After a full day at sea, we made it to our first port, Athens! We started out super early and went together on a bus as a group to the Acropolis. On the way there, we rode on high cliffs overlooking the water to the right, and traditional Greek buildings to the left. As always, it was really interesting seeing the different building and architecture styles; but the highlight was definitely watching the coast go by with its stunning blue waters and crisp, clean air. When we got to the ruins, our tour guide began to give us a very in-depth telling of the history of the buildings and the land. The structures were MASSIVE! It was absolutely mind-blowing how they were built centuries ago and withstood all of the things that occurred throughout the different empires. Did you know that all of the Greek temples and structures had been completely destroyed by enemy empires and they completely remade in half the time it originally took to build them? That’s crazy!! Right now, Greece is working to reconstruct and restore the ruins for historical and educational purposes. You could see the brighter sections of marble on some of the pillars, but it was still so beautiful. Athens is breathtaking. It was crazy trying to imagine how amazing it must have been to actually live there. Will people look back on our own ruins and wonder the same thing? What legacy are we leaving behind?
Back on the tour bus, we drove from the ruins and headed to the city's center. We walked around for a bit in search of food and found a very cute restaurant with extremely delicious Greek food. Miss Lovie, Khloe’s mom, and I ate the restaurant’s famous “Dooky” (I know, funny name!) which was a sandwich- it was so good, I really wish we made them here. I’m talking the softest bread, with perfectly seasoned chicken, fresh vegetables… mmm, I’m getting hungry. Sorry if you are too. Fallon tried the restaurant’s duck, and she devoured it! Fallon did not talk at all once her food came to the table because of how good it was. Fun fact: they really like cream cheese in Athens. It’s in everything! I always really enjoy when our big group eats together because it’s so much fun. When you have all the queens, their moms, Mrs. Nikki, and Mrs. Jess together, we usually never stop laughing or telling funny stories. I’ve loved every second I’ve spent with these incredible women.
After lunch, we walked further into the city and did some shopping. Just like Milan, the busy city center of Athens reminded me of NYC- tall buildings, lots of cars, and people walking on the streets. We all split up later that afternoon- Ava and Khloe went back to the ship so they could go swimming, Fallon and Sullivan went shopping, Haley was on an excursion with her mom, and my mom and I kept exploring the city. The cool thing about walking away from a city without really any place to go is that you stumble upon a lot of unique places you would have otherwise never gone to if you had a plan. My mom and I went into this Christian shop in search of gifts for my grandma where the owner spoke absolutely no English and we spoke no Greek. Our communication was solely reliant on gestures and expressions. It was a really interesting display of human communication and it was proof that we can all connect through something universal. We aren’t all that different; a lesson I feel that we need to be reminded of.
Lessons of The Day:
- Pay attention in history class so you can have insight on places you travel to! History is cool, especially when you get to see it in real life.
- Get out of the city centers and big touristy areas. Sometimes it’s okay to not have a plan or a map. You might stumble upon something unique and impactful!
- No matter our skin color, our race or ethnicity, or language, or our beliefs, we’re all human. Instead of seeing someone’s differences upon the first encounter, try thinking about how cool it would be if you looked past it all.
Athens was incredible, and getting to stand at the center of such monumental history was a once in a lifetime opportunity. Our first stop on our cruise was so much better than expected and it set the tone for the rest of the trip. Check out the other additions to the 2017 Travel Series to read more about the International Queens’ trip to Europe!
"Spread Love, Choose Happiness”
2017 International Teen