Friday, January 27, 2012

Day 5: the amazing Athenian race

Today we were split into groups and given a map and directions for a scavenger hunt across the city. There were professors posted up in various districts to talk to us about history, current events, and hot spots.  My group made it to Monastiraki, Exarchia, Gazi, Psyri, Syntagma, Ermou, the National Garden, and the Zappeion from about 11:30am until 4 pm.  I'd already been to Monastiraki (this amazing flea market) and Syntagma square, which is where my hotel was when I was in Athens two years ago.  Zappeion was a huge beautiful building which was the spot of the first indoor Olympic event in the 1896 Olympics. Gazi is pretty much all bars, nightclubs, tavernas, etc, but I'm excited to go back to see the old gasworks which is what the district is named after.  Exarchia Square was a really cool area, described as "alternative" and "artsy" with lots of students and artists but not as many anarchists as Omonia, a district we're strongly discouraged from visiting, especially after dark.  I ducked into this great cafe and bookshop which was just filled with smoke and people doing important things, whether it be homework, writing, or participating in passionate discussions. There I ordered my very first Greek coffee EVER. I know, how have I not had one before?? Luckily, today in Modern Greek class we learned how to order Greek coffee (w/ sugar, medium, or black).  I definitely want to go back to this area to explore the bookshop awhile and sit and pretend like I too have something important to write or read.  I had an amazing and overwhelming first week but I am very excited for this weekend because we have absolutely nothing planned!  As I'm meeting different students, I'm getting excited for classes to start, but I also expect to fully enjoy my last weekend before school begins.  Dikemes (the Greek name for my program, College Year in Athens) is doing a great job so far of welcoming us and helping us acclimate.  So far I feel very at home in Athens and the more I get to know the Greeks the more I fall in love with them.  I can't wait to improve my Greek and meet more locals.  Have a good weekend everyone!! 

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