The saying, "It's all Greek to me" makes so much sense now - it's a very challenging language. The letters are sometimes symbols and I haven't mastered one word yet.
I'm staying at a backpackers hostel in the heart of Athens.
It's hot out. Like 98 degrees hot outside.
Thankfully the rooms have AC and a beautiful balcony with white drapes that make me feel like princess Jasmine in The Jungle Book.
From my balcony, I spotted these wooden bikes at a hotel across a cobblestone walkway and just needed to try it out.
I biked around visiting ancient ruins, Filopappou Hill, stained-glass window churches and captured views of the Acropolis.
I'm sitting on Filopappou Hill in this photo looking at the Acropolis ---->
Filopappou has miles and miles of hiking trails. In August, however, it's very hot and I was sweating my face off just hiking to the top of this hill. I sat on these stones and meditated for a while.
Later, when I returned the bike, I got invited up to the hotel's rooftop pool. In the elevator, the bike renter guy said in a thick accent, "If anyone questions you, just say you know Mr. Paul"
I smiled, nodded and said, "Mr. Paul's friend. Got it."
I felt like royalty. And also a ragga-muffin because I was sippin' from a glass cup in a rooftop pool when all my stuff was splayed over a four-bed dorm across the street. I stayed here for about two hours and then went scouting for traditional Greek cuisine.
I must say, the hostel is very nice. So far I've met an Australian, two from New Zealand, one from the Netherlands, one from Germany, and four from various parts in the States. I met a guy named Tennessee. He's from Seattle.
Each day, I ventured out a little further as I started to gather my bearings. The Australian suggested I download the App Maps.Me and that was a LIFE SAVER! It's like Google Maps except you don't need service. You can use it in airplane mode, whenever you want.
With Maps.Me and a little liquid courage, I bought a train ticket and took the train to a bus station (asked three Greeks for directions along the way) and ended up at the ocean.
I floated in the sea for a while - weightless. This wasn't the original place I was planning to go when I embarked on this journey. At a bus stop, I asked an older Greek man how to get to bus "A2" and he looked at me with white eyebrows going in every direction and small circular glasses and said, "Where you try go?"
"The beach," I said. "I want to go to the beach."
He shakes his head. "No, no, you not go there for beach."
He points to the map behind me and locates the furthest location away from where we are and says, "You go there. That one nice."
And then he said, "I could take you to nice place but you must be 21. Are you 21?"
I shrugged. We both laughed. And then he said very loudly, "I must leave you now!" as his bus approached across the busy road and he weaved through traffic to make it.
I boarded the next bus and rode it all the way to the end.
It has been hard to sleep because Greece is 8 hours ahead of CST time. I'm notorious for midnight snackers on the balcony because 1. I don't have an appetite during the day because it's hotter n' hell round here right now and 2. It's probably like, lunchtime, in the US when I'm supposed to be fast asleep at 2:35 a.m.
I got a message at 2 a.m. from Belay herself saying that she had arrived at the Hostel. We met and chatted till 4 a.m.
Today is my last full day in Athens. Next up? The Islands.
Thanks for following along on my journeys!
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