My first impression of Athens

View from our balcony

When I first arrived in Athens, it was both overwhelming and exciting. As I viewed the city from the height of the airplane, I was captivated by its beauty. The first thing I noticed was the lack of green—everything appeared either brown and sandy or concrete. The water, however, was a shocking light blue, which I knew I’d like to explore right way.

I got off the airplane and had issues immediately trying to communicate with the employees at the airport and the taxi drivers. However, it was exciting, not frightening, and I have yet to feel unsafe. I was eager to begin to understand their language.

Riding to our new apartment, I was shocked by the wreckless, fast driving of our driver and the other vehicles. I was also surprised by the large number of motorcycles. Being from a small town, I knew I would have to adjust to city life, but I felt eager to try.

The first night here, we went out to dinner together, and it was apparent that the food here s very different—but very delicious! I felt tired afterwards, but went out to explore the city anyways. There seemed to be so much to do and see, I couldn’t wait until morning. I discovered that the people here are very friendly, especially to foreigners, and patient with our lack of knowledge of their language.

Since I’ve been here, I’ve been doing a lot of exploring, walking around, and wandering. I feel like I already know the areas around our apartment well, and have been impressed by the overall cleanliness of Athens and again by the friendliness of the people here. Most are willing, and often even enthusiastic, about sharing their knowledge of the Greek culture and showing us around the city. The biggest adjustment for me has been the weather; it’s extremely hot here, and I find I tire easier in the humid air. My favorite place to relax has become the National Gardens, where the air is much cooler and fresher than the rest of the city and it’s easy to find a shady tree to sit under.

In general, the first week of the trip has been a very positive and learning experience for me. I enjoy the food, and it’s very inexpensive at the market, which is only a few blocks away from our apartment. One negative aspect is the coffee: it’s delicious, but too expensive. The weather is beautiful, the people are beautiful, and the sites are beautiful. I hope to continue exploring new areas and learning more Greek during my stay here. I can’t see a semester in Athens being anything but fun, educational, and eye-opening!

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