Opportunities to travel abroad abound for students at Transylvania. Everyone on campus seems to have their own exhilarating story of zip-lining atop Panamanian tropical forests, cliff-diving in Italy, surmounting the Great Wall of China. Beyond mere scholastic value, experiences abroad allow for intimate encounters with cultures students would otherwise never come across. Which is all wonderful…albeit less wonderful when you, the recipient of these awesome anecdotes, have never, actually…you know…been out of the country. But that was before I spent a month in Greece, and now I have my very own “Most Interesting Man in the World”-esque stories of cross-continental merry making to add to the already robust canon of such tales.
Of course, I almost didn’t make it to Greece. Upon arriving to the Louisville airport- that is approximately two miles from my home- we discovered that my mothers passport had mysteriously replaced my own. After a total meltdown, my aunt came to the rescue and provided that golden ticket of identificationary documentation. 16 plus hours of travel time is not so bad when your non-refundable plane ticket almost becomes as valuable as a losing scratch off. If my interest and excitement been piqued beforehand, the adventuresome start made me that much more engaged. Upon landing in Athens, my group and I were thrust, quite literally, into a different world.
Similar to New York, the hub-bub of frantic daily business is tinged with an old world feel- a Footlocker displaying the newest array of Nike runners stands next to a dilapidated junk store- that sets a unique and thought-provoking ambiance. Staying in the Hotel Attalos, square in the heart of the city, my group of 28 were rapt, dumbfounded by the view; the Attalos has a completely unimpeded view of the ancient Parthenon, arguably the most famous and beautiful piece of architecture from ancient Greece. Mesmerizing and inspirational, the Parthenon, less ideally, represents a quizzical quandary for many Grecians and international observers alike, namely, how does a nation once resting atop the world’s totem pole, a nation that literally founded democracy, become the owner’s of the most impotent economy outside the developing world? Continue reading