Thursday, October 02, 2008

A Swedish American in Greece

I’ve been in Greece. Exploring. And it was glorious. And now I am back. And it is cold.

The old ‘uns flew over to Greece for a little vacation so I flew down to Athens and met up with them. Because who am I to turn down lodging and food with my parents in Greece? No one, that’s who.

The week was filled with sightseeing, ruins, driving, bad "it's all Greek to me" jokes, even a little scuba diving, and a whole lot of lamb. Because Greeks love lamb. And so do I.

The week started in Athens with the requisite ruins. The Acropolis, some Temples, some arches. Stuff that was built over 2000 years ago that is now hanging out in the middle of a city filled with the trappings of modern society. The ruins were beautiful, the city was not. While mostly clean it was just kind of ugly. Tired looking. But I suppose the point of going to Athens, at least for me, is the old stuff. And the old stuff is hard to beat.

What’s even harder to beat is dinner at Taverna Acropolis at the foot of the Acropolis. The Acropolis is lit up and looms over the city. Almost ghostly. But stunning. And dinner there is something that will stick with me forever. It was one of those experiences.

There was also a trip to one of the Greek islands. Hydra. A small little island rumored to be nearly car-free. I saw at least four. But nothing else motorized on wheels. The island was one of the closer ones to Athens and was a very calm, pretty place. With some glass clear water to swim around in. Which I did.

Following our day of braving the seas off of south western Greece we had an adventure to Delphi to check out the Temple of Apollo and the Oracle. Delphi was basically built right into the side of a mountain. And I never realized quite how mountainous Greece was. Rumor has it that there is a Dutch company working in Greece that offers a week of skiing and sailing. Three days of skiing and four of sailing. An interesting combination. And one that I am interested in. Now I just need to learn to sail. Because obviously it’s not fun having someone do everything for you.

Along with all the sightseeing was probably one of the coolest things I’ve done. I went scuba diving. I got certified over the summer so this was my first real dive. So I got to do a dive around an old ship wreck a little bit south of Athens. And that’s not something you get to do every day.

But one thing you do get to do every day in Greece is eat lamb. Lots of it. We went to a few restaurants, tavernas if you will, or tabepnas if you really will because of that silly Greek alphabet. Come on now… an alphabet that you’ve been using for thousands of years? Show-offs. Anyway, they basically just skin a lamb and shove it on a stick over a fire. Then you order it by the kilo. And it is salty and delicious. And we ate a lot of it. I was surprised to find out though that gyros featured pork or chicken, not one of them offered lamb. And I learned something. I thought gyros were at least offered in lamb form. I was wrong.

All in all a great trip. Next time, because the beautiful thing about travel is planning next time, will be spent checking out more of the Greek islands.

What does this have to do with Sweden? Not a damn thing. Except that I’m back in country now.

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  1. Nice trip you had! Never been to Greece but I will someday. Thought more about Crete which is said to be totally different from Greece mainland, but let's see. Those temples were definetely worth seeing!

  2. Dear blogger! I see you have a lot of interest in travelling. It would be an honour if you would register at TravelBoards and become a respected member of this new community! Signature links are accepted and a contest is held in which you can participate! I hope to welcome you soon!

  3. How do you say jealous in Swedish? Oh, yes.... ME. :)

    I love classics and I've always wanted to go... especially to Delphi! Lucky, lucky, you!

  4. It is nice to see people from different country's of the world said good comments about the old ruins of ancient Greece, especially if you know that all the Temples are saved from few people who loved the ancient Greek history, the government and mostly of the people who live in Greece now they don't give a damn about their heritage (Of the nature & civilization).
    About the alphabet it isn't the same that used from ancient Greeks but a more different modern version, if you thing better a different version of the same alphabet you are using when you write or speak English or Swedish.
    The Greeks don't eat lamp every day only some times on eastern holidays because it is expensive. (A basic monthly fee in Greece is 700 euros 1 Kg lamp costs 7-10 euros from supermarket).

    hälsningar from a Hellene [hELiin] who is living in ugle Athens (it is the reason when to many people who they are ugle in their hearts and in their mind's live in the same small territory).

    Vi ses.

    P.S. The real name of Greece is Hellas as the real name is Sweden is Sverige
    & Greek is Hellene [hELiin] as Swede is Svensk.

  5. @smek - yeah I think the islands are a bit different. And Crete especially.

    @lowlander - travel!

    @nereid - Delphi was pretty impressive. I was amazed at how big the archeological site was.

    @geo neo - youre right about the alphabet, but it is similar, I read a little bit about that while I was there but figured some nice generalizations would keep it simple.

    and good work onthe other greek facts. some interesting stuff.