30 Sep | Adam Goldberg | No Comments
We went to Santorini this weekend.
When the boat arrives at Santorini, and you’re standing in the cargo bay waiting to disembark, all you can see is this gigantic rock wall stretching upward from the port. We had to take a bus all the way up the massive cliff to get to the city. It was really a fascinating island. All the streets in the town where we stayed were small corridors, spider-webbing into each other and moving up and down steep hills paved with stones. For the most part the first day, we stayed in, went swimming or exploring.
The second day, we had a choice of what to do: we could go on a boat to the active volcano and take a hike around the rocks or we could walk from one town to the other, older town on the other side of the mountain. I wanted to take pictures, and though the volcano sounded fun, but as far as photographic opportunities, I thought I would have more options if I went on the walk across the island.
All told, the walk was about 7 miles, give or take a mile, and took us about 2.5-3 hours. It was excellent, and I really felt like I got to see the whole island. Once on the other side of the island, we stopped to walk around, and get some food. The town we were in, Oia, was absolutely gorgeous, and we were able to watch the sun set from our restaurant. Oia is pretty much built onto the side of the island cliff and looks more Greek than most everything else I’ve seen thus far.
We also got to do other fun things, such as taking cable cars (more like suspended gondolas) down the cliff face, and riding donkeys back up.
I guess that seems about it for Santorini. It was really fun to see, but it made me miss Paros too, which is starting to feel more and more like home. It’s good to be back!
Classes are moving along very well, and I’m getting into the rhythm of photography again, developing my rolls and printing my pictures – I love it. Creative writing class is excellent as well. In our last class, we all divided up into pairs and wrote poems which we will discuss next class.
That pretty much wraps it up – just another week in paradise.
22 Sep | Adam Goldberg | No Comments
I suppose the key event to report would be the trip to Delos and Myconos. There have been high winds recently, so the trip was postponed until this Thursday, with classes being moved to Saturday (today). Everyone, or, almost everyone had been out quite late the night before carousing and carrying on, and, as such, were all quite tired on the morning of the trip, myself included.
We caught the bus to Naousa at 8:45 or so, which took us through the beautiful countryside. Then we met some ducks. They were nice.
The ferry boat left at about 9:30 and we arrived at Delos an hour later.
Delos, for those unfamiliar, is a largely uninhabited island where a very large city once stood. We spent the next 3 or 4 hours wandering the ruins and climbing a mountain, which, after an hour of sleep, no food, and half a bottle of water, proved much more difficult than I had originally planned.
After not passing out, and not getting sunstroke, I reached the summit and it was glorious.
The ruins as a whole were extremely impressive. The city is just huge, and when you climb the mountain you can see from one end of the island to the other.
We then left Delos and moved on to Mykonos, which is a largely inhabited island where a very large city stands.
It is gorgeous there, and I wish I could have spent more time, but we only had a few hours. We went through little Venice, though, I’m not quite sure why it’s called that. It looks somewhat Venetian and its right by the water, but everything here strikes me as overwhelmingly Greek that I couldn’t quite justify the name. A friend and I found a nice little pizza place that wasn’t too pricey and had a nice meal. We spent the rest of the day on the beach and then headed back to the boat.
I slept the whole way back though the boat itself was swelteringly hot.
Classes are picking up now, and I seem to be getting sick. I suppose I could offer some brilliant insights about the trip or the ruins, but I’m at a loss. I’m not much of a wordsmith and my pictures have proven to be a poor substitute for experience. I’m going to try to get some sleep tonight so I can live to see another day of enjoying this island.
As always, your humble guide
16 Sep | Adam Goldberg | No Comments
It hasn’t quite been a week since last I wrote, but here goes anyway.
Classes have been cool… not really much to say about classes yet except that overall I’m pretty excited about them. I mean… I’m definitely not really looking forward to class tomorrow, but that’s only because of the fact that this place is so awesome. It’s more like, once I get to class, I’ll be excited because tomorrow is my philosophy class. Going to class is never pleasant, but once I’m there I’ll enjoy myself. Wow, that was convoluted.
Anyway, what I’m excited about is the fact that the impression that I got was that this philosophy class is going to be very personal and self-oriented and that’s why I like philosophy. I took a philosophy survey course once and it was alright except that you have to learn about certain philosophies that aren’t particularly important to you. While this is valuable, I find that personally, it’s more valuable to look at the whole thing self-reflexively, and if the teachings of a certain philosopher would help me, then I’ll study them further. I guess that’s the opposite of convention huh.
I went to a movie tonight. Rush hour III… awful, just God-awful, but it was so much fun to go to a movie here in Paros. The theater was open air, and they were playing 1950’s surf music before the show. Also, they sell beer at the theater, and it’s also nice to be in a movie theater and not be surrounded constantly with advertisements.
Every part of this island seems to be just flat out amazing. I went down to this church built into the side of a cliff, it was just gorgeous. Also, we walked halfway across the island (it seemed) to get to this beach restaurant and we pretty much spent the whole day there just hanging out, talking and chillin’ on the beach.
I was supposed to go with the group this morning on a 4-5 hour hike across the island somewhere (because the trip to Delos got cancelled on account of the wind) but I couldn’t go. Some people came to my room as I was going to sleep and we just talked and hung out until about 9 in the morning, that coupled with the fact that I hadn’t eaten but one meal that day pretty much made my decision not to go. I kind of wish I would have gone because it sounded amazing, but I got some good sleep and had a crazy fun night just talking with people, which is one of my favorite pastimes anyway. Seriously though, I would have been dead if I had gone. I’m not terribly worried about it, though, because there’s plenty of time and plenty of experiences to have, and I had a fun and relaxing day nevertheless.
What else, what else…
I don’t know, just the fact that this place is cool for so many reasons.
1: all the cabs are Mercedes’.
2: I went to a bar one night, and as we were walking home, we went to another bar at about 3:30 in the morning, bought some water, and the guy at the bar gave us a round of shots for free… that’s so weird!
Speaking of cabs, I took a cab ride, and on the way, the driver pulled over to talk to some people. When we got back to where we were going, my friend asked him how much for the ride, and he replied, “Oh I don’t know, 4 euro, 5 euro, whatever.” The best part is that when my friend handed him a 5 euro note, the guy GAVE HIM CHANGE. Come on now, just take a moment to think about that.
Well, until next time, much love,
12 Sep | Adam Goldberg | No Comments
Paros Island… I was speculating when I arrived here that the people who named this island must not have been very good spellers because they misspelled “paradise.”
That about sums it up I guess.
I arrived in Athens on Saturday and took the train to the Acropolis stop. When I got off, to my pleasant surprise, the hostel was extremely easy to find, and exactly where everyone said it would be. The staff was extremely helpful when I was checking in, and never stopped smiling. “Take off your pack, you’re home” she said, this was after her eyes pretty much lit up when I mentioned I was on the HISA trip. That of course would not be the last time I got that reaction from people after they found out what program I was on.
The hostel was amazing, I’d never stayed in a hostel before, and I get the feeling that Backpackers is probably the cleanest, best run hostel on the face of the earth. The rooftop bar is excellent as well.
It didn’t take me long to meet the other people on the program who, again to my extremely pleasant surprise, are all ultra-chill. Every single person is so friendly and cool and laid back and they all put up with my outlandish sense of humor. Within an hour of being in the hostel, I met someone, one of the 3 or 4 other guys on the trip and we went out to lunch. We both come from completely different worlds, but we manage to get along famously. As a matter of fact, we’re now neighbors on the island.
In short, in the two days I stayed in the hostel, I got to meet people that it feels like I’ve known for forever, and have crazy fun times wandering the streets of Athens. The minutia of cultural differences fascinates me to no end, but I wont ramble on about all that here as it would be poor substitute for seeing it for ones self.
After a short while, we awoke at 5:30 in the morning to catch cabs to the port for our ferry ride to Paros. We slept and joked on the boat and took lots of pictures of the stunningly azure water.
We also named an island “Steve.”
We got to Paros.
It is exactly everything that everyone (school/program staff, former students, anyone) says about it and more. Sounds strange to say, but in the words of LeVar Burton: “Don’t take my word for it.”
Living here in Paros is like living inside a painting or a postcard of some kind. Everyone is so unbelievably nice to everyone else that it kind of makes one wonder what the hell went wrong with the rest of the world.
Classes started today, but I only have class Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday, so I was free all day (today being Wednesday) to go grocery shopping, visit a bakery, and buy more cigarettes, walking through town a total of 4 times and seeing everyone that I’ve known from the trip, and all the locals that I recognize after only 2 days.
A man on the street tried to sell me (or give me, I wasn’t sure) a pamphlet, and after telling him in Greek that I don’t speak Greek, we joked for a minute and had a very friendly exchange. It was unreal. Every story I hear from every other participant follows much the same formula. A friend on the program had a similar experience just walking to class this morning, but his was far more hilarious than mine. (I’m going to leave you wondering on that one, since it’s not really my story to tell).
I’ll leave you all now with this thought for the day:
I am horribly sunburned.