Sunday, September 22, 2013

jeremy in greece!

welcome reader, to the conclusion of my five country summer tour of europe!

the parthenon atop the acropolis
i've spent the last month immersed in the rich european cultures of england, france, spain, italy and now the ancient lands of greece.  i had eight days remaining on my trip when i touched down at the athens airport.  two of them were to be spent exploring the capital city athina, while the grand finale of my adventure was five days on ios, a small island off the coast of athens, about four hours by ferry. 

sunset seen from filapappou hill, just south of the acroplis
my first hosts in this incredibly beautiful city were avi and yiorgos.  two very kind people who ensured my time in greece was not only a jaw-dropping experience, but that each and every piece of my itinerary was stress-free.  with two full days to explore before falling off the earth on ios, my list was simple;  climb the acropolis and spend some time in the athinean sands.  if this seems like a short list, not to worry, as ultimately my list grew to include far more than this;  the parliament building at syntagma, the national gardens, monastiraki, filopappou hill, the panathinaic stadium, nightlife with a wonderful girl in gazi, the sands of kavouri, and yes, the acropolis and its ancient structure, the parthenon  :)

the unmistakable skyline of the acropolis, seen here at sunset from
filapappou hill 
east face of the parthenon
cityscape seen from the east end of the acropolis, lycabettus hill peaks
in the back right
panathinaic stadium, home to the first modern olympic games in 1896

panathinaic stadium, inside the 'hall of flames' where every
torch from each olympic games rests!  1984's torch from
the los angeles games seen above
tunnel that led athletes out into the stadium, a very moving experience
unforgettable memories in greece can all be credited to the hospitality of new friends and hosts who call athina their home...

(from left to right)  stathis, alexia, me, avi, yiorgos!

when my two days in athens had come to a close, the time had finally come to fall off the earth...i was on my way to the remoteness of greece's hidden gem of the aegean sea, ios (eee-ohs)...

standing atop the cliffs of agia theodoti, a beach on the east side of the island

since childhood i've envisioned the tranquility of a personal beach on a remote island far from the commonalities of modern civilization...somehow i knew that ios would offer me this experience.  i had been staring at the island on a map for months and the sight of the white cliffs, deep blue/green waters and the white, blue capped buildings was the ferry pulled into the tiny port, i prepared myself for the final adventure to be had. 

agia theodoti

the island is about 15 miles long by 6 miles wide, and somewhere along the rocky, cliffed coastline, was my beach, 'germy's beach' if you will, and i was determined to find it...

my room as i prep for another adventurous day on ios!

the tomb of the famed greek poet, homer.  author of works such as; the illiad
and the odyssey

hundreds of these stacked rock formations dotted the site of the tomb.
i decided to pay my own tribute as well!

my first sunset seen on ios.  i was about 30 minutes from my hotel on the
scoot back from manganari beach...i rode about 20 minutes in the dark...
totally worth it  :)

me and my airplane!

my trusty scooter was more like an airplane, as all the roads connecting the island soar high above sea-level with stunning views of the edges where water and land meet. 

after exploring the island in every direction, i hadn't found my beach...i found alot of great beaches, beaches with girls, beaches with food, beer, snorkeling ..but i hadn't found the one... i decided it was time to ask a local where i might have some luck finding a beach all for myself.  i kept hearing the same name;  "tris klisies", "tris klisies", "oh, yea, you should go to tris klisies for that!  on your way to manganari,  you'll see a cove, just over the hill on your left.  the area will be deserted, and you'll see one or two cars parked there for seemingly no reason...thats when you know you're at tris klisies!"

i followed my instructions and one daft punk, random access memories album later, i arrived at the top of the hill, just left of manganari beach...

tris klisies...surreal
this is the sight i was met with after peaking over the hidden side of the road.  it took twenty minutes to get down the face of the hill, and another thirty minutes of walking clockwise around the cove, until i found...

a lifetime hunt for my own personal beach ends in beauty
hidden away by rocks on either side, i had found my beach, and my tranquility.  it was one of the most beautiful places i had ever seen, the rocks glimmered in crystal clear waters, the air was clean, and the sky...the lifelong anticipation of one day sitting at this place froze me for an instant in time...I wondered if my feeling of accomplishment and completeness was something everyone gets to feel...

my final night on ios was spent on it's most popular beach, mylopotas

coming to terms with the mild depression associated with the final hours of exploring a new country doesn't ever seem to get any easier...the bags are packed, the itinerary, the local maps, metro passes and souvenirs are tucked away in zipped up pouches and pockets.  with the next destination on the horizon, emotions are teetering between sadness and excitement.  sadness that i don't know if i'll ever return to this place that i've just fallen in love with, and excitement for the adventures i'm destined to have in the next city...

well now the next city is home...los angeles, california, usa.  what will have changed since i've been away?  anything?  will it be as if i never left, will i see the world differently?

i wrote 56 pages in my journal over 26 days...the same amount of content recently took me 8 whole months to scribble down back home in los angeles...

i saw unbelievable sights and tacked endless miles onto my pf flyers.  i met people with enough hospitality and genuine kindness to humble me everyday for the rest of my life...and while ive just begun to uncover the many wonders of the earth and the cultures of civilization, i feel tremendously enlightened,  with a deeper sense of connection to all that surrounds me...

thank you to everyone who helped in making this adventure so fulfilling.  to new friends ive made along the way, to old friends who helped me plan my sightseeing in each city!  to the guests i've hosted who gave me the courage to travel alone, and to my hosts, kamila, christophe, dan, steve, avi, yiorgos and stathis;  the memories i've made will last me a lifetime, and they will always be times i can look back at with a smile...thank you for these gifts!

as summer comes to a close, im happy to say it has been the best of my life so far!  so until my next tour of who-knows-where (costa rica?)  i say to you, goodbye for now.  may these documentaries offer you inspiration to embark on your own adventure as well...

thanks for reading!

- j

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