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I Don’t Speak Greek

I Don’t Speak Greek

My recommendation for everyone: take a completely spontaneous trip at least once in your life. That’s what I did last weekend. If you’ve never heard of Thessaloniki, Greece, don’t worry. I hadn’t either until Ryan Air offered me an unbelievable price on a flight there. So, after looking around on the internet for a little bit, I discovered that it was actually a worthwhile place to visit. All within an hour, I had booked both my flight and hostel.

That was about a month ago. Last weekend, I was finally able to print out my tickets and hope on a plane. Due to the impromptu nature of the trip and the fact that I really like to chill out by myself, I went all on my own. And it was seriously one of the most amazing experiences of my life.

I have never felt such a sense of complete freedom. There was literally nothing holding me back from doing whatever I wanted and I could do anything at any time. Some people asked me if I was scared or nervous, but I was more excited than anything. I like to get out on my own and there is nothing like going to a foreign country by yourself. In Rome, I have my friends at the JFRC, but I was on my own in Greece.

When I first got off the plane, I only thought: “Oh. I’m in Greece.” It wasn’t until I rode the bus into the city and made it up to the hill by my hostel did I think: “Oh! I’m in Greece!” The view was completely gorgeous and I can honestly say that I have never seen anything like it. The skies were slightly overcast, but I wasn’t bothered at all. I was in Greece. It definitely took awhile for that to sink in. Later in the afternoon, when I was walking around, I was honestly grinning from ear to ear about the fact that I was in fact, in Greece. I probably looked like a fool, but it’s good to look like a fool every once in awhile.

The weekend was full of taking in sights and culture. Luckily, there are signs in English or else I would have been completely lost. I realized as I was on the plane that I literally knew no Greek at all. Problem? Perhaps. Did I care? Not at all. I have perfected the “I’m sorry, but I really have NO idea what you’re saying” look. When it came to ordering food, I generally just pointed at what other people had and managed to get something of a similar nature. It was amusing and sometimes challenging, but I learned so much.

This is my “I’m in Greece!” face.

Thessaloniki is a city of amazing culture and history. It’s not Athens, but that’s completely all right. There are absolutely beautiful Byzantine churches that litter the city. It’s impossible to go for more than a few blocks without seeing one. I went inside every church I saw and was rewarded by beautiful paintings and architecture each time. Just like Rome, ruins are all over the city, only adding to its timelessness. Thessaloniki has its own unique history, which I also discovered when I visited several museums in the area. (Best part: I had free entrance to them! For once, it pays to be a student.)

Thessaloniki’s Famous White Tower

Speaking of which, prices of everything were just amazing! I was under-budget for the weekend, which was unexpected but oh so very nice. Sadly, the terrible Greek economy was obvious, but it was a tad bit convenient for a college student on a budget.

The Rotunda in Thessaloniki

Honestly, I could go on forever about Greece. It was an unexpected weekend, but one of the very best. I will always remember my time there and what a wonderful experience it was. I have a little advice to leave you with: Don’t be afraid of going somewhere alone. You never know what you might find and what you will learn about yourself.

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