Nothing to see at all ;-P there are many types of writing I love and satire is one of them. Greece gets a lot of press coverage and it certainly isn’t all favourable. No matter what issues the country may have in the eyes of Western media it is a beautiful, wonderful, unique place – and this post only covers the physical country! Just wait until I get started on the food and wonderful people!
A few weeks ago I was reading a lovely blog post at kaveyeats.com and it really struck a nerve in me.
The quote being discussed was by Vladimir Nabokov in in Mary, 1926.
Nostalgia in reverse, the longing for yet another strange land, grew especially strong in spring.
The author talks about that odd sensation you get when you know about a place from films, books, or traveller tales yet you don’t actually know the place at all. The ideas that build up around a destination are often inaccurate or out dated. This started me thinking.
In 1999 a movie came out called The Mummy. I was 8 years old and I fell in love. Absolutely everything about this film, I wanted. I wanted to be Evey, wanted her intelligence, her skills, wanted to be able to read hieroglyphs, wanted to go on an adventure with a rugged outsider. This film developed 90% of my attitude towards history and travel – it doesn’t matter if you’re a quiet bespectacled woman you can go to Egypt and be a kick arse scholar! It’s also set in 1926 (my favourite era) and she ends up happy, wealthy, and respected by her peers.
Thus, my idea of Egypt was formed. I want it to be romantic, and grand, and picturesque. I want sweeping sands, and star filled skies, enigmatic old Arabic men with sparkling eyes and draped women swishing past me in the bazaars.
I know that Cairo is modern, I know that it wont be like in the movies. I know that you can sit in a Pizza Hut and look at the Pyramids of Giza. If I could travel back in time to the late 1880’s and live out the next fifty years through the wars and development of the Egyptian state I would go through with it in an instant. But it isn’t Egypt’s purpose to be what I want it to be, I’m a world traveller not some kind of culture dictator. It’s my purpose to experience everything I can.
Well, I started thinking about this on KaveyEats, and that night I got really upset with myself. I say I’m an historian, I say I’m a traveller. But I have all these preconceived notions about what a country is or isn’t – and I haven’t even been there! I then got even more upset – what if I never get to visit Egypt? What if something happens and it becomes unsafe, or an earthquake swallows up Abu Simbel and it is just gone? What if I just keep saying ‘one day’ and never actually get off my fat, lazy, arse and go?
I was almost in tears.
So I made a decision. I am going to Egypt – this year. Within 48 hours I had booked myself on to a 22 day journey though Jordan and Egypt. I am going to my dream destination, a place I have been thinking about for nearly 20 years. So, I guess I’ll find out how the Egypt in my head matches up against the Egypt that is out there – and I cannot wait!
So it took me a while to narrow this down – I absolutely love Athens and think everything is essential! However, these are my three absolute MUST see things in Athens, Greece ❤
New Acropolis Museum
This is a wonderful place – it is an air-conditioned, beautifully planned, and exceptional example of Greek history on show. Yes there are other museums which cover more, but the sheer extent of the collection in the NAM and the knowledge you can gain from a visit there is worth a visit.
The statue gallery and the view from the top floor are worth the visit all on their own.
A sprawling gorgeousness in the centre of ancient Athens, this was the spot for all of the important things – politics, markets, worship. It sits under the acropolis, you can look up and see the fortifications built after the Persian Wars. The Agora houses some lovely inscriptions and two gorgeous buildings. The Stoa of Attalos was built in the Second Century BC, and reconstructed in the early 1950’s by the American School in Athens as faithfully as archaeology would allow. It is a beautiful building and fronts the Agora Museum. Also in the Agora is the Temple to Hephaestus, its amazing condition is thanks to its varied and continued use from its construction in 415 BC until 1934 when it stopped being a museum and became an archaeological site.
Psyrri is my favourite neighbourhood in Athens, you can find almost anything here. Amazing local restaurants? Yes. Cool stores? Yes. Cheap but good accommodation? Yes Actual local life? Yes. Plus – markets, street art, and an amazing atmosphere. You can spend hours wandering around this little area of Athens, if you stay here you can see it and have easy access to the rest of Athens.
Notice how I haven’t mentioned the biggest, most famous attraction? You know, that big temple thing on the big hill? The acropolis is incredible, I have lost count of how many times I have been up there. The acropolis and the Parthenon are on MY OWN PERSONAL absolute must do list, but I am not everyone. If you are not in Athens for a long time, don’t like the heat, have a problem with crowds (hello anxiety friends, you are not alone) or don’t have the physical ability to climb a big hill** – then you don’t need to go up to the acropolis. Obviously you get a more vivid experience of the place if you climb the steps, face up to the sheer size of the Parthenon, and see the incredible sprawl of Athens. But I believe that if you choose not to go, and go to the New Acropolis Museum instead you won’t have done the Parthenon – or yourself – a disservice.
The museum houses all the wonderful things found on the acropolis and they are displayed beautifully, with accompanying information as well as a kid’s challenge. There is a restaurant, which is the first place I had baked feta and for that alone I am grateful, from which you can look up at the Parthenon and wonder at the sight. The floor which showcases the Parthenon frieze (controversy in a different post perhaps) is laid out so you can follow the procession as you would walking around the Parthenon itself. For an ancient site other than the acropolis I suggest the Athenian Agora for a few reasons: it is shady – not everywhere but considerably more so than the acropolis, it is more accessible (more does not equal completely unfortunately), and it has some gorgeous ancient ruins.
This is my absolute must do in Athens, it may be different from yours – what would you say is an absolute necessity in this amazing city?
I have spent the last two years travelling and experiencing life, and now it comes time once again to share those experiences with anyone who wants to listen [read]!
Since I last posted I have been to:
UK – living here!!
Australia (does it count if you’re living somewhere and you visit home the way other people take yearly vacations?)
and coming up next – you guessed it – Greece!
So you can expect lots of post, pictures, and lists from these experiences – let me know if you think there is anything in particular I should address!
The view from a tiny 2 seater plane, flown by a 19 year old (help me)
This is the standard introduction piece – who I am, what I want, and why you should check back for my next post.
Who am I? My name is Sam, I am a 22 year old Australian girl. I am, in 2014, having a travelling/working year between my honours and masters degrees. I currently have red hair, but this is subject to change.
What do I want? I want to write about travel: my travel, your travel, travel concepts, travel photography, travel woes, travel lists… And I don’t want to just talk at you about travel, I want to use the experiences I have had to help out anyone looking for tips. In essence, I am huge travel nerd – I just want to create somewhere to talk about how awesome this planet is.
I will also be posting photographs of the amazing places I have been to, as well as the incredible food I eat – in essence, travel porn.
Exhibit A (places)
Exhibit B (food)
Why should you check back? Because if you’re the type of person who Googles travel writing, you’re the type of person who will want to know where I’ve been and where I’m going next! Who knows? I may have the perfect secret to travelling with just a carry on, (I seem to do ok). Or maybe I’m independently wealthy and will give out huge prizes to loyal readers? (I’m not, but I would if I was!) Or maybe you just think I sound funny and want something new to laugh at every few days.
I have had a healthy dose of both organised tours and independent travel, I will write on both ends of the spectrum as well as all the nitty gritty in between. I will write lists, I will write reviews, I will write opinion pieces, and I will write about things that interest the readers! (That’s you)
Please check back, and let me know what you think!