that is incomparable to the garbage hanging out on every street in this neighborhood. We simply couldn’t believe what we were seeing.
On our walk to the hotel, we encountered people smoking something that we think was either crack or meth. Okay then… we thought and kept walking. The following day we saw numerous instances just like the night before—even in daytime people in groups huddled over a suspicious looking pipe and tin foil. Maybe I haven’t seen enough of America, but I can’t remember things like this back home.
Just by our hotel, a mega huge dumpster was being invaded by three people looking for… something valuable I suppose and just like that, all the trash inside the container ended up scattered on the street. Hours later, a new group came to do some more hunting and more garbage was thrown around. If the dumpster by our hotel was ravished twice over, this leads me to believe that all the street garbage is probably the work of people looking for valuables.
It’s truly a strange sight to pass by people smoking meth/crack and police officers around the corner. I don’t think they need to be arrested—I just think they need help. I’m not upset we chose a hotel in this part of town because I always prefer to see the good, the bad, and the ugly. Can you really blame me?
On the bright side of things, the food scene in Athens is bomb and I will never get enough of the grilled halloumi cheese… I just won’t. The area we are in may not be the best, but at the very least it is teeming with people.