Wednesday 12 September 2018

(April 7, 2018) Exploring the Green Spaces

Today was a marathon of walking-- Fraser and I explored quite a bit around town.  Having already been to the major tourist attraction (the Acropolis), we were free to explore the rest of the city.  Athens really does have some beautiful parks and green spaces.

Angel in the park

We passed by the Olympic Stadium, had then a bit of a challenging time finding coffee and an afternoon snack, since it was Sunday, and many places were closed.  Somehow, we ended up strolling through a cemetery.  It was a beautiful and peaceful spot-- and I would say the cemetery was also pretty ornate compared to the simple tombstone markers we're used to seeing back home.  It felt like a living place, though-- there were quite a few people coming in with flowers and gifts to pay respects to their departed loved ones.

Olympic stadium

Testing out a phone booth

Tombstone of a musician?

It's time to say goodbye to Athens, and to Greece-- I've had a wonderful holiday here, and I'll go home feeling relaxed.  Tomorrow I fly to Istanbul, Turkey, where I'll spend one night before flying home again via Montreal.  Fraser is staying on for a bit longer, though I have to return home to work.  It has been a fantastic past few weeks, and I can't wait till our next adventure together!

We love you, Athens... till next time! <3

(April 6, 2018) Return to Athens

It was a morning of packing up-- we said goodbye to this little piece of relaxing paradise that we'd been fortunate enough to enjoy for the past few days.  We returned the rental car, and caught the ferry back to Athens.  We arrived back in the city by evening, checked into our hotel, and then did a bit of exploring around town.  We did pass by an interesting-looking music store, among other things, though it was closed for the day.  Tomorrow we'll have another full day to explore around the city.

(April 5, 2018) Another Beach Day

Yesterday was wonderful... I think I am really starting to get into relaxation/vacation mode.  Today we decided to go explore the beaches near Plaka, in the northern part of the island.  We found a nice, undisturbed spot on the sand, and rolled out our beach towels under the shade of a small tree.  We did see one ferry pass by, but other than that, we had the beach entirely to ourselves!

Later in the afternoon, we decided to dry off and explore a bit more.  We ended up near the catacombs-- though we didn't go exploring underground, since it was too nice of a day to not be enjoying the beautiful scenery above ground.  We did a bit of hiking along the hillside, and found the perfect spot to watch the sunset.  I don't even want to contemplate the idea that tonight is our last night here on this beautiful island.  This is a little piece of paradise.  Tomorrow, we take the ferry back to Athens.

(April 4, 2018) Provatas Beach- A Day to Relax

Today, Fraser and I slept in and had a leisurely breakfast, before packing our beach towels and swimsuits for a day on the beach.  We decided to explore the southern side of the island, and ended up at Provatas Beach-- a beautiful, sandy beach with gentle waves coming in.  For the most part of the day, we were the only human beings there. 

As a freelance musician, who normally works very long, irregular hours, and juggles as much as I can possibly handle to make ends meet-- it's a challenge to just let go and relax.  Today I did my best to just envelop myself in all the simple pleasures: sea, sand, sunshine, a good book, and great company.  It's totally fine to just let go, and to be silly. 

This is what we (adults) all need more of-- unplugging from the work world, and connecting with the natural world.  Just stretching out on the beach with a good book, running into the ocean waves, curling your toes in the sand.  Enjoying the present moment.  It was a perfect day.

(April 3, 2018) Moonscapes, Venus, and the Amphitheatre

Our first adventure today was a drive to the north side of the island, to visit Sarakiniko Beach.  It is a pretty surreal place, described in travel brochures as being like a moonscape.  The beach is not sandy and soft as I think I'd expected-- instead it's hard, smooth, white volcanic rock, sculpted by the ocean into some strange shapes.

After experiencing this surreal moonscape, we drove back to the town of Plaka, which is where the famous Venus de Milo marble sculpture (or Aphrodite of Milos, as she was originally called) was discovered.  The sculpture itself is now in the Louvre Museum, Paris.  

Just up the trail, not too far from where Venus/Aphrodite had stood, was an old Roman Amphitheatre-- with a gorgeous view of the ocean.  We decided to have some fun testing out the acoustics.  I tried singing a bit, while Fraser gave a short Shakesperean monologue, before breaking out the jaw harp from his jacket pocket!  The acoustics were excellent, and I can't imagine a more beautiful venue to sit and listen to a play, a speech, or some music.  

We did some more hiking and exploring around the hills, and even tried driving our small car along the labyrinthine, steep, very narrow roads of the town of Plaka-- that was definitely an adventure!  The roads were originally designed like that, to make it as challenging as possible for pirates or other invaders from getting to the town centre easily.  We eventually ended up back in Adamas, as the sun was going down.  All in all, a beautiful day-- with some great rustic soundscapes: ocean waves, church bells, sheep, and a jaw harp!