between the lands

Jessica and Andrew’s travel journal

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Are we Greek yet?

Posted by Andrew in GREECE (October 10, 2007 at 2:02 pm)

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We tried our hardest to assimilate—and we had lots of help in Greece. 4 cities—all couchsurfing with locals has given me a great appreciation for Greek hospitality. We had some of the best.

JESSICA SEZ: After spending months getting a LITTLE BIT used to the Arabic alphabet, and then breezing thru turkey where they at least use familiar letters – Greece comes along to kick you in the head like a mule.
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Trying to read street signs and locate the ladies room – you almost wish you’d paid attention to those silly fraternities in college. Is this a menu or a physics test? Learning to sound out the greek letters became a favorite new game. We did passably well, and some of those letters will come back to help us when we hit kyrillic-kountry in the balkans later…
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ANDREW RETURNZ: While most folks seem to spend a lot of time on the Greek islands, we only had time for 1—we took a boat from Turkey to the legendary isle of Lesvos…
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Our host Grigoris was a great guy, and just down the road, his friend Panagiotis is trying to keep alive the traditions of the kafeneio (café-NAY-yo).
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It’s a place to go drink coffee or liquor, and if you order ouzo, (of which they say the best is made in Lesvos) your get free food along with it. This guy takes it to the next level food-wise, and we ate some amazing greek specialties along with our ouzo.
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Lesvos also is famous for its natural hot springs…
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After an overnight ferry ride, we spent the mandatory day in Athens, checking out the acropolis and other nearby ancient ruins.
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They were cool to be sure, but what makes the acropolis for me is its location. You can see it looming from all over the city. and from the top, you can see what a huge and sprawling modern city Athens is.
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Lots of cool street art and graf in Athens as well..guess the creativity has lasted these thousands of years..
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No pictures of our host Anastasia, but heres a view from the balcony of her colorful apartment. Thank you, Mz A!

Next (and last scheduled) stop was Trikala, so we could check out the nearby rocky hilltop monasteries of Meteora. We spent a few hours hiking and hitching rides from one to the next of these things in a giant rock valley. I wish we’d had another day to keep exploring the area.
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I definetely would have liked to spend more time with Dimitri and Lena, our hilarious and talented (respectively) hosts.
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But we had to get to Albania, right?

Nooo!!! Not so fast…its election day in Greece. All the buses are full! and we cant get out of the country. At least we got to see lots of political posters, some of which were trying to capitalize on the recent fires. We also ran into a rally on the streets of Athens.
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But where do we sleep? To the rescue came Aleksandra, who along with her incredibly generous parents (her mom is a great cook) took us in and showed us a bit of the beautiful lakeside village of Ioannina. efaristo! You guys are life savers!
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And on to the Balkans we go… (more next time)

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