Day 93 – Athens, unexpected home of heavenly pies

This is my last entry from the continent of Europe.
I can’t believe that this much of my trip has already passed, and I am actually quite sad to say goodbye to Europe. I suppose it was quite fitting that our last stop was in fact the oldest city in Europe, the birthplace of Western civilization, Athens.
Athens is a surprisingly strange mix of East and West… It technically still has all the elements of a European Union country, but the lifestyle and the sort of ‘in your face’ culture I’ve experienced is very much like India. Cars and motorcycles seem to go on whatever path pleases them, and none of the prices listed anywhere are in fact the actual prices. And even the tourist prices, due to Greece’s recent economic troubles, are reminscent of India. One Greek himself told me that its impossible to get a straight answer from a Greek, they enjoy speaking in a roundabout manner – I don’t know if thats true, I’ve only spent 3 days here?
Some sites we have seen include the ancient commercial district of Agora, the Theater of Dionysus, the Temple of Zeus and of course, the entire Acropolis. I have always been fascinated by the architectural mastery of the ancient Greeks, and I must say that there is no way to overhype the Acropolis. An amusing random fact about Hadrian’s triumph arch in Athens: the entrance reads ‘This is Athens, ancient home of Theseus’, but the back reads ‘This is Athens, Hadrian’s city, not of Theseus.’
The food has been amazing – our first night we had a greek salad with kebabs and pita, and the next day we discovered a shop that makes hand sized pies that come in every greek-ish flavor you can think of. My favorite was eggplant, zucchini, bell pepper and feta.
We spent the last couple nights socializing in the hostel – strangely there was a large amount of Americans at this one, which made speaking in American English feel a bit freeing. Most of them were working on Peace Corps missions in Bulgaria, and just had some time for R&R in Greece.
Anyways, I don’t really know what else to say because I am still reeling by the simple fact that tonight I will be on an entirely different continent. I suppose I will let the pictures show you the rest.

Until Africa,
Janak

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