This post was originally from September 21 & 22nd, 2019
Saturday September 21
Touching down in a different country truly is surreal. I can’t help but be in awe of how you can be on one side of the world one day and the other just hours later. Not to mention in a tin can that flies through the sky!!! Our world is pretty mind blowing when you think about it.
As soon as I touched down in Athens I was picked up by a CCS staff member named Saif. The drive from the airport was about an hour to Chalkida. Although it was fairly straight I was lucky enough to to get motion sick yet again. I hate making bad first impressions but I think asking him to pull over instead of yakking in his vehicle was probably the better impression I could make at the time!!! We pulled off at the side of the highway so I could get a few breaths of fresh air. Eventually we got back on the road and soon enough we arrived at the apartment.
I was welcomed by two friendly girls who have already been here for 6 weeks. One is from Mexico and the other California. Both are babies at just 18 & 19 years old. The apartment is really nice. Clean and spacious with a lovely balcony. Yes, I’ll be sharing a room with 3 others and yes there is only one shower, but I think I can easily suck it up for a few weeks.
We waited for Lucy to arrive a few hours later and once she did the girls showed us the way into the main town. It’s about a 20 minute walk through twisty roads so good luck to us finding that again!!! The waterfront is really pretty with cafes and restaurants overlooking the ocean. This is where the original hotel is located. In all honesty it’s a way better location but the apartment itself is probably a better option long term as it’s more like a home.
Chalkida is on the island of Evia and is home to the phenomenon of the changing tide currents (which is literally the only place in the world where this happens). The sea currents in the Evripos Channel (the narrow strait of water separating Chalkida from mainland Greece) flow in a northerly direction for 6 hours. At this time there is a period of approximately 8 minutes where the water lays still. After this, the waters change their orientation, reversing direction and flow southerly for another 6 hours. Cool eh!
Sunday September 22
Sunday Lucy and I got to be a tourist for the day. We caught a train that took us into Athens. From there we switched lines and made our way to the Acropolis. The Parthenon is situated high on a hill so you can look up and see it from pretty much anywhere. At night they light it up so it’s really quite stunning. The area below the Parthenon is called the Plaka with restaurants and shops to serve all the tourists. We made our way to the top where we got a great panoramic view of Athens. From there we had lunch – falafel with tzaziki and Greek salad. It was delicious. We then tested our directional skills and hopped on a train to get to a different part of the city called Psiri. Here it had a more bohemian vibe with cafes, street art and traditional music coming from every direction. It really was the perfect place to sit back and enjoy the afternoon while people watching. At this point my jet lag really started to hit me and all I wanted to do was to get back to the apartment and close my eyes. Unfortunately we had a few trains and ‘layovers’ to get through before making our way back to Chalkida. I literally fell asleep outside on a metal chair while waiting for our train. Good thing Lucy had my back.
This is Psiri…
It was a pretty fantastic day I’d say. I had to pinch myself a few times to remind myself that this is real and I really am in Greece! Tomorrow will be a new adventure where we start working in the camp.