Goodbye Greece!

Just landed at Newark Airport and can’t believe the trip is over. It is going to be so weird waking up tomorrow morning and not saying Kalimera (Good Morning) to everyone I see. In such a short time I feel like I have adapted to life in Greece. I could stay here forever!

Our last few days in Greece were amazing. We soaked up the sun in Patras at the Achaia Beach Hotel (Regal Palms 2.0) on Tuesday  and Wednesday. On Wednesday (Day 9) evening most of the team competed at a local meet in Patras held at one of the soccer venues for the 2004 Olympic Venue. I didn’t compete because the longest event contested was a 1500m and I wasn’t quite up to speed for that. The meet was fun to watch and the stadium was awesome. Afterwards we took part in the international tradition of swapping jerseys post-competition. Although I did not compete I came home with shirts from two local clubs in exchange for Princeton gear. After the meet we enjoyed dining outdoors at a local tavern in Patras.

On Thursday (Day 10) we packed up and left the Achaia Beach Hotel to head for the train station where we boarded a small train that took us to the mountain top village of Kalavrita (elevation 3330 ft.). The train ride was scenic and featured breathtaking views of the countryside. In Kalavrita, we ate at a local tavern and strolled around the city before departing for the Amalia Hotel Athens. Returning to our hotel proved tricky once again because of protests and riots in the street. The Amalia Hotel is in the central square facing Parliament so access is often affected by demonstrations. This time it was a police strike that had left the road closed. After finally arriving at the hotel we dashed to the plaka before dinner for some last minute gifts. Our farewell dinner was on the rooftop of the hotel and was the perfect way to end what has been and awesome trip. Dinner was followed by rooftop dancing featuring a mix of traditional Greek songs and European techno mixes. After dinner we roamed the city for hours, stopping for some Greek frozen yogurt (highly recommended) and a climb to the top of a cliff where we sat for hours talking and taking in the sights and sounds of the city for the last time. Before returning to the hotel we stopped at a 24/7 kiosk for a caffeine boost. Back at the hotel we returned to the rooftop to watch the sunrise (see above). Afterwards, a couple of us laced up and went for one last jaunt around the city before grabbing breakfast and getting on the bus to go to the airport. Goodbye Greece! Hopefully I will see you again someday!

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