Thank Zeus for Greece
Trip Start Sep 15, 2010
29Trip End Jul 23, 2011
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After two days in Athens it was time to start island hopping! Unlike most countries I've selected because of an interest or a person, I chose Greece simply because it is beautiful.
My first stop was the island of Santorini. I have admired pictures of Santorini while in Eastern Market for years. As it turned out, the blue byzantine domes and white cubist architecture was even more beautiful than expected. I strolled aimlessly along the narrow pathways and white washed buildings with a huge perma-grin on my face for hours
After three days in Santorini it was time to keep exploring. Unable to decide which island had the best beaches and funky blue water, I hopped on the bus and took the first ferry leaving the port. This was a fortunate choice because it happened to be going to Ios, a.k.a. a backpacker's party mecca.
I had only planned to stay one night but I had such a good time with the other travelers that I extended it for two. On the first day I accidentally went to the nudist beach. Despite this I found a private little cove and thought to myself, "I've found paradise!"
Before I knew it, it was time to take the next ferry to Mykonos. My initial plan was to lay low and recover from the past two nights in Ios. No sooner did I decide this than I met two friends from New York City. Cris and Julie invited me to join them for dinner with a local they met named Tony. At first I was super skeptical. I thought to myself, "why in the world does this local want to hang out with us?! We are going to get completely swindled." But after a few gyros and beers it was obvious that Tony was a colorful character with a big heart
I haven't read the news in weeks, but on one of the ferries I met some folks who informed me about the recent travel warning for Europe. At first my stomach started churning and I wasn't quite sure if it was because of sea sickness or the news. We discussed it for a while and agreed that if needed I can always wrap a scarf around my head and put on sunglasses. Nevermind that I am almost six feet tall.
Speaking of attitudes toward the West, I have been surprised and saddened to see how much feelings towards America have shifted since the last time I traveled through Europe. I regularly encounter people who have a very bad taste in their mouth when it comes to our country. While in Greece I considered employing the Socrates method, but upon further exploration, I realized that many people don't even want to have a conversation. They just rant against our policies or their perception of the typical American. I have studied the reasons "why they don't like us" in school, but I'd like to try to go deeper on a personal level and understand how we can move forward. That said, I am also realizing that the change needs to start with myself. I may love my country, but others are perfectly entitled to their own opinions. In order to constructively engage in a dialogue I need to first work on not taking things so personally.