Spring Break 2009 has come and gone… 12 crazy college kids successfully traveled to and from Rome, Athens, and Santorini while having the time of their lives.
I was not sure how traveling with 11 other people from my program would go, but it turned out better than I could have imagined. All 12 members are extremely outgoing and have very unique personalities, but our travels really united us, we became one big family. This shone through when we almost missed our connecting flight from Rome to Athens and were sprinting through the airport and Ben in all seriousness shouts, “no soldier left behind!!” as I started to stumble with my jam-packed carry on (but, hey, I only had one bag for the whole 10 days… I give myself a pat on the back). Shout out to all my SB ’09 homies- I heart you all so much YA KNOW?? (They find my Minnesota accent rather amusing…)
So here goes the tales of our adventures…
Rome was probably my favorite place of the trip. The sun was shining and on approximately two hours of sleep we landed in Rome bright and early dancing in the airport terminal to “Beat It” on Bobby’s iPod speakers… I think the Italians really enjoyed that one…. and we wasted no time. We hit up the Coliseum and the Roman Forum first and one word comes to mind: PEACEFUL… I felt so content in Rome. As Emily put it “I’m literally have deep life thoughts over here!” That night we wandered the streets of Rome- wine bottles in hand – taking in the culture – before arriving at the Trevi Fountain. The fountain is massive with beautiful Roman carvings and all lit up at night. We saw a marriage proposal! We all took pictures and the couple is having us send them ours because they like ours better than their professional ones. Note to any possible future husbands of mine reading this: not a bad way to put a ring on the finger! The second day we were off to the Vatican. We went inside the Basilica, saw the tomb of St. Peter, and where the Pope speaks. The Sistine Chapel was my favorite place in Rome… I am not sure if it was because of my Catholic upbringing or just how breathtaking it is…. but I sat there staring up at it for quite sometime.
aThEnS (I’m trying to switch up the typing to keep you interested in this long entry)
We landed in Athens and did not think it was a good sign when the taxi drivers described where our hotel was a “war zone.” But, good ole Hotel Amaryllis was not THAT bad, but we did see around six drug deals just from our balcony. We also made best friends with a stray dog Jessica labeled NBD (for those not in the know on college abbreviation lingo this means “no big deal”) because the only time we had to walk the street in front of our hotel alone he circled us the whole time, glaring at the men, he even herded me back in the pack when I fell back one time. Stray dogs are everywhere in Greece, but it is weird because the government vaccinates them, many followed us around and were quite friendly. So, now that I have freaked out my parents and everyone else’s let me tell you Athens really is great!
We were there for the last day of Carnival, which is the Greek celebration of the start of summer. We were hiking up the Acropolis to the Parthenon that day and there were many Greeks having picnics and kite flying, and DANCING! We followed the sound of music and before we knew it we were in the middle of a huge Greek dance circle, learning traditional Greek dances. I think I was one of maybe five blond people in the whole circle. A group of men from Pakistan let me and Emily fly their kite with them! Oh,and did I mention gyros and Greek salads?? I ate SO many… my mother is coming to visit tomorrow (YAY!) and I’m worried she might mistake me for a whale….
Then it was off on the ferry to Santorini- a Greek island.
The ferry was eight hours and BEAUTIFUL on the way there. It was sunny and the Mediterranean Sea is SO BLUE. Emily and I took our tanning very seriously, the Greeks on board thought we were crazy because it was only about 65 degrees… but when you’re from Minnesota you know how to tough it out and take what sunshine you can get and I got TAN. I want to throw in though that the ferry ride back four days later was so rocky, we had two pukers, and I got so motion sick I had to sit staring straight ahead with my iPod on for eight hours… borrrringggg.
Santorini was gorgeous with little white buildings with blue roofs and donkeys trotting by on the streets. It was just the start of their tourist season, so it was quiet but still lively. We had some great meals, went to a fun bar called Murphy’s every night, and just relaxed. Some members of the group rented ATVs, people drive those and motor bikes all over the island. I went ATVing with Dave one day as part of the “Back Door Bros and their Betches” as our “ATV gang” was affectionately named. They took the ATVs up on the hills and we hiked around, you could look out all around you at the sea and island life below. The people on the island were so nice. I had gone to a restaurant for lunch one day and brought everyone back there for dinner. The owner gave me my meal for free and gave all 12 of us free drinks because she was thankful… a lot of Greek restaurants we visited were like this, their restaurants are very welcoming.
Overall, it was an amazing trip. By the end I was excited to get back to London, I’m surprised how much London has come to feel like home… it was comforting. Peace.