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BLOG 6

By Hospitality in Greece

At this point in the trip, we had visited so many museums that they all started to blend together. The National Archaeological Museum, while impressive, it was not as impressing as I hoped. After we finished walking through the museum, we had some free time. I was craving some pizza but no one else wanted to join me. I decided to go by myself to satisfy my craving. I found a little pizza shop just five minutes away from the hotel. The service was great, which was pretty rare to find in Athens, making the experience all the more enjoyable. After lunch, I met up with the group again to visit the Wyndham Hotel. The hotel was stunning—very nice and modern. At the end of our tour, we were treated to some delicious lemonade. On our final day, we visited the Panathenaic Stadium, which turned out to be one of my favorite excursions. We all know that Greece is the birthplace of the Olympics, but being able to see and experience the stadium in person was truly unique. We followed an audio tour that transported us back to ancient Olympic times. It was incredibly fun and interesting to imagine the excitement and energy of the ancient games. With the rest of the day free until our farewell dinner, my group and I decided to visit a natural lake about 40 minutes away from Athens. The views were absolutely unreal. The lake had little fish that nibbled on the dead skin on your feet, providing an unexpected and ticklish spa experience. While I didn’t spend too much time in the water because of the tickling fish, we had a few drinks and lunch there, enjoying the peaceful atmosphere. Back at the hotel, I started packing up the things I was no longer going to use, preparing for our departure. At the farewell dinner, I sat with the friends I had made during the trip. We became close in such a short amount of time, making the farewell dinner a bittersweet occasion. I was sad to be leaving but also excited to return home. After dinner we walked around Plaka soaking up our last few moments in Greece. We ended up stopping by McDonald’s for a late-night snack before heading back to the hotel to rest up for our long travel days ahead.

BLOG 5

By Hospitality in Greece

The day I had most been looking forward to, our visit to Aegina. I’ve always loved the beach, and Greece is famous for its stunning beaches. The anticipation of exploring Aegina and relaxing on its beautiful beaches had me filled with excitement. As soon as we docked at the port, we jumped straight into a scavenger hunt. It was a fun way to start our day, though we did struggle a bit to find some of the locations. Thankfully, the locals were incredibly friendly and helpful, pointing us in the right direction whenever we asked for directions. After checking off all the items on our scavenger hunt list, we headed straight to the beach. On our way to the beach, we noticed an advertisement near the port for a short ferry ride to a nearby island called Moni. We were intrigued so we walked over to inquire for more information. The ferry operator described Moni as a small island with a beautiful beach, with lounge chairs, umbrellas, and a bar with music. It sounded perfect! We eagerly paid the 12 euros for the ferry ride. The ferry ride to Moni was a brief 20 minutes. As soon as we stepped off the boat, we were greeted by the sight of the most beautiful turquoise water I’ve ever seen. We quickly rented beach chairs and umbrellas, bought ourselves some drinks, and settled in by the beach. The water was crystal clear and incredibly refreshing, it was the ideal spot for much-needed relaxation. Around 4 PM, we boarded the ferry back to Aegina. With some time to spare before our ferry back to Athens, we decided to explore a bit more of Aegina. We found an ice cream shop near the port. I had the best ice cream I’ve tasted in all of Greece. Aegina had surpassed all my expectations. The combination of the scavenger hunt, the surprise discovery of Moni Island, and the delicious ice cream made it one of my favorite memories on the trip.

BLOG 4

By Hospitality in Greece

So far, I have really been enjoying my time in Athens. We have visited several places and tried a bunch of new food. One of my favorite experiences was the wine tasting. We went to a winery a little outside of Athens. We toured the property and learned how their wines are made. It was fascinating to see the process of winemaking, from grape harvesting to bottling. We then sampled three different wines: a white, a rosé, and a red. The white wine was very smooth, quickly becoming my favorite. The red however, was not to my liking. Despite this, I decided to purchase the red wine for my father and the white wine for my sister. I thought they’d appreciate a little taste of Greece. Later that day, we visited a dairy farm. The owners were incredibly welcoming, greeting us with an array of their cheese products to sample. Each cheese was delicious, showcasing the rich flavors of Greek dairy. The tour of their lab was equally intriguing. We learned about the cheesemaking process and the history of the farm. It was a delightful experience. A few days later, our group toured the Athens Central Market. There were many local vendors. Each section dedicated to different types of food. I was not a fan of the smell in the fish section but it was very cool seeing all their fresh catches on display. While the market was fascinating, it was also a bit overwhelming, which made it my least favorite tour. However, I do think it is valuable to go beyond the ancient ruins and historical sites and also dive into the local culture through its food and markets. Reflecting on my time in Athens so far, I’m grateful for the diverse experiences. From touring historical sites to tasting local wines and cheeses, each day has brought something new and exciting.

BLOG 3

By Hospitality in Greece

It is my first official day in Athens, I am beyond excited to see and explore the city. Today’s itinerary includes the Acropolis and the new Acropolis Museum. I have been eagerly anticipating visiting the Acropolis. The Acropolis is what Athens is best known for, and I couldn’t wait to experience it firsthand. I woke up bright and early ready for the day. After getting ready, I prepared my bag for the day, making sure to pack my reusable water bottle. Greece is notorious for being extremely hot, so staying hydrated is crucial. Once I was set, I headed down for breakfast. Knowing it would be a long day with plenty of walking, I made sure to have a good breakfast. We gathered downstairs with our tour guide, Katerina. She explained the activities for the day. She then guided us to the metro station and up to the entrance of the Acropolis. There, we met another tour guide who would lead us to the top, all while sharing the rich history of this iconic site. The climb was a bit intense under the scorching sun, but the views and the historical insights made it all worthwhile. The walk down was much easier, though my feet were hurting—in that moment I wish I had worn more comfortable shoes. After we reached the bottom of the Acropolis, we walked about 25 minutes to a restaurant for lunch. By then, I was starving. As a picky eater, I was a bit skeptical about trying new foods, but I decided to go for the beef souvlaki. It turned out to be delicious, and I was glad I tried it. Post-lunch, we made our way to the Acropolis Museum. The museum was stunning, with its modern design and vast collection of ancient artifacts and sculptures.

The following day we went on a day trip to the nearby city of Delphi. As soon as the bus dropped us off, we were greeted with the most breathtaking view of the mountains. We took a moment to admire the scenery before exploring the charming town. It was the classic picturesque Greek town. I instantly fell in love with its quaint streets and calm atmosphere. We joined our group and started our tour of the Temple of Apollo. Learning about the history of Delphi was fascinating. The ancient ruins and the stories behind them were very intriguing to learn about. The combination of stunning natural beauty and rich history made Delphi a truly beautiful place.

BLOG 2

By Hospitality in Greece

As mentioned in my previous blog, this is my first time traveling by myself. I was filled with excitement and nerves as I made my way to the airport. There, I met with a few other students going on the study abroad program with me. We were all on the same flight to Athens. It was very comforting to know that I was not completely alone. Our flight from Miami to Istanbul went well. They served three meals on the plane. I watched a few movies and played games on my phone, because I was unable to sleep. When we arrived in Istanbul is where things got interesting. After we landed, we checked for our connecting flight but there was no gate number assigned yet. We took the opportunity to freshen up, grab some food, and then check back. When the gate number finally appeared, we set off to find it. We had no idea how HUGE the airport was. It took us a solid 30 minutes to get to our gate, only to find it empty. We asked a nearby airline employee about our flight and due to the language barrier he signaled with his hands that our flight had left. I immediately began to panic. We rushed over to the nearest customer service desk, hoping to be put on the next flight out. Instead, the customer service representative explained that in order to be put on the next flight out we would have to pay the penalty fee of 1450 euros, plus an additional 600 euros to keep our return flight home. After a lot of back-and-forth with the airline and several phone calls, we decided to book a new flight with another airline. I was in such a hurry that I ended up booking the wrong flight that was departing in less than an hour. At this point I was on the verge of tears due to the frustration and stress I was under. Thankfully, one of the students I was traveling with managed to help me book the correct flight, but with an additional fee. Finally, after what felt like the worst travel experience ever, we landed in Athens in the early evening. Since our day was not going bad enough, the Uber refused to take all four of us because our luggage wouldn’t fit. We then had to order and wait for another Uber. By the time we got to the hotel, I was beyond exhausted. Jet lagged and drained from the day’s chaos, I could barely keep my eyes open. We dropped off our luggage at the hotel and headed straight to dinner to join the rest of the study abroad group. Though I hadn’t really ate throughout the day, I had no appetite. The stress and exhaustion killed any desire to eat. After dinner, we went straight back to the hotel, took a quick shower, and fell asleep. Despite having a rocky start to the trip, I am very excited to see and experience Athens.

BLOG 1

By Hospitality in Greece

As I prepare for my upcoming study abroad trip I am overwhelmed with emotions. The days leading up to the trip I have been feeling a mix of both nerves and excitement. I am not sure what to expect considering I have never been to Greece nor been on a study abroad program. I feel nervous since it is my first time traveling by myself. Traveling alone for the first time can be scary and it has made me very anxious. I have always travelled with my family and have found comfort in doing so. I am also excited to go on this adventure and see how I handle everything on my own and experience this personal growth. I am hoping to meet new people and make friends on this trip. One of the best parts of traveling is the people you meet and the connections you make. Though I am nervous, I am also very excited about visiting Athens. I am looking forward to seeing the Acropolis, exploring ancient ruins, and experiencing greek culture. Athens is very rich in history so I can’t wait to see and learn more about this amazing city. I am most excited about touring the Acropolis because of its views of the city and its symbol of Athens’ long history. I also hope to learn about Greek culture and broaden my view of the world. Preparing for this trip has been an adventure as well. I started packing a few days early to make sure I didn’t forget anything. I went through the packing list multiple times, checking off the items I needed to be sure I was all set. I do have a bad habit of overpacking. My suitcase is full of clothes, definitely more than what I need for my time abroad. I know I could have packed lighter, but I always worry about being unprepared. Since I made sure that I packed everything I needed I don’t think I forgot anything. I know I will end up shopping in Greece, so I wish I had left some space for that. Whenever, I go to Europe I enjoy shopping at Zara and local boutiques. I will definitely be buying some souvenirs to bring back to my family and friends. My overpacked luggage will probably be a problem when it’s time to come back home. I do not have any travel plans before or after the study abroad program. To conclude, I know that this trip will be what I make of it. The experiences I’ll have, the people I’ll meet, and the memories I will create will shape this trip into an enriching experience. I am ready to explore, learn, and grow on this study abroad program.

Blog 6:

By Hospitality in Greece

National Archaeological Museum:

The National Archeological Museum was different from other museums, it had every part of the history of Greece, not only the history of when it was a great Mycenaean civilization, with buildings like the Parthenon, but it also had artifacts from the early history of Greece, also some artifacts from Egypt, and even a real skeleton, which was a first for any of the museums I went to. the place is enormous, I could only see the first floor and after we were leaving I realized almost no one from the group finished seeing everything from the place, some of the girls in the group left because they thought it was too much to see. It was amazing seeing that place, and it had anything you would want to see in a museum, from clothes to jewelry, armor, marble statues, bronze statues, ancient fishing lures, a chariot, paintings, vases, swords, and even a sarcophagus as well as a boat from Egypt. This was one of the best museums I’ve been to because of the amount you can see, but it was also overwhelming because it was a lot to see and too little time.

Museum of Greek Culture:

The Museum of Greek Culture was really fancy, it isn’t that big but it has three floors, and each one of the floors shows artifacts from the Bronze Age (floor 1) up to WWII (floor 3). As you went up in floors, the age of the history went up as well, so on the first floor you could see head and body sculptures, vases, and jewelry, with some Bibles and old Christian monuments. Still, the second floor had fully decorated rooms from Macedonian mansions, Greek costumes, and dresses. the first part of the third floor had a place dedicated to a movie called “Poor Things”, which showcases the designs of the costumes used in Victorian times, but this movie was not set in Greece. The second part of the third floor showed more costumes from before and after the Greek Revolution. It was a nice museum but not the best I’ve been to on the trip.

Panathenaic Stadium:

This was the best museum on the trip. At first, I thought it wasn’t a museum, but after getting there they gave us a radio walkie-talkie that explained each part of the Olympic stadium. It starts with number one and ends with twelve, so each number you touch on the walkie-talkie talks about a different part of the stadium, and the best number in my opinion was 9 because it talked to you as if you were a competitor from that ancient time, an immersive experience, giving details about how they would feel going inside the tunnel and going outside as if you were from that time in history. It was really nice. I loved this because it was really interesting for me and I’ve always liked Olympic sports. Most of my life I’ve done them since I was a kid in Argentina, that’s why this was my favorite place.

Our Farewell Dinner:

The farewell dinner was sad, Katherina, the tour guide for the whole trip was the sweetest person that I met, she was always full of energy, willing to talk, and always looked proud to be talking about her country, Greece, to people like myself, which we basically know very little about, because of her I could visit and learn about many places and I could see things that I would have probably never done myself. When dinner ended we all gave her a tip of 100 dollars total and she started crying, that made me think deeply about this, and now that I think about it, she is super passionate about her job, being able to travel through the country she loves and giving groups of people that are not from Greece knowledge and information of the beauty of the places. Honestly, I’m a little jealous because many of us don’t get to find what we want to do with our lives after a long time, or maybe never, I mean I haven’t even found what I like to do yet. Saying goodbye to the group wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be, we had fun and it ended with fun, but I feel like I’m gonna miss being there because it was an amazing experience with lots of new things, which I know I’ll want to do again (maybe in another country). This trip was everything I hoped for, and it exceeded my expectations.

Blog 5:

By Hospitality in Greece

FREE DAY IN AEGINA:

Once we arrived on the island of Aegina by boat, Me and Kyara decided to go enjoy the place by ourselves to make it more personal and romantic. But first, we had to do a scavenger hunt on the island. We had to go to the places written in a list from WhatsApp and take a picture of ourselves with the place as a background. After completing the tasks given by Dodge and Dawn and after learning about the history of the buildings, which most of them were sort of ruins, we started to walk through the small town near the port, and after going through small stores, and buying a refreshment from a kiosk, we reached a hill with a beautiful panorama of the place and the view of a beautiful beach, so we decided to go there shortly after. We arrived and got to relax in the beautiful water, the beach was near the port, similar to the one Kane and Dale stayed at, but it looked less tourist and had fewer people. Something amazing about this place was how crystal clear and shallow the water on the beach was. It was amazing, You could go as far from shore as you wanted to and you could still be touching the ground, and the ground was only sand, it looked deserted, and for me, that’s a plus because it’s scary to see the fish and other moving things near me. The water temperature was weird but refreshing nonetheless, if you went into deeper water you could feel it colder, but the water near the shore was a mix between hot and slightly cold. 

The food from Aegina was amazing at first and then not so amazing, let me explain why. Basically, at first me and Kyara went to an ice cream and bakery shop near the port that had the most amazing pistachio butter crepes I’ve tried, but after some time of being on the beach and walking a lot we got hungry again so we decided to go to a restaurant were they had a variety of sea foods and pasta. At first, everything seemed great about the service, but after someone came to take our order he seemed impatient and looked at us angrily, we thought nothing of it because we just wanted to eat. I ordered octopus and she ordered pasta with shrimp, and after our food got to us, Kyara’s seemed good, it was a big plate of pasta with tomato sauce, and it had whole shrimp, but they were overcooked or not fresh because it was really dry and had a weird taste, and my octopus was burnt and squishy, and also didn’t taste fresh. We were disappointed but we didn’t say anything because we were hungry and we didn’t want to wait any longer. Near the end of the day, we went to the beach near the port. I went to the water, and Kyara took a nap there for at least an hour. At the end of the day, we went to a store and Kyara bought a Turkish towel after that we got crepes, I got the pistachio butter with chocolate and she got the one with chocolate and pieces of hazelnut, before heading back to the meeting point to go back to Athens.

Blog 6 – final sites

By Hospitality in Greece

National Archaeological Museum 

The National Archaeological Museum was pretty interesting. it was full of statues and artifacts of Greek history. it was a verity of marble statues form Greek gods to Greek architecture. there was an audio tour available but me and my roommate decided to walk through at our own pace again.

Museum of Greek Culture

The museum of Greek culture was a smaller mean that the ones we had been to previously but it was still really cool. It had tons of artifacts from Greece’s history. it had a verity of items ranging from clothing exhibits, pottery and a little bit of what looked like Christianity.

Panathenaic Stadium

The Olympic stadium was massive, its crazy to think that it was once used for ancient sports. it is still used to this bay for music festivals and some sporting events. the stadium also had an audio tour which I decided to use this time it took me throughout the whole stadium and the Olympic touch museum. I didn’t know they saved all of  the touches in Athens. a the end of the tour I raced two of my classmates on the track in the stadium, it was a really close race. I think its safe it say that us three became Olympians that day.

Our Farewell Dinner

For Our final dinner it was really emotional. Our tour guide took us to a traditional Greek restaurant a little bit off the main area, it was delicious, the main course was moussaka, I devoured my whole plate. someone ended up not wanting their plate so they offered their swerving to me, I also devoured the entire thing. the moussaka was really good. towards the end of the dinner everyone put together a pot of money so we could tip out tour guide because she did amazing. I was tasked with giving her the money and when I gave her the money initially she refused but when she took it she gave me the biggest hug and tears of joy were shed. She took such good care of the group and was so happy that she got to tour us around.

Blog 5 – Aegina

By Hospitality in Greece

My time in Aegina

My time In Aegina wasn’t too crazy, when I got to the island me and my roommate immediately started doing the scavenger hunt just to get it out of the way. Me and my roommate unfortunately didn’t get all of the scavenger hunt items, I believe we missed two for them but we were still able to get most of them. the island itself is a small fishing island off the cost of the mainland that you have to take a ferry to get to. I spent most of my time on one of the beaches near the port, I’m not that big of a beach guy but I enjoyed my time at this beach. for lunch that day I had swordfish for the first time. The swordfish was pretty good but I would have to try it again to get a good read on whether or not its as good as everyone says it is.

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