Thursday, September 10, 2009

no ouzo please

This week has honestly flown by. I can't believe I am one class away from the weekend, although extremely thrilled about it.

Monday was my roommate Emily's 21st birthday. However, the Greeks didn't quite understand why we were making such a big deal about it. In honor of her birthday we went "all out" at a restaurant a couple blocks from our apartment in Kolonaki. We decided that it would be a great idea for everyone to have ouzo (not the greatest idea). Our waiter, who was from Bulgaria taught us how to properly drink ouzo. It is served to you in a tall glass (basically a water glass), along with ice cubes and a pitcher of water. When you are ready to drink, you place an ice cube and some water in the class. This dilutes the ouzo (which is very very necessary for drink-ability), and turns it from clear to a cloudy watery color. Then you "sip" it. For those of you who don't know, ouzo is basically licorice firewater, seriously. It is "the drink" of Greece and everyday I wonder whose idea that was. Anywho, the food at the restaurant, called Kolonaki restaurant, had amazing food. I got avocado salad with vinaigrette as a starter, veal with tomato sauce (a traditional greek dish) for my main, and an apple tart with ice cream for desert. yyumm.

Tuesday started bright and early. In order to beat the tourist/school children traffic, my archaeology of athens class starts at 8:30 (meaning you have to meet somewhere on sight around 8). For our first on-site class (only the day of the midterm is held in the classroom), we climbed Philopappou Hill, one of the highest hills in Athens, and one with the greatest view. However, because I live in Kolonaki, I had to take the metro to class. Let me tell you...the metro here is incredible. It makes the DC metro look pathetic. First of all, the metro is spotless, totally spotless. It is also pretty simply and therefore not hectic. Most importantly, the metro is basically a museum. In the metro you will walk by famous statues, vases, and artifacts. It's crazy.
The class itself was an experience. Once on top of the hill you can see the entire topography of Athens (which was the subject of the class). Also, the weather completely changes, it got very very cold on top of that hill.
After classes on Tuesday, we had an intro-meeting for the Greek cooking classes. I am so excited. We learn to cook three-four course meals, including soups. The class starts at seven and ends at ten (because we cook, wait, then eat!). We also learn how to pick wines to go with particular Greek foods. The class is every other week or so, therefore we have about 5-6 lessons. Can't wait.

Last night made me realize why I want to live in/near a big city. As I was walking back to my apartment after class, my roommate and I stumbled upon a symphony warming up in a beautiful courtyard. We walked into the courtyard assuming it was a paid performance. However once we got the the entrance we were greeted with programs, and took a seat towards the front. The program unfortunately was only in Greek but we could tell that the concert started at nine (was 8:30 at the time). We grabbed a quick snack and then waited for the concert to start. It was wonderful, and lasted about two hours. Recap: free symphony in a beautiful courtyard in Athens for free, and by simply stumbling upon it. Not bad :)

For my archaeology class we went to the National Archaeology Museum, which I highly recommend to anyone who comes to Athens. I basically felt as if I was walking through my art history 69 textbook. Highlights were the dipylon painter vase and the bronze statue of Poseidon/ Zeus that was found in a shipwreck.

*This weekend, aka leaving at 6 am tomorrow morning, I will be in Santorini! Check out where we are staying: I cannot wait, it is supposed to be unbelievably beautiful. And last night I made the spontaneous decision, and booked a ticket to Istanbul for the first weekend of October!!!!! far I'm doing pretty well on my goals. Got two major trip goals coming up: Santorini and ISTANBUL! Also, I am currently being pared up with a local family to become a babysitter/tutor for the children. Cooking class (and recipes for you) are currently under way. The only one that I'm working on is gym (they are extremely expensive here to shopping around). However walking over two miles at least each day and eating well is definitely helping me a lot until then.

Also, if you would like to send letters/packages (hint hint parents) to me, my address in Athens is:
Erin Malone-Smolla
DIKEMES/College Year In Athens
5 Plateia Stadiou
GR-116 35 Athens, Greece

Keep me updated on life everyone. I miss you.

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