The Athenian weather was, according to Jolie, a bit cooler today than it had been. There was also an inexplicable cover of clouds. I applied precautionary sunscreen before we went out, in good faith that the sun would burn off the clouds by noon.
Not that this gave it much time. Jolie and I had slept til nearly 10:00. We are both here for the primary purposes of rest and relaxation. There’s plenty to see, of course, but we have plenty of time to see it. There is no need to be in a hurry. We’re adopting the Mediterranean pace of life.
Most of the day was spent walking around our neighborhood. Our hotel is located right off Syntagma Square, in Plaka, and is quite central. We mostly made circles through shops, and saw everything from the large chains to high-end retail to flea markets.
I began my quest for shoes. My flats are literally falling apart at the seams. They look and feel pretty bad. I only needed them to last another minute, but they just aren’t going to make it. Besides, I’m in Greece, and I’ve always wanted a pair of good gladiator sandals.
We checked out various Greek shoe stores between rounds of coffee and pastries. At the far corner of the flea market, we had the most amazing baklava of my life. And I did eventually find great shoes for less than half the price we were originally seeing, that were my favorite of the whole day. They’re leather, made in Greece, and dyed that super trendy green-blue.
After midday we went to meander round the national gardens. Greece has been an interesting experience at this particular time because the government is bankrupt. The city and gardens, therefore, are poorly maintained; but there is still a huge amount of pride obvious within the Greek culture. Streets and restaurants are sparkling. The food is fantastic. It’s a very strange juxtaposition, as striking as the Ancient Greek temples that neighbor H&M.
Our stroll tapered off around 6:00. Jolie and I decided to have a long Grecian dinner at the amazing restaurant she discovered, Commerce Cafe. I was worried that our American nature would take over and we’d fly though our feast, but I’d say we successfully assimilated. We were there until midnight, and by that time our party had doubled in size.
The first addition was a girl my age named Meg. Jolie had met Meg and her family the night before. Meg’s parents were leaving Athens this morning, but she was remaining on her own for a few days. She studies full time at St Andrews in Scotland, not as an exchange student.
Jolie had made the traditional Greek salad at Concord legendary, and Meg was there to try it for herself. We were about half way through our first bottle of wine when Jolie noticed her sitting only a few tables behind us, and exclaimed loudly, “Is that Meg?!” It was, of course, and we were so happy to have her join us.
I really enjoyed meeting her. I wish even more I had thought to apply to European universities from high school and done my whole degree here instead of just a semester. St Andrews sounds like an amazing place with many hilarious traditions. Maybe it’s a place I can get a master’s degree.
Our waiter was a young Greek man named Marius. He told us a sad story earlier in the night about how he’d lost half his thumb at his last job. We tried to reassure him that no one would notice his thumb with such a handsome face (Greek people, by the way, are all gorgeous–the ones who aren’t trolls) but he was very sad and insecure about it. He wanted a prosthetic thumb tip, but such things are quite expensive.
When his shift ended around 11:00 we persuaded him to join us. We three beautiful ladies and our final bottle of wine was enough to tempt him, and he practically been a member of the party the whole evening. It was great company, all in all, and I hope to see more of them both throughout the rest of our time here.
It was quite late by the time Jolie and I got back to the hotel. It had started raining sporadically throughout dinner, which was hard to believe. its not allowed to rain in athens. I think it must have followed me. It ceased just long enough for us to walk home, but was on and off again late into the night.
Arriving home so late happily gave me a chance to speak with my beautiful boyfriend, who is now 8 hours behind me. I did so from the roof, trying to enjoy the warm nighttime weather and view of the acropolis between the light showers. I so rarely get to talk to him these days, I was so grateful for the chance tonight regardless of the weather.
Marius had told us it was customary to wish one another a good month on the first, which lead me to realize that today is the first day of June. This was pretty shocking. I’m so excited to see my darling Matthew before the month is out. It’s been so long it’s hard to believe. On the other hand, it’s hard to believe how fast the time has gone since I arrived in Europe.
June is the month I return to America. I still have a little time left, but it’s getting more and more difficult not to dwell on the end especially now that the month has arrived. I’m conflicted. I never want this adventure to end, but I do have a few things to look forward to in the states. Large sodas, free tap water, driving a car, and Matthew. It’s all right around the corner now. Ready or not…