I don’t know how many of you are familiar with the Erasmus program, but it basically is a University exchange program that allows you to travel to another country and study there for a semester or one year. I obviously love this idea, and thankfully so does my sister who took advantage of this chance and got to go to Greece about a year and a half ago.
I have to admit I was not too upset to pay her a visit and enjoy Athens either.
Before going, I heard a few bad reviews of the Greek capital. It was said to be ugly and not very interesting, dirty and overall disappointing, so my expectations were not particularly high.
And while all those things are actually true – I loved it.
The thing that makes a place is not always the buildings but the life and culture of that particular place. And while athens is not particularly beautiful, or photogenic for that matter, it is very much alive – there is a chilled vibe around the city and the relaxed mood catches on.
Of course I was staying with my sister, which meant she already was able to direct us to the best places, and give us directions of where to eat and what to do. But I am convinced that if I had high expectations I would have been unable to properly enjoy myself.
The best thing about everyone’s favourite places is usually the experience one is unable to communicate – the light a camera can’t catch and feeling you get walking down a street that you will never be able to explain.
My favourite places are also the worse pictures I get. Not that those photographs are bad, simply I always feel the images fall short from reality.
These places – the cites, countries, beaches or towns we remember more fondly, – all have a certain je ne sais quoi - something that makes you love it but not explain it.
Athens is the perfect example of that for me – It had everything to be a disappointment and yet it was everything but