Athens: Naked Men and No Toilets

I went to Athens, Greece while studying abroad in the spring of 2014 and never edited the photos until now.

There are a lot of photos I never edit until much later.

If you have read any past posts of mine then you'll notice this trend. 

This trip to Greece was pretty cool. The food was amazing and cheap. I ate 10000 gyros. The sun was bright and beautiful. The beaches and history were mind blowing. I was also with amazing friends and that was lovely!

This trip consisted of a large group: Mariah, Paige, Morgan, Ben, Hugo, and me. We all traveled together a lot and Greece was one of our longer trips because us girls had a few extra days off from school. 

Things don't always go as planned while traveling.....

Like that one time that we walked what felt like miles in the heat to see a museum that Ben told us about only to find out that it was closing when we arrived. We roasted Ben and let him hear our frustrations. Poor Ben.

Or the time that we sat in front of Zeus's temple for a break and we all got a tan but Ben turned into a lobster. I also lost my watch there and although I loved that watch it was like a fateful gift to Zeus so at least it went to something cool.

On our first night this raggedy old dog saw us and adopted us so he followed us around everywhere we went. He followed us to a restaurant and sat outside for hours until we came back out. We parted ways with the dog that night. The next day, on a completely different part of town near the Parthenon, we ran into the same dog and he followed us around again. It was a great coincidence and pretty cute. 

Other parts of our adventures consisted of taking a ferry to a nearby island, Aegina, but since we took a trip in the springtime (not summer) almost everything on the island was closed....even the beaches.  As we were all living in a chilly and rainy England we were craving the Greek sun and beaches. However, there was also a mild cold front that day.  So basically we were on a small island that was shut down with almost no residents or people around and it was cold. The only part of town that was thriving was the center near the port which makes sense. We so badly wanted to lie in the sun so we sadly took a siesta near the beach....on concrete....and were slightly cold. It was not glamorous but we still had fun.

 We began walking as the day warmed up and found a view of the island that was beautiful. We climbed some rocks and looked out at the beautiful sea. Paige also dropped her phone in the sea so we walked at least 30 minutes looking for a store that would have rice. We put her phone in a bag of rice and kept walking.

We ran into 2 Germans who were doing the same thing we were doing.  They were barefoot, very nice, and one was a musician from what I remember. We walked with them for a while.

In the photos you'll see that we stumbled upon a closed down public swim park and we explored it. It had a creepy clown and dirty water. It was completely abandoned for the season.

By evening we all stood at the port as we awaited our ferry to pick us up.

On another day we visited Poseidon's Temple which was super windy but spectacular. We had an amazing view over the sea. The wind was so strong that I could barely see due to my hair being in my face. We used our scarves to help with our hair. The water was so incredibly blue. mind blown

We also got caught in the middle of a peaceful protest but quickly left the premises just in case. 

Our hostel was really amazing. It was at City Circus Hostel Athens. First, the kitchen was open all day. We ate our breakfasts there. Boiled eggs, greek yogurt....(ermagherd so good).....bread and butter, fruit, tea or coffee, and juice. Amazing.

Paige got a huge oil stain on her dress and the hostel dry cleaned it for her and removed the stain out like magic. Maybe Greece still has some kind of god and goddess magic in that water of theirs.

The coolest thing, though, was the rooftop of the hostel. The very first photographs below show this rooftop where we hung out during our leisure time. At night we would bundle up and climb to the top to hang out and look at the view. We had a direct and spectacular view of the Parthenon high above the city all gloriously lit up like a beautiful Queen proudly watching over Athens. It was quite a thing to see on our first night there.

On the last day in Greece the guys had to fly back home to work but us girls had an extra day to enjoy so we went to the beaches. Us girls had a grand time soaking up the sun. We ate Greek salads and hung out on beautiful rocks and sand. The water was green and blue and there were wildflowers everywhere. If you stay for this entire blog then you'll read a funny and personal story of mine from that day.  It's pretty funny and may be TMI so you have been warned. There may also be a few cuss words.

Ok Ok I promised you a funny story. It's about pee so if you aren't immature then you should probably say BYEEEE now.

So I have to pee all the time. It's really annoying. This is the premise of the story. 

Also, let me make a note of this: Peeing in Europe can be challenging if you are an American and used to having everything at anytime in a convenient manner.  Not only do most places not allow you to use their toilet but some are difficult to find, use, or pay for. Your standards of using a restroom definitely change while traveling abroad.

So, on the last day of Greece, us girls arrived at a beach around 9 in the morning. We had a night flight to catch so we spent our first half of the day relaxing in the sand. It was cold and no one was out. The restaurants nearby weren't open yet. We all huddled up together to keep each other warm and took a nap on the beach. When we woke up I had to pee really really bad. One of the girls told me to go to a slightly covered area next to the restaurant. It was a small dump site of broken beach umbrellas. It really wasn't covered. It was only one step better than a wide open beach. She had already done it because no one was around and nothing else was available. I mean...the ocean was available....but it was also freezing cold. In hindsight, I totally should have just gone in the ocean.

Well by the time I walked there to try and pee in the slightly (barely) covered area I noticed people started to walk around on the nearby street and a man was chilling by his car. The view was direct and close by.  I walked back to the girls knowing I missed my chance. There were too many people around. 

I told them, "we really need to find a place where I can pee so can we get up and walk somewhere?" We all agreed to find a restaurant or something. However, the restaurants were still closed and even though there were workers inside they didn't let me in to use the restroom. I was slightly aggravated but held on to hope.

And you know when you have to pee and you think you have the opportunity to go and it's like you have to pee even more because you know you're about to go? That's what happened to me at the restaurant. I thought it was open and I would use it so I was like, "YES FINALLY" and then I didn't get to go so my body was like "WTF WHY?!" 

There were no other restaurants but we scaled the beach down where it became rockier and more wild looking. That was good for me because it was more secluded with less visibility. We found an area that had some bushes so the girls suggested I go there. I was like "sure I'll just hop in these bushes" because I literally had to hope down into the bushes. It was a small jump off the sidewalk. I picked up my dress and jumped in. 

 

bad bad bad bad bad bad bad idea.

 

I literally jumped into thorny, sticky, sharp bushes. 

fireeeeeee.

fire on my ass. fire on my arms. fire on my legs. my skin was turning red with welps. It was like stinging nettle if you know what that is. 

I hopped out and said NOPE NOPE NOPE not peeing here! 

So we laughed it off with a sprinkle of sympathy and a dash of empathy and kept walking. One of the girls spotted a beach area covered by an escarpment which was perfect because I had a wall on one side and the beach on the other. No one was around. So I made my way down to this area and was about to pull my bathing suit down and saw a completely naked old man sitting nearby watching me.

Again, I was like NOPE NOPE NOPE not peeing here! So I skipped away from the naked man.

Now, naked men in Greece is no big deal. Pretty common. BUT I am so not about to pee in front of a naked man. No thank you.

We found another nearby location that was really beautiful and I said, "this is it. this is where I'm peeing. We can just stay here, too. Hold my dress. Hold my phone." I walked into the water, very quickly, and I kept walking because the water was super shallow and I needed enough water to cover me. I basically kept running further and further waiting for the water to get deeper. I finally stood on a rock to turn around and tell the girls that the water was so shallow and laughed. I then looked down and was like....

 

sea urchins. sea urchins everywhere. sea urchins on the rocks. sea urchins in my socks. sea urchins in my hair. sea urchins so BEWARE! 

No, but really. Sea urchins everywhere. Like seriously, by the Grace of the Good Lord, I did not step on one that entire time of running far out to the water. But the problem was like....how do I get back? And I still had to pee. So I did this:

"GUYS GUYS WHAT DO I DO. DO THEY HURT? WILL THEY KILL ME? HOW DANGEROUS IS THIS?! I STILL HAVE TO PEE! I CAN'T MOVE! I'LL GET STUNG!"

I truly had no clue what the consequences of stepping on a sea urchin was.

I kind of laughed a lot too because what else am I gonna do?!

I tiptoed back as carefully as I could to the beach. I did not get stung by one. To this day, I have no clue how I made it out unscathed. I am not exaggerating when I say the entire area was covered in these creepy, little things. 

I got back to the sand.

I said, "f*** it. I'm going right here on this beach. I don't care who sees"

And I did. And that's my pee story. 

Something kind of funny is I am researching sea urchins now to verify my story and just realized that I have recently been stung by one. I went surfing about a month ago and my foot was hurting really bad while I was in the water. It swelled up and was red all day. It hurt for the next two days as if someone was pocking my entire foot with needles and rubbing alcohol. It's been almost a month and the little black spot on my foot is just now starting to feel better. I came to the conclusion, just now, that this small injury was from a sea urchin! I am so so thankful I didn't step on a bunch that day in Greece. While reading about them a second ago I saw that they like to live in "shallow, rocky, sandy shorelines."

hahahhahahaha. I know. You don't have to tell me that, article, but thanks.

They can also cause "nausea, vomiting, muscle paralysis, low blood pressure and weakness" and if the spines are not removed from your body then you can develop "arthritis, bursitis, and tenosynovitis."

YIKES.

So I'm glad I'm okay.

HAHA I literally am finishing this blog post and saving it right now so I can go pee. Story of my life.