Athens! and stuff (Paris below)

Posted on March 30th, 2009 @ 22:27 in Travel

Oh hai! Yeah so I said I would update after my return from Paris. I was gonna do a super-double-entry at first, but then figured that wouldn’t work too well because I need a separate Paris entry for my list’o’trips and all that. So I decided to go in reverse chronological order, which works out great cuz readers will read this one first anyway, and then those who want can read the Paris :x one too. Tho you should cuz Paris is amazing and I love it.

Right. Athens. That was last weekend. I mean, the weekend before last. The Flickr photos should give you an idea of what I saw and all that, so let me talk about my impressions. You may know I’d never been to Athens before, and not been to Greece since I was four, of which unsurprisingly I can’t remember a thing. I’d had mixed reviews before going – and tbh I was sorta apprehensive myself. I am not too fond of Greeks, esp. Greek men. My Athens trip did little to change that.

My first impression was: wow, this is like a third world country! Aspa collected me from the airport, we went to her flat to drop my stuff, then drove to the North coast for a late lunch. This involved lots of driving through suburbs and outskirts, which were utterly depressing and hideous throughout. Half-built (and then abandoned) developments amid frantic building of yet more developments, roads bordered by US-style road-side stores, stretches of nothingness in between; everything was so soulless and ugly it left me quite taken aback.

Aspa’s suburb too, I mean she lives in a really nice flat, very new, quite posh; but it’s utterly surreal, you get there by driving through an ugly third-world-style street (seriously, I don’t know how to describe it), then turning off into a tiny lane that is more potholes than road, then off into another lane even worse, but with private apartments on each side… then you click your remote, your gate opens, and you’re back home in your safe little haven of suburban development. It’s grotesque. It’s scary.

Um yeah. Next day we went into Athens proper and tho that’s largely ugly too, it also has very nice (if very touristy) bits, and I walked around for ages and took lots of pics, a selection of which you can see on Flickr. Then I met up with Elena and we went for dinner which was really lovely, we had a very pleasant catching-up chat that easily bridged the ten-year-gap where we hadn’t properly seen each other. Then Aspa met up with us and we went for a drink which was also fun, and then we went home and to bed.

Saturday we were to meet in town again but Aspa and I couldn’t get in cuz there was a demo so most of our metro stations were closed. We ended up finding another metro line (I could also say sth about traffic in Athens, but it gets a bit predictable! *lol* Seriously tho, I’d be scared to drive there and I’m a pretty aggressive driver), anyway we made it into town, but it was raining, so we really just went for a coffee, then to Elena’s place in the (posh) Southern suburbs.

I was very tired (and Aspa pretty ill) so we both ended up at Elena’s mum’s place and had a nap there. :P That night was Elena’s birthday get-together, combined with the Persian New Year (Elena’s mum’s Iranian). Which was a big family thing with some friends (really it was all family, plus Aspa and me as friends). I was the only non-Greek of course so it was a bit tense / boring at times. Still, it was very cute to see her family again, all of which (mum, dad, sister) I’d met when we were studying together.

Sunday we met at Elena’s flat again for a leftover-breakfast (Persian food very nice ja!), then drove along the coast to Sounio (see Flickr), then back through a most amazing thunderstorm, then spent some more time at Elena’s having girly chats, then it was time to drive to the airport.

Yeah. People-wise, this trip was pretty much as I’d expected. I loved spending time with my girls again (esp. Aspa, who’s got kind of a similar temperament to me in many ways), but I was also glad for some time away. The big family thing was pretty exhausting (well, mainly very boring), but also cutely moving (I was the “guest of honour”). Around mid-day Saturday I was sort of starting to look forward to the end – and yet when it was time to say goodbye at the airport I was very sad and made them promise to come see me this summer.

Some of the above feelings led to the Paris trip as described below. And yesterday evening when I was about to leave Paris and desperately holding on, I thought of that – how you can’t have it all. You can have a generally pleasant trip, which has its moments of “ok now I’d rather be somewhere else”, and which you’re happy enough to see the end of (which can be a good thing, since it has to end anyway). And you can have a trip so amazing and intense that you really don’t want it to end, even as you are hurting all over and can’t imagine walking (or cycling) another 200 meters.

I know which of the two I prefer though. :-) :x (did I mention I am going to Paris again in May?)

2 Comments

 
stagiaire said on Mar 31, 2009 at 09:56

You should moooooove to Paris. *lol*


 
 
Clarissa said on Mar 31, 2009 at 10:24

Nah, don’t wanna live there, not the same thing.


 

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