Our Fulbright Family has become, well, like family to us. We loved our time in Marburg, and we've loved our get togethers with those friends since. Most notably was our trip to Bulgaria over Thanksgiving as a group of six. That was some of the most fun I've ever had traveling. The others concurred, and suddenly we were looking for cheap flights from Berlin for after the conference had ended. We'd decided to go to a place we knew about, since we loved Bulgaria but wanted to also go to places that were higher up on our checklists. Athens somehow fit the bill for both cheap flights and places we wanted to travel. I visited the city in the summer of 2006 as a senior in high school, but that was a long time ago, and I was excited to see it with fresh eyes. We booked those tickets in January and flew out at the end of March the day the conference ended, so there were lots of excited texts flying back and forth over the last couple of months.
We flew from Berlin Schoenefeld airport, about an hour away from our hotel. The security line was really long, but super efficient and we got through quickly and had plenty of time to browse the duty-free section and grab snacks in the tiny terminal. Once we were airborne, Carson traded with Jaime so she could have his window seat and he could sit in her aisle, alone with a book. She and I talked about the trip to come before she conked out and I just leaned over her and enjoyed the view from the window.
Greece is an hour ahead of Germany, so it was already evening by the time we arrived. We took a bus from the airport to a stop near the hotel, and walked about 20 minutes until we got there. We rented an apartment on booking.com (Lak Nirvana's Homes) and it was astonishingly cheap - four nights in Athens for cheaper than three nights in Sofia, AND we got an entire apartment again. There was a balcony of Carson's and my room, and one off the living room and other bedroom as well. Across the street was a Lidl, where some of the group went off to buy supplies for the next day's breakfast.
For our first Greek meal, we stopped in a place right down the street from us and ordered gyros for 2 Euro apiece. They were so good, and we were surprised that on every gyro we had in Greece, there were fries inside! I only remember eating a gyro, not what was inside, so maybe it was this way in 2006 too - I don't know!
It was a short walk to the subway station, where we finished our meals and grabbed cheap drinks from a kiosk (50 cents for bottled water?!). We took the subway to the Monastiraki stop, where we got off to walk around and people watch in the busy tourist area.
We decided to grab a drink, and really wanted to enjoy them on a rooftop bar, but those were only open for dinner.
Instead, we found a spot with a view that was totally blocked by an umbrella, but was otherwise a nice place to sit, and chatted about our time in Berlin and what we were going to do and see in Athens (we'd meant to, but we never actually planned anything except the Acropolis for the next day).
We finished off our evening with a scoop of ice cream. Something we found funny in Athens was that most food was way cheaper than Germany (and it's pretty cheap in Germany), but the ice cream was twice the (ridiculously cheap) price.
We'd picked up some Baklava from a little shop in Plaka, and decided to use that as birthday cake to celebrate Jordyn's and my recent birthdays. We've kept the question mark candle from Marburg and used that (and the birthday napkins Jillian sent for my birthday) to really go all out! Lloyd and I struggled to get the candle to stay in the baklava, but thankfully it was pretty sticky and we made it work.
We'd already had a busy week, so we were really tired and went to bed shortly after the birthday celebrations. Our next few days were about to be even more exhausting!