joi, 31 iulie 2014

Greece: where culture meets modernism

22nd of July. Our bags were all packed and we were ready to go on an adventure. At around 2 p.m we left home to get the bus which took us to Timisoara. Watching my mom with tears in her eyes, we left slowly. Now, in Timisoara we changed the bus, and this one took us straight to Paralia, Greece. We made ourselves comfortable, well, as comfortable as it can get in a bus with 40 other people you don't know. We stopped every 2.5 hours for 20-30 minutes.


Now, the ride was looooooong and booooring. Honestly, it took us around 18 hours to get there. We traveled through Serbia and Bulgaria. Many of the people we traveled with have been going to Greece for the past 5-6 years. It's a known fact that Romanians travel a lot to Greece because it's not only cheap but also very close to Romania and soo beautiful. Anyway, they said that we got lucky that we weren't traveling through Macedonia because you have to stay for hours and hours at their borderlines.

So, after 18 long hours we finally got there. As if 18 hours wasn't enough, we had to wait for another 2, maybe 3 hours to check in. We decided to go to Lidl to buy some food because we cooked breakfast the whole week to save some money. Lidl was a 5 minutes walk away so that was a relief. With 11 euros we got enough food for the next 4-5 days for 2 persons. 10 minutes after we got back we could finally check in. The room was nice, it wasn't anything fancy but it was nice and comfortable. Well, it wasn't really a room, it was more like an apartment but whatever.

Then it started to rain. Fuck! Our guide told us that it's the first time in 12 years when it rains in Greece in July. Well, maybe she tells this every time when it rains in July,  haha. However, later that day, the rain stopped and we had 8 sunny days. Also, later that day we went out to check the surroundings, we paid for the optional trips and got dinner. I ate my first gyros and it wasn't really a success. Not that id wasn't good but I didn't know what ingredients it contains and also didn't ask, so the guy put onions and mustard in the gyros. I genuinely have onions so I barely ate half of the gyros and left the rest there.

The first of our optional trips was Meteora. Now, for those who don't know, Meteora is well-known for its 6 monasteries and majestic surroundings. It is said that Meteora is one of the 3 holy places on earth. There is Jerusalem, Mount Athos and Meteora. How cool is it that 2 of the 3 holy places in the world are in Greece, where the pagan mythology is so rich? Well, one thing I can tell you for sure: Greece is a magical place. 

So, in Meteora we visited 2 monasteries and one on our way to Meteora. We visited St. Paraskevi monastery, St. Stephen monastery and the Great Meteor monastery. Every each of them being stunning. Although I think I lost serious weight while we tried to reach the Great Meteor monastery, it was worthy.

It is said that if you wash your face with this water, you'll meet your soul mate. I like to think that I met mine but yeah, like I said, Greece is full of legends, mythology and magic. 

Our next trip was all the way to Edessa. Edessa is well known for its waterfalls. Also, on our way to Edessa we traveled through a village (I can't remember its name) which is well known for its storks. You could see at least 3 storks on every roof. Besides the waterfalls, we went to this outdoor thermal water pool. It was sooooo amazing! You could literally see the mountain at 100 meters from the pool. That place genuinely describes the line between a natural and a modern picture. 

Now, there were 2 pools. One of them was very modern and fancy, that's where we decided to stay. The other one was small and over-crowded but really, it was more beautiful. A waterfall was literally falling into the pool (so I guess the water was cold) and the people who owe the place somehow combined that water with thermal water. I don't know how, but it was majestic. Anyway, like I said, we decided to stay on the other pool. Also, there was this little river where you could also stay but the water was so cold that we could only stay for a very few minutes. It is said that the water from there (both from the river and the pools) react as a cure for many diseases. 

Greek halva. Delicious!!

We got back from Edessa at around 6 p.m, talked with our parents on Skype, as we finally got Internet access and while Cristi played Monster Legends on facebook, I got to do my make-up. At 8.30 p.m we left to the third trip, which wasn't really a trip as much as it was a night out. So this fancy hotel hosted the Greek night. Traditional food, traditional dances, party and lots of fun. Well, for most of all, of course. For Cristi and I it felt like a Romanian wedding, haha. One thing I realized while in Greece, is that many of our traditions are taken from them. 

We came back to the villa at midnight. The night was young and we decided to go for a midnight swim so we went to the seaside. There were many groups of people on the beach so I personally, was a little scared to leave my bag there and go swim but eventually I left the fear behind and had a great time. We got back to the villa at around 2 a.m and fell asleep in seconds after we closed our eyes. 

As there is too much to say, I can't put the whole trip in one post, so stick around for the rest of our trip in the next few days :)