Prior to visiting Athens, my parents told me that I would be disappointed. “It’s dirty and crowded and touristy,” they told me. Both experienced travellers, I’m generally inclined to trust their knowledge. However on this occasion, the call of a famous city (and a cheap flight from Athens to Budapest) proved too much to resist.
Like anywhere though, it has its flaws but it also has its gems. These gems in Athens were, for me, not only places like the Acropolis, but the people I met along the way. Throughout my travels, not just this year but also in the past, I’ve found that the people make the place.
Those people could be locals or they could be fellow travellers, but that statement – one which I’ve heard repeated over and over – is so true. The hostel that I stayed at in Athens, which you can read about here, was great by itself. It was fantastic actually.
But in a lot of ways, I’m looking at that hostel through some rose tinted specs. I met so many amazing people who improved my trip in tiny ways. From hostel staff to waitresses and waitors to helpful locals and other tourists. Athens is a city which has the Acropolis, the Pantheon, numerous other artefacts and churches and a rich culture. Seeing these things in person are incredible, but one thing I found – particularly during my time in the Netherlands – is that it isn’t as enjoyable if you don’t have someone to share it with.
And so I’ll write about my time in Athens, but bear in mind that my time was bettered by the people I met and so I am a little biased.
I met a bunch of Americans (3 separate travelling groups) who made my trip what it was and for that I’m so grateful. Even though some of you will never see this, thank you to Kate, Jeff, Nicola, Andrew, Tanner and the countless other people I met on walking tours, sitting in the hostel lounge and the like for making my time in Athens fun, crazy and memorable.