A street vendor selling bread and pastries in Syntagma Square
Note: This is the first post in a new series I’m trying out on the blog to document my travels and inspire other women to plan their own adventures. Travel is a huge part of my ideal life and I know it’s a value that many HBW readers hold as well. Stay tuned for more diaries from my month-long trip to Europe as well as some of the cities I visit during my speaking engagements!
The first thing I notice about Athens, Greece is the graffiti. Lots and lots of graffiti. While riding on the bus from the airport, I see it everywhere – on old buildings, alley walls, even on the storefronts of main street businesses. Does Athens have a gang problem or just a high number of street artists? I have no idea. But driving past all the graffiti makes me feel like if I stood still on the street long enough, I might get tagged, too!
The only word I have for Greece so far is…different. The food, the language, everything. This trip is already challenging my comfort zone in so many ways. I like to be in control and right now, I feel like I’ve just been dropped into the Greek matrix. I’ve already gotten lost once with these crazy street names. *breathe*
How I Got Here
All told, my journey to get here from Washington, DC was about 20 hours. DC-JFK-MAD-ATH. It wasn’t that bad, actually. I had forgotten how awesome international flights are. Pillows, blankets, legroom…and dinner! The flight attendants on both of the international legs were much nicer and hospitable than the ones on U.S. flights. The difference was pretty stark, even in coach. From the airport, it was about a 45-minute bus ride (5 euros), then a five-minute cab ride to my hostel (another 5 euros).
Where I’m Staying
I’m staying at the City Circus hostel in Athens. It’s a new hostel located about 10 minutes from Syntagma Square. The gallery below contains photos of the hostel – it’s a very clean, modern building with quirky furniture and art in the main areas. The staff are so helpful and friendly here. I’m staying in a four-person dorm room for about 27 euros a night. I’ll write more about the dorm living experience in a future post!
Photo Gallery: City Circus Hostel
The first night, I stay up as long as possible so I can acclimate my body to Greek time. I sit for a while down in the common area, eating snacks and watching the Olympics. In the morning, I fill up on the free breakfast. It’s much better than I thought it would be, and very vegetarian-friendly. I have coffee and orange juice; toast and jam; plus yogurt with fruit, honey and muesli. Later, I go back for cheese, bread and olives, just to make sure I’m full for as long as possible so I don’t have to buy food for lunch LOL.
At breakfast, I meet several really cool people:
- an older woman from Australia who quit her job in fashion marketing to travel the world
- a recent grad from Tennessee – he majored in soviet studies then got a job in Ukraine, visiting Greece on holiday
- a girl from Peru, visiting Europe for a month – she’s doing most of the major cities for a few days at a time
Today, I’m off to get lost in the city. Tomorrow, I’ll probably join one of the free walking tours and make arrangements to visit one of the Greek islands this weekend. Antio!