Thursday, March 2, 2017

Solo

Last week I posted about my training experience in Greece, yet today I want to ramble on about the one day I had there to explore. Because honestly, a day going solo as a tourist in Athens totally sold me on the you should take the time to travel alone theory.

Cue the eye-roll, wow this is cute Kait, so you're an expert travel blogger now huh?

No, I'm realize I'm far from it.  I'm pretty sure getting my wallet stolen because I didn't fully close your purse while trying to hail a cab disqualifies me as a travel expert.

Yet we've all see those "10 places to travel to before you die" and "12 reasons why you should try traveling alone" type of click-bait articles.  This obviously isn't click bait, it's just something that I now believe in, that I never believed in until I actually tried it.


Athens was a very last minute trip - once I got into the training, we booked a somewhat central Air BnB and flights roughly two weeks out.  I did almost no planning, and it was Thursday night with a 6 AM flight the next morning when it occurred to me I had no idea what my plan was for my free day in Athens.

It also occurred to me I couldn't check into my Air BnB until 3 pm, and would be on the ground in Greece by 8 AM.  So it was a shove 3 days worth of apparel into a backpack type of packing, proclaiming to Andrew (he flew in Saturday morning) that we couldn't dine anywhere that required a nicer dress code than gym clothes (typically my preference regardless).

Anyways, my tentative and only plan upon landing was knowing that I had to see the Acropolis - it was the main attraction, and centralized high up in the middle city; I couldn't miss it.


And I have to say, when I stepped off the Metro into the middle of a crowded Athens square on Friday morning, it was a very liberating feeling.  Not like a - WOOHOO I'm gonna run wild because Andrew isn't here - type of feeling, but more of a, I can literally go wherever I want, and do whatever I want with this day.

So I wandered to Starbucks first, because those aren't located here in Israel.  From Starbucks I could visibly see the top of the Acropolis, and so I started meandering in that direction. I wound up weaving through crazy colorful alleys full of great looking restaurants, and so I eventually stopped at one of my choosing and had a delicious omelette.



I couldn't help but wonder what the table full of high school girls next to me thought, as I sat there alone with my backpack, wolfing down my food as they gazed upon me, chain smoking before school. But it was liberating because I also didn't care; I would never see them again.

I saw three main sites, the first being the Acropolis which is fairly large and took some time.  From the Acropolis I could see pretty much the entire city, and so I picked out other sites on the map that looked of interested to me.  Next it was the Temple of Olympian  Zeus, and then finally the Panathenaic Stadium, whose name I'm still unsure how to announce.

The stadium ended up being my favorite site, probably because of it's relation to sports.  There were plenty of other things I could have seen or done - Andrew spent both Saturday and Sunday exploring, and covered pretty much everything.  If there was one thing I would see if ever back, it would be the Olympic complex from the 2004 games, which is located further outside of the city.

Anyways. Solo Kait took plenty of time to take pictures, and just sit and gaze.  I peed (in toilets) as many times as I want to because apparently I have a small bladder which can be annoying when I'm traveling with others, I'm sure.  I sat in the stadium for probably longer than Andrew would have wanted to, and even grabbed a passerby for a random handstand pic on the track.

duh
I stopped at a cafe and ate cake for lunch, and shortly after got my wallet stolen.  But honestly, even with that occurrence, I fully enjoyed my 12 hours as a wanderer in Athens. I met and had to rely on some great people who advised (and helped) me.  And I think having to overcome some obstacles on my own only made me respect my adventure a little bit more, looking back.

In summary, I'm not saying I prefer to travel alone.  Andrew and I travel well together, and I don't enjoy being alone by nature.  However, it was a great learning experience that felt different than any other tourist experiences that I've had so far, and I'm simply recommending if you ever get the chance but you're hesitant because it sounds scary or whatever, give it a try.  Just a day - maybe you'll love it.

Cheers - 
Kait