When we arrived in Athens, we were exhausted. In London and Italy, we were in full tourist mode; the constant walking and exploring wiped us out, so our first few days in Athens were spent relaxing in our new apartment. We got settled in, set up our work stations, and gave the blisters on our feet some time to heal.

But we couldn’t wait to go out and explore some more. Our first outing was sort of a scouting mission.

 

The Acropolis was only three metro stops away from our apartment. It sits on a tall hill in the center of Athens.

On this first trip, we hiked about half-way up the hill to the Parthenon and other ancient ruins that you probably associate with Greece.

There was a lovely place along the hike where we were able to take in our first real views of the city. It was amazing to think of just how old this place was. What it must have looked like 2500 years ago. How devastating it must have been for the Athenians to see their temples and people ravaged by the Persian invaders. How triumphant it must have felt to finally beat them back and reclaim Greece as their own. This is the birthplace of modern democracy. Its ancient people changed the world.

It was an awesome, surreal feeling to walk there.

In the coming weeks, we started exploring some of the coastline outside of the city. The first little section of beach that we found (and would return to several times) was near the town of Glyfada.

The beach was quite rocky, and the breeze and the setting sun quickly brought a comfortable chill to the heat of the day.

Across the sea, the tall mountain peaks of the Peloponnese peninsula were definitely calling out to us. At this point in our travels, we’d had a few setbacks and we weren’t sure whether we’d be able to make it out there. I desperately wanted to explore them on a motorcycle. It should be no secret, by now, that we were eventually able to do just that.

In the moment, there on the beach, I was just eager to roll up my pant legs and walk my feet into the Aegean Sea. It was very cold, this time of year, which made it all that much more invigorating. I remembered thinking, “This is why I freelance.”

Allison inspected the beach for a collection of sea glass.

It was humbling to be there. We’d already worked so hard to make this happen, and had to overcome some real challenges. There on the beach, watching the sunset, we were keenly aware of how blessed we are with friends, talents, opportunity, and circumstance; and those things had helped us face down some adversity on our way here.

As I said in my previous post, Greece would have more of those difficult times for us. But even those most challenging episodes were punctuated with moments like these.

 


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