April 12, 2012 at 3:22 pm

Elle quickly tires of Hawaii


Elle Duncombe-Mills, Foreign Correspondent

Arriving in Athens, I realized that cities like New York were ridiculously easy to navigate.  Luxuries like straight, numbered streets, alas, do not extend to the capital of Greece. Instead, the roads are labyrinthine, and the street names are not only in a foreign language, but a foreign alphabet as well. Really the only way to get one’s bearings is to spot the Acropolis, which, luckily, is easily done. This cluster of 5th century B.C. temples was in fact built on a massive rise of rock above the rest of the city. At night, it’s even easier to see with lights bathing its every surface.  Eager to experience the history in person, I headed up immediately – only to find it closed. I’d forgotten about Greece’s current political climate, and that for months strikes and marches had been erupting throughout the country.  As it happened, the worker’s union was holding a rally in front of the Parthenon that very morning! So a day later came my awe for the beauty of the sacred site. The temples were massive, and their high perch provided an equally stunning view of Athens.

After what felt like a never-ending ferry ride, I finally arrived, cold and exhausted, in Santorini. Approaching from the water, the island looked like a half-moon-shaped ring of steep cliffs, all sprinkled with super-white snow. Closer up, I could see that the “snow” was in fact whole villages of white, cave-like dwellings. A bus to Oia took me to cliff’s edge village filled with bright sunlight and load-bearing donkeys.  The locals say that it’s not the same during the summer, when hoards of tourists come to stay, and the streets are filled with bustle and noise.

Right now, however, it’s barely spring. The streets are quiet, the wind is newly warm, and red poppies blanket the vast fields behind the villages. Its perfect, pleasant and picturesque, and I don’t want to leave.  As I’m going to Italy next, however, I’ll manage.

Correspondence by Elle Duncombe-Mills (former GSA student  and Procrastinator)

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