Discover more from Women's Survival Guide
Travel to Greece
A trip down memory lane Replay of WSG 14
I thought we would revisit my travelogue post way back in year 1 of Women’s Survival Guide. This is the second of two Greek posts, here is the first. Notice there are nearly no other people in the photos. Covid travel wasn’t half bad.
Did you travel during Covid? Where? I hope you enjoy this trip down memory lane…
Still in Greece! I am in the Athens airport heading home. It has been a magical time here. I don’t have an interview ready for this week, but will get back to it soon. Summer is a hard period for people to commit to the process, myself included. Rather than take a break from the newsletter I’d like to do another Greek edition for you.
Just a note on free range travel: I highly recommend it! It isn’t for those who need to know exactly what they are doing or have any health issues. I do not think I have travelled like this since I was in my 20s, when I did it often. I’d pick a general destination, buy a ticket, maybe have a place to stay the first night or two and go from there. During this period of Covid, it’s possible to travel without set plans. People are traveling in Europe and the States, but not in the usual numbers and there are no tourists from China or India, which typically make up a huge number of travelers. For instance, I have photos at the Acropolis with (almost) no one in the background. I do not think that is normal.
As my plans kept changing, long story involving kids, I was able to tell my hotel day by day if I was going to extend a night. My daughter and I came with one way tickets and I bought my return ticket yesterday for $460.00. So, in general I recommend tavel now, just depends where you want to go and how flexible you are, and BY ALL MEANS YOU MUST BE VACCINATED FULLY TO TRAVEL.
Areas of Europe are suddenly bursting with the new strain of Covid. With the vaccine, chances are you won’t fall ill. Do not travel if you need things ‘just so’ because nothing is just so, dependably. Places like Mykonos have a no music rule right now (to keep the fun and mixing together to a minimum). But, I have had nowhere I had to be, very little in the way of plans and nothing that couldn’t be re-booked. In general a very relaxing time. The Greek people are relaxed and patient with all of us who cannot speak Greek beyond ’thank you’ and ‘good morning’ etc,.
Compare and contrast: Thessaloniki with Athens
First, let me just say, Thessaloniki is a lovely city. It is easy to get to the islands or Halkidiki from the city. Easy to walk around, great place to go for a run (on the miles long promenade along the harbor), not loud, or polluted, and you’re not going to shop. You might see something on one of the islands, but I didn’t find the shopping tempting. Athens is a big, hot, noisy, crowded city. But, it’s full of the most amazing stuff you’ll see anywhere. Moving on.
Picking up where I left off in the last newsletter, I went to the island of Skopelos for four nights and it was sublime. The air on the island is warm and soft. I caught the only ferry of the day from Thessaloniki at 7 Am. The hotel (Electra Palace) told me to get there an hour in advance and they weren’t kidding, it was mobbed. The ferry makes three stops, so lots of folks. Our ferry had some sort of mechanical difficulty and the 4 hour ferry became 6. I slept for part of the trip and the rest just sort of eased by. I booked a hotel that was on the edge of town so I could walk but not be in the middle of the action. The hotel is dreamy. Skopelos Village Hotel, my new happy place. LOVE Skopelos.
The perfect place to write the previous newsletter edition, which I did right there at that little table. Then I went to the beach. Hurrah!
After Skopelos I went back to Thessaloniki for one last night before my daughter and I flew to Athens. She continued to Spetses, another amazing island, and I stayed in Athens to see the sites. This was not part of the plan, but, thanks to Covid, there wasn’t a night when I couldn’t be easily accommodated at the hotel I was staying in, Electra Metropolis. I did move rooms once but, that is worth the comfort to stay at the same place and enjoy their lovely roof top. PS, these hotels have less expensive rooms on the lowest floors.
The first day I spent over 4 hours at the Acropolis. The sun in Athens is searing so I was totally covered in UV clothing, hat and glasses. Super sexy.
I did not have a guide, but read a lot while I was there. I suggest you get a guide. The history is insane and their brilliance is as stunning as the history of the place. If you look at the columns of the Parthenon, behind me above, notice the tapering of the columns. They aren’t straight but at an angle, elongating the height and lending an elegance to the structure. Incredibly, the Parthenon contains no straight lines and no right angles, a true feat of Greek architecture. There are some amazing facts to look into in the design of the Parthenon. Check them out here, along with its tragic history. The structure isn’t in ruins because it was abandoned, but, because enemies kept attacking it and knocking it over, burning it along with all of the sculptures.
The Museum that goes along with the Acropolis is also a must see, and air conditioned (!) with a lovely outdoor cafe that stares at the site. Very cool is the archeological site below the structure of the museum you get to walk through. Other favorite sites of mine (and there are so many others to see that I didn’t get to) were National Archaeology Museum, Ancient Agora: Ruins of the Marketplace, The Roman Agora & Hadrian's Library, Benaki Museum, Mount Lycabettus and St Georges Church (and super cool restaurant). Everywhere are wonderful places to sit and have a coffee or beer, like here:
I had this beer outside of the Roman Agora. Lovely!
I could go deeply into each site I visited and it’s tempting given all of those WSG wanna-be archeologists out there, like me (…here I am walking on the steps that people did in the 5th century BC …etc). But, You can also look that stuff up. I might take a moment and look at a few of the items and sculptures that stood out to me. Some left me with questions unanswered by the museums.
Now, don’t get squeamish and puritanical on me…remember, these are the people that did the olympics in the nude…with that said, what is the story with this penis? That has the star? The motif shows up a few times and no mention in the description. Don’t go accusing me of staring at ancient “relics” like a dirty old lady. They are all at face level!!
It was amazing to see the bronze sculptures. Not many survive and the ones I saw, mostly at the Archeological Museum, were found at the bottom of the sea. Still with the “star” treatment, though.
Isn’t this adorable? Midwives holding down women delivering babies. Quite expressive.
Isn’t the above photo amazing? Just Athens on an average summer day. Gorgeous.
Above, is an example of how the buildings looked originally. clad in marble (though without the color it had when it was built). We are used to seeing what is underneath in the ruins of today, because all of the cladding was “repurposed” (read: used to build Mr. Big Shot’s new house). In a funny way, the patch showing the structure, seen above, exemplifies the pillaging from other structures to build the new ones (note the chunks of material that look like they came from other buildings).
Ok, I’m burning out on all this learning we are doing. Look, here is some graffiti by a punk in 1916. What would his mother say? To close, see the lady below. Botox and filler with a side of Lexipro, Anyone? XOXO Kim