16 July, 2013

Adventures in Greece, Part 3

We woke up to heavy rain on the 7th day of our Greek adventure. Wanting to make the most of our time in Greece, we put on our rain jackets and battled the weather. Thankfully the rain continued to lessen and within a few hours, the sky was clear!
We didn't have a set plan for this day.. we walked to the subway station and tried to come up with a some sort of agenda.

So we got on and off a few times haha but finally settled at a random stop. We ended up in a ritzy part of Athens. Expensive stores, government buildings, and schools!

Hey Samson


We kept roaming the city, not really knowing where we were headed. But that's what made it so fun!! Athens is so fun to explore. Eventually a map was used :)

Then we stopped at McDonald's of course.. hahah

When the girls walked out of the bathroom, we found this. hahaha

And again we hopped on the subway

Aaaand while on the subway, we thought it would be fantastic to visit the location of the Athens Olympic Stadium! (p.s. we were right)

In many ways, the Olympic Stadium did wonders for Greece. A new subway & train system and the Athens international airport were constructed in order to hold the Olympics here. And as someone who experienced these improvements first-hand, I've gotta say that riding the subway in Greece is like the most efficient thing ever. brilliant system!

Now you can't normally just get off at this train stop and wander around the entirety of the stadium (not every section is open to the public), but we happened to catch a worker in one of the buildings and asked if we could see the inside of the one below. Annnd we got the green light! :D

We weren't allowed on the field but we had some games of our own.. racing up the stairs. hahaha. here are two of our fierce competitors

We continued to search the premises for any building we could get into.. and we came across this one. It was huge....and locked. so we walked around the entire building trying every door..but to no avail. Thennn someone let us in!!! :D
Inside we found olympic cycling. It is AMAZING how fast these guys go! The guy who let us in talked to us for awhile.. he was so nice. He told us alot about Greece's history, how the Olympics affected the economy, and even about the sport of cycling itself. He even helped us plan our next day in Greece. 

And if you haven't figured out by now, we are notorious for hilariously dumb photos like these :)

Look we're olympic gymnasts!!! haaaha. I <3 my travel family so much

We had a great time exploring the Olympic Stadium.. we spent a good chunk of our day there. It was already time for us to leave and meet up with the other IBEX group that went to Greece!! 

So we made it to the apartment they were staying at (it was the cutest most colorful lil thing!) and they had so graciously prepared us a homemade spaghetti meal. THANK YOU!!!! <3

Thanks Paige and Beck for taking these group photos!!

It goes without saying..but.. we had a great time. God was so nice to reunite us!! And then He blessed us with some authentic Greek baklava

Greek night life

Day 8

Before we returned to Israel, we really wanted to visit the city of Korinthos, which is the same location of ancient Corinth. Paul wrote two letters to the church in this immoral city that was very far from the Lord. So we (my group + the other travel group) got on a train and headed up the coast of Greece.

Hahaha ooo gosh it was wonderful to be reunited with my shmeckers

So. we got off on our stop. and just started walking for awhile. Apparently we didn't know where we were going because we ended up in nowheresville. Continuing on down the road, some guy in a red car stops us and asks if we want a tour around Corinth. He said the train station had called him saying that there were a group of students wandering around (what? hahaha). I thought it was really sketchy, but he was one man and we were a group of fourteen so I figured we'll live. hahaha. He called two more taxis and we all squished inside.
But this turned out to be the greatest thing. He had told us Corinth doesn't have a bus system anymore (which is what we were banking on) because of the terribly poor economy, so there is no way we would have been able to get to any of the ancient locations. He was right, because they were a good distance away and our feet could not have gotten us to these places on our own.
So, we got the coolest lil private day tour of ancient Corinth for 150 euros to split among the 14 of us. Awesome.

First stop, the Corinth Canal.. it connects the Gulf of Corinth with the Saronic Gulf in the Aegean Sea. All throughout the ancient world, rulers dreamed of digging a canal like this.. but it didn't end up happening until 1881.

I'm really cool. clearly.

The next place we drove to was my favorite spot on the Greek mainlaid!! Meet the remnants of a medieval Greek castle known as Acrocorinth, the acropolis of ancient Corinth. It is crazy beautiful. It stands almost 2000 feet above the surrounding cities and is just reallllyyy awesome to explore.

Our third and final stop was the Corinth Archaeological Museum. It was full of statues, pottery, architecture, and figurines.. and it was HUGE! so much to see and learn. The ancient history found in Greece is seriously fascinating.

The Temple of Apollo

This whole place was pretty nifty. Headless, armless statues just like I pictured them heh. 

I walked to the outside exhibits and wandered around for a lil. I found an old stone to sit on and I read through a good portion of 1 & 2 Corinthians. One thing Israel has taught me is that the places written about in the Bible are real. They are not fictitious--they exist(ed) on the same earth we live on today. It was rewarding to learn the same lesson in Greece, because the city of Corinth that Paul addressed in his letters, well, I was standing in it.

Annnd then we took the train back to Athens :)

Even though it had been a long day, you're only in Greece once right?! so we went back to our hotel, grabbed some jackets, and headed out for the night. Street photography is one of my favorites

After roaming around for awhile, we stopped at a restaurant we found the day before. The owner said if we returned, he would give us 10% off our meals (it was a relatively expensive place). But, like I said, you're only in Greece once, so we were excited for some excellent food. And I don't know if I've properly expressed my infatuation with the food in Greece but IT'S REALLY GREAT. This might have been my favorite meal.. it was too dark to get a few photos of my food though sorry :|
This was our view from the roof where we ate :)

Once we got back to our rooms, what better way to end a great day than to curl all the boys' hair? hahaha

Day 9

Well. I woke up and my Greek adventure was almost over :( One day left. We got up, packed our bags, and checked out of our hotel. And just like every other day here, we walked to the subway station. I really enjoyed riding the Greek subways.. the lines run efficiently and are easy to understand and I never feared for my life due to sketchy passengers ;)

Graffiti is EVERYWHERE. Definitely not an unusual sight in Greece as you have already seen in previous photos. We loved this wall especially though :) these goobs were my family for nine incredible days!!

And yaaa we had to take ones like these

Before we left for the airport, we got on a train and rode to the coast. I love the opportunities I get to see the Mediterranean Sea.

Lunch time!

So one of the themes of our trip was this game "What are the odds?" and basically, Lexi lost EVERY TIME hahahahah. If you saw the last Greece post, you saw that she had to eat a mysterious island plant (there were many more of these bets.. wish I documented all of them!!!) This time, she had to climb as high as she could up the pole. So many Greeks stopped and gave her a dirty look oh gosh it was so funny hahahah

Then all became right in the world when I found a Greek frozen yogurt shop again :)!


We found an awesome marina that was essentially a floating museum. Here they had huge ships, some used in different wars or different points in history

Spring time = flowers everywhere!! So of course, photoshoots ensued ;)

Dear sisters, I love you and miss you every single day

Flowwerssss in their bearrrdsss (sing it to the tune of the Lumineers song :D)
love and miss my Greece travel brothers too!

Mini Greek coffees. aka two scoops of pure mud (they loved it though)

nice bathrooms signs :) ha

Soon after, we took the subway to the airport. Got our tickets, checked our bags, and waited for our flight.

This was a vacation like no other. I mean, what can I really even say here that hasn't already been covered right? We had an unbelievably incredible time. God was so gracious to allow us to have a safe and fantastic trip. The bond created between the 8 of us over these blessed 9 days was too great to be a part of. And a GIANT thank you to our wonderful guys who are superior navigators--thanks for leading us around!
I don't know if I'll ever make it back to Greece, but I am a full believer in giving this beautiful country a visit if ever the opportunity comes up!!!!