February 2012 was a watershed month for me. Not only did I my pass my driver’s license test with flying colors, but I also got my braces off (a little too soon, according to my orthodontist) and I left the country for the very first time.
Every February vacation, my high school does a trip to various places in Europe. The year before I went they went to Paris and one other place, but I don’t remember I where. When I went, we traveled to Rome, Naples, Pompeii and Brindisi in Italy, and Athens and Glyfada in Greece.
I must admit, I was a little unprepared in terms of dressing appropriately for the weather. Italy is rainy. A lot more rainy than I was led to believe. It rained the entire time we were there. I did bring a rain jacket, but a we spent a lot of the time walking around looking at sites and being unbelievably touristy, so not having an umbrella was a downer.
We saw the Sistine Chapel which is amazing. Pictures really do not do it justice. For some reason, we had to be quiet when we walked in the room and we weren’t allowed to take pictures of it. That didn’t stop anybody from talking and taking discreet, or not so discreet since their flash was on, pictures of it. We did a lot of other super touristy things like eat pizza in every single city we visited. We ate a lot of pizza. Too much pizza, in fact. I didn’t eat any for a while after that week.
After three or so days in Italy, we traveled down south in our wonderfully luxurious Italian coach bus down to Brindisi to take a ferry to Greece, where we would spend the remainder of our trip. We took this boat called the Super Fast Ferry, which was lame and terrible and actually not that fast.
Here is a video of what my trip was supposed to be like. They make the boat out to be amazing and beautiful. It is not.
The weather was horrific when we boarded the boat. The wind was howling and the water was choppy, and it took us much longer than expected to reach Greece. We were scheduled to visit the Olympic stadium when we got to Greece, but the ferry was, as I mentioned, not super fast and we didn’t make it there on time.
But, when we did get to Greece, my-oh-my was it worth the terrible, terrible boat ride. First, we went to some stadium. I don’t remember what it was called or how far away from the hotel it was. We went so many places in those eight days that a lot of the trip is a huge blur. After the stadium, we went to the Parthenon.
The Parthenon is on the Acropolis of Athens, which basically just means that the city was built on an elevated piece of land. It’s really amazing because you can see the entire city from the top.
We had some free time in Greece to walk around and shop and stuff. But the best part of our free time was spent at this little beach near the hotel we were staying at. It was probably a five-ten minute walk through some back streets. It was nice to have some down time to relax and put my feet in the sea.
It’s amazing how spending such a small amount of time in a place like Europe can cause it to get under your skin. It’s been almost three years since I went, but I remember it like it was yesterday, which is super cliché, I know. But, I promised myself that one day I would make it back there. I promised myself I would go back someday and learn the best kept secrets about a European town or city.
I plan on keeping that promise.