Oct 3, 2013

Star-gazing in Greece

The most beautiful archaeological site ever, situated on Mount Parnassus, where we posed for pictures at the ruins of the temple of Apollo and sang random songs to test the acoustics at the ancient theatre. We spotted tiny tunnel entrances and made our way through them like archaeological explorers, watching out for cobwebs and protruding rocks from the ceiling, just to see where they would take us. (My thighs are still aching from all that duck-walk.)

Yet another Epicurean-style big lavish dinner, with jugs of wine and lots of good feta cheese and salad, at a homely-looking restaurant called Bacchus. Unfortunately we only had one night in this lovely town, so we decided to walk around in the hope of chancing upon a spot suitable for star-gazing.

The twelve of us climbed steps and wove through residential neighbourhoods, trying to escape the streetlamps. Halfway through our little adventure a couple of the guys decided to go and try to make friends with the German tourists instead. We passed houses and hilly roads, finally turning left into what seemed like a park, walking a distance in until it was dark enough, and lay down.

We tried to keep silent.

An almost-inaudible whisper: “What does the fox say?”

We burst into laughter, got annoyed, tried to shut up; someone else would make a funny remark, and we’d burst into laughter again.

“Okay, guys, let’s keep one minute of silence.”

Not a sound, apart from the two cricket-like insects on either side of our path trying to communicate. I stared into the night sky – I wouldn’t call it ‘black’ with all the stars punctuating this canvas.

Thirty seconds later we heard an approaching zoom. “OMYGOD CAR GUYS!” In a flash, the spot where ten teenagers lay was empty (save for a couple of bags); we were all huddled at the side in terror…as the car calmly passed us by.

“WALAO GUYS SERIOUSLY!” “I SWEAR IT WAS COMING THIS WAY!” “SHOOTING STAR!” “Are you sure it wasn’t just your imagination?” “I saw a star move!” “OMG ANOTHER SHOOTING STAR! OKAY THAT WAS A SHOOTING STAR.” We all shuffled back into position and kept our eyes peeled for shooting stars.

It was cold. We shared bags for pillows and huddled.

This would seem like the kind of magical Friendship Forever moment, or a sentimental poetic lapidary-inspiring moment, but all I was focused on was spotting shooting stars. And how Teck Yuke’s bottle was sticking out of his bag and hurting my neck. I apologise for the unromantic reality.

Today, back in Athens, the girls and Eugene chanced upon A For Athens on our way back to the hotel and decided to take the lift up to the rooftop bar to check it out. The view was beautiful – pale-coloured shops and houses sloping up towards the Acropolis and Parthenon – so we ordered two bottles of wine (that came with a whole bunch of free snacks, too; how I love the laid-back generosity here) and braved the chilly wind to share our little life stories that were shouted over the music and punctuated with high-pitched laughter, sympathetic awws and toasts.

The view from the bar. Credits: flickr.com/photos/strangelover (I haven’t uploaded my photos today)

When we were done we realized there was an indoor “lower deck” to this bar. We stepped in and were greeted by a weird guy who stretched out both his arms, gesturing for a big hug. We all simply edged past him; it was quite hilarious, really, leaving him all awkward and outstretched – clueless Asian tourists, he must’ve been thinking. The other guy at the end of the pathway was trying to get us to dance, so we shuffled around for a bit, with a couple of twirls and grooves. Everyone else was just sitting at their tables and trying not to look like they were staring. Weirdass Asian tourists. After ten seconds we were like okay what on earth are we doing people are staring and these guys are weird let’s just go. The first guy was now behind us, his arms outstretched to form a barrier, refusing to let us go, while bobbing along to the music. We laughed at first, and then Sylvia pushed Eugene towards the man as a distraction; Eugene gave him a hug while the rest of us scurried away. Back in the lift we were laughing ourselves insane and trying to comprehend the weirdness of the past two minutes.

Two nights, two completely different atmospheres; a special kind of bond.


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