Exploring mainland Greece over the last 12 days with GAP Adventures has left me with a mixture of feelings. The ancient ruins are unbelievable in person! I actually stood where the ceremonial Olympic Torch is lit every time the Games are to begin since 400 BC (minus the 1500 year hiatus), walked the Sacred path to Apollo's temple in Delphi to witness where the Oracles did their visioning, walked the entire Olympic Stadium that was used in the original games, spoke like a the tough Spartan woman that I am in Sparta, explored Byzantine monasteries, hiked to and from the hanging monasteries in Meteora, explored the Acropolis in Athens, and the famous theater of Asklipieio's Healing Center in Epidaurus that still has engineers and architects of modern time in complete amazement.
The marvels of the ancient ruins leave me wondering how did they do it? It also had me wondering how America would be remembered. What structures would withstand the test of natural disasters and time? What would archeologists dig up and say about this country? It also made me realize just how young America is in comparison to other countries.
In spite of the off moments there were several great moments. My tour mates were awesome! Learning the slang from other countries made it very entertaining. I'll be calling men blokes and women birds for a while. While money will be referred to as quid or Euros too. There was also the opportunity to learn a few slang words that aren't very nice. Won't repeat them here. Watching the locals smoke fags and the Americans "bumming" something from someone provided hours of entertainment. My new expanded vocabulary probably won't help me much after the trip. Hey, it was fun to learn.
One fun thing to note is I bought a blue dress and was encouraged to wear it out one night with my wild hair down. That night was more fun than I can remember. It led to a few in my group calling me Goddess Athena. It set the mood for the night ahead of us. The taverna owner where we had an amazing dinner referred us to a fun bar down the street. This was night to remember because it is where Greek hospitality was at its best. Our entire group was bought drinks by restaurant owners and taxi drivers we had met earlier in the day. Also, just maybe it was because Goddess Athena made an appearance in their lives at that moment (ok, so I was a bit tipsy when I was thinking this. Can you blame a girl for wishing?). In hindsight, I wonder if some thought Athena might fall out of her dress with enough alcohol? Luckily everything remained in tact and secure. The group had a great time.
The second favorite night out was when five of us found a gadget bar in Nafplio. Think cross between junk filled basement and a mad scientist's lab. you turn loose curious boys, engineers, tourists and beer you get a playground for entertainment! All of us at some point were pushing buttons and wondering what would light up or start moving next. It had everyone in the bar laughing! There was even a mechanical arm that served beer (unfortunately it was in the shop being repaired when we were there. The owner proudly showed us photos of it). At one point we discovered a video game that was a shoe being thrown at George W Bush. Everyone took a whack at it for the highest score. Yours truly held her own and beat out the other American present, but couldn't manage to beat three European guys. What does that say? :) I was applauded for my efforts and brought a Brandi Sour.
One theme that kept coming up was how Americans aren't informed of world politics and history. There were so many fascinating conversations that I couldn't keep up with. A few moments were embarrassing that I couldn't answer simple questions. It was rather humbling at times. It also inspired to me learn more about how American politics impact other countries, some foreign historical references, and what the effects of other countries have on America. In the moments where I couldn't answer questions I took the role of student and learned all I could.
Right now I'm enjoying my time down time on Poros. Tomorrow starts the beginning of my sailing adventure. This is the part where five single women and a skipper are turned loose on the Saronic Gulf for adventure. That might be a dot dot dot email.
Until the next installment of the Greek adventure .... signing off for an Alpha and Souvlaki dinner. Opa!