Why rest when you can travel?
Together Again in Paris
Saturday I flew to Paris! I met up with my friend, Madeline, and we visited every top tourist attraction in Paris including: the Eiffel tower, the Louvre, Shakespeare and Company bookstore, Notre Dam, a boat tour, the Arc de Triomphe, Sacre-Coeur and the catacombs!
I promise if I had more time, I'd detail how wonderful each sight was, but for now you'll just have to enjoy a few of the photos I took.
Words Can't Even Compare
Paris was incredible! I’ve always been somewhat baffled with people who are obsessed with all things Paris, but the city was wonderful. The architecture was gorgeous and the history of such an old city was very apparent when we visited different tourist sites.
The best part of Paris was visiting with my friend, Madeline. She’s studying abroad in France, so she had visited Paris before, which worked out perfectly because she already knew the metro system! It was also great to see her again after several months apart.
My favorite part of our adventure in Paris was the Louvre. I loved the Greek section as well as section containing French home decorations. I also saw the Mona Lisa as well as a gallery of other beautiful paintings.
They say you could spend years in the Louvre and still never see everything, and after spending only a couple of hours and barely covering a fraction of the museum, I would whole-heartedly agree!
My second favorite part of Paris was when the Eiffel Tower sparkled. I actually didn’t know it did that before I went, so it was an astonishing sight.
We visited the Tour Eiffel on both our first night and our last night. It was amazing from the first moment I laid eyes on it to the last moment.
I will likely not update my blog for a couple of weeks as my spring break starts Thursday.
Madeline and I will fly to Athens tomorrow and visit the top tourist attractions there (I look forward to acting as her tour guide and showing off my knowledge of Ancient Greece!) Friday, Jordan will join us and the three of us plan to spend the day trekking around Athens.
Friday night, Madeline and I will part ways and Jordan and I will make our way to Dublin. We are spending several days in Dublin before flying to Amsterdam, Prague, Bucharest (home of Dracula!!) and then back to Greece to spend our second week of spring break on the islands of Santorini and Mykonos.
If you think this sounds like a lot, that’s because it is. I’m probably going to pass out for an entire week after I return because I doubt we’ll get much sleep while adventuring around Europe!
To follow my adventures, check out my Twitter and Instagram pages.
Don't fret the past and don't stress the future.
Weekdays in Thessaloniki
Living and going to school in Greece is very different from the experiences I’ve had at college in America. First of all, I usually walk to class in Ames. However, in Thessaloniki I take the school shuttle to school every day.
I board the school shuttle just after 10 a.m. to be in classes every day at 11 a.m. Our apartment building is over an hour walk away from the school and across several highways. Meaning, on the way home, I’m depended on public transportation.
Like most things in Greece, the public bus doesn’t have the greatest organizational system. Nevertheless, it does the trick and takes me home every day after classes.
As for classes themselves: I have a much different outlook on my course work in Thessaloniki. While I strive to always do my best, in the back of my mind I’m continuously reminded that the grades I receive in Greece won’t transfer to Iowa State.
Therefore, I’m able to relax much more and enjoy my classes, rather than stressing over the actual grade I’m going to receive come June.
History: My favorite class is Ancient Greek History. I love history and I love Ancient Greece. I also love the professor for the class as she makes each lesson seem like story time covering fascinating subjects.
A group project that included dried peaches, anchovies, fresh goat cheese, olives, honey, homemade milk pie and, of course, wine.
Communications: My communications class involves a lot of discussions between the teacher and other students. I occasionally offer my opinion, but often prefer to sit back and listen as the discussion flows.
Greek 101: My photography class was canceled, so instead I opted to take Greek 101. I took Spanish in college … and then re-took Spanish in college so I’m not really sure why I thought it was a good idea to take a language course, but I did.
Greek is an entirely different ball game from English or Spanish, but I love being able to do something as simple as order an orange juice from the café entirely in Greek. Overall, the class is one of the most difficult I’ve ever taken, but I don’t think my experience abroad would have been the same had I not at least tried to learn the local language.
Sea Sailing: My hardest class is sea sailing. Being from Nebraska, I saw a once in a lifetime opportunity to learn how to sail while in Greece. However, learning to sail isn’t easy, and the sailing class is not blow off course. It involves studying, memorization and a lot of effort. But Monday night, when I finally sailed the boat for the first time (after two months of classes), I remembered why I’m putting myself through the frustration sailing causes me. Feeling the wind in my hair and the evening sun on my face as I skippered the boat was something I wouldn't have missed for the world.
All of my classes teach me something new every day, and for that I am thankful.
My weekends vary in pace and activities. This past weekend we took a school trip to the cities of Ioannina and Kalambaka.
In Ioannina we visited the Perama cave and the Castle before driving to spend the night in Kalambaka.
Sunday we spent the day visiting two monasteries nestled in a rock formation called Meteora (meaning ‘suspended in air’). It was incredibly beautiful and astounding to imagine the monasteries before steps for the tourists were carved up the sides of the mountains.
It also gave me a new appreciation for a different sect of Christianity and the practices of the Greek Orthodox faith.
Half Way Home
I was updating my wall calendar when I realized that I have been in Greece for over two months. It was then that I realized that my experience abroad will eventually end. And it will probably feel sooner than later.
I will have to return home: to work, to an internship, to classes, to family life, to moving into my first apartment and other stresses that college students face in daily life.
However, I know that when the time comes, I will be prepared to conquer the world once more, or should I say re-conquering a world I was once very familiar with, after my semester abroad.
My name is Hunter and this the blog of my worldwide adventures. The purpose of this blog is to show that you can be a traveler, not just a tourist.