Astonishing Athens

It was 1st December 17:30. The end of long day. My day began in Manchester at 4:30AM and now I was heading into my third city within a day. I felt so exhausted by the schedule I had set myself. I contemplated whether I had pushed myself too much this time. I was on the edge of exhaustion. I could feel myself sinking into a sense of madness or frenzy. I did not know which it could be.

My time in Warsaw was wonderful but my body needed to rest, so on my flight to Athens I decided to sleep. As I awoke, I could feel the plane in turbulence and it was a terrifying moment. I could hear people scream in panic and fear. It made my heart skip a beat and I thought for a moment that I would not land in Athens at all. I could feel my body tense up uncontrollably in fear but my mind was telling me to breathe deeply. I closed my eyes and all I could see was darkness and I felt so alone. Eventually after a few tense minutes, the plane was flying smoothly and the view of the city was extraordinary from the plane.

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I hopped onto a bus from the airport to the city centre and was surprised at how quiet it was. I arrived into the city centre in darkness. It was so tranquil and peaceful. There were hardly any cars or people but it was much warmer than Warsaw. All I wanted to do was find my hotel and sleep. As I walked through the mazy side streets I was relieved to have found my hotel for the night with hardly any battery left on my phone. A friendly elderly man showed me to my room on arrival. Oddly, I had a choice of three beds in my room to sleep in so I decided to push them altogether to give myself as much space as possible to rest.

The next morning, I awoke to the sensation of sunshine on my face. I felt so refreshed and revitalised by the powerful glow of the sun and the sight of glorious blue skies. I got dressed quickly and went to have breakfast. I had a bowl of muesli with yoghurt, fruit and juice. As I left the hotel, I was mesmerised by the gorgeous sunshine and a majestic looking fountain. I loved the peacefulness of this space and the warmth. It was 14 degrees and felt stunning.

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Directly opposite the fountain was another awe inspiring sight. It was Hadrian’s library. I felt so free and so at ease. I could not believe how my life had transformed in a few hours and how things were unfolding in front of my eyes. I felt spellbound by this land. I was fascinated by these magnificent structures and the history associated with them.

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I saw a sign for Acropolis and decided to make my way there. I found this to be a very popular tourist attraction and the walk towards it was quite long. I enjoyed walking through the streets in pursuit of this area and noticed how people were towards one another. The people were very cordial as they revelled in the beauty of this place. I felt so honoured to be here and so appreciative of this place.

As I arrived at Acropolis, I found this place to be truly astonishing and as the guide informed us of the history of each monument here, I felt so enchanted by this place. I found the views of the city to be so beautiful and I felt so content. My mind was still and  I loved this place. It reminded me so much of my time in Lisbon. I felt the same sensation of stillness in my mind and a quiet sense of confidence in myself. I felt a level of belief in my own convictions and was so glad that I was doing something so audacious yet so right in my heart. I wanted to follow my heart after so much time. I was grateful for the choices I had made and for the events which had transpired in my life as they led me to this splendid place.

As I left Acropolis, I walked through another park and noticed something else. I found the Coliseum where the first Olympics were held. As I gazed into this place longingly, I thought deeply about how it would have felt to have been in this magnificent arena and competing in such a landmark event. The sense of excitement, tension and competitiveness to be an Olympic champion. It was such an inspiring place with pictures of iconic athletes of yesteryear. I left feeling energised as I made my way to the metro station.

I grabbed a sandwich and hopped on the metro to the airport. I felt so intoxicated in happiness. The pace of travel was frantic and intense. It left me so little time to think, I had to follow my instincts and explore as much as I could within a certain time limit. I had less than 24 hours in each place and therefore I had no choice but to see what I could. I was surprised at how much I was enjoying seeing these cities in such short bursts of time and trying to sample a bit of a flavour of these places. I wanted to keep up my spirits and could not wait to land in Sofia and keep on going.

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