Embark on an Odyssey

Views from the Acropolis - Athens, Greece by flickr user K_Dafalias

The breathtaking blue shore of the Mediterranean from atop the Acropolis is a scene I will never forget in all my life. I could have stood there forever with the breeze warming my face and the spectacle of ruins scattered around the ancient Greek city in my sight.  It’s the perfect place for ESL teachers to explore once finishing a teaching contract.

The city of Athens is truly a living museum. But if you are like me, you would never have guessed the delicious food and amazing prices make this city an even more appealing destination. After first ordering a freshly made gyro, I took a walk to visit the Academy of Athens to see the statues of Classical philosophers. At the entrance to the Academy are Socrates and Plato accompanied by the gods Apollo and of course Athena. On your walk, you may want to head over to Syntagma Square to capture a photo of the ‘Changing of the Guard’ ceremony which is a daily tradition. To dive deeper into the architecture of the city, you may want to visit the National Archeological Museum. Or climb the Acropolis and witness one of the most famous sights of the ancient world, the Parthenon.

The streets of Athens have a definite and distinguished urban feel. I particularly enjoyed the random graffiti pieces which seem to characterize the city with a mode of modern strife. The Agora or market in Athens is a must! I highly recommend you take your time to explore this market full of produce, meats, fish and countless other items. It was here that I picked up an 18th Century compass that I found at a local shop. When in Athens, you will notice lots of decorative blue eyes throughout the shops and worn by the people. This blue amulet called a nazar is quite common in Greece and can be purchased all over the city. They make a nifty souvenir and are said to protect the wearer from the evil eye.

At dinner time you may want to choose a menu that includes fresh seafood for it is some of the finest you will eat in the whole world. None has ever compared to the delicious calamari I ate while in Athens. And to really experience a Greek night out, I recommend trying the Ouzo with your calamari. These tastes harmonize well together, so I learned from a local. After dinner, take a stroll down the streets and see the magnificent sight of the Acropolis lit up at night.
For a day out at sea, you can take a boat to the islands of Greece like the isle of Hydra. The scenic views of the Mediterranean and small town shops are worth an entire day. If you make it to the islands, be sure to enjoy the local cashews and pistachio cream. They were so amazing, that I decided to bring some home for my family to enjoy. You will be set to bring home the tastes of the Greek isles with a relaxing final day if you plan ahead.

You will be sure to kick back to the rhythm of Mediterranean time after a relaxing visit to Greece.

 

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