It has been about three weeks since my last post and much has happened in that time. Needless to say this post will be three posts condensed into one; bear with me.
I arrived at my second farm in Greece on November 23rd, a gorgeous oasis known as Koroni in the southern Peloponnese. I stayed with two native Greeks, Kiki and Vasilis, in a modern apartment on a beach overlooking the Ionian Sea. The work commitment was very light compared to my other WWOOFing arrangements as I was only expected to work for about 4 hours a day. The rest of my days I spent going on long walks through the mountains, swimming in the Sea, and going on drives through the surrounding villages.
Kiki was an avid traveller, full of historical information pertinent to the area and was kind enough to take me on several day trips. One of our drives took us to many of the cities along the southern Coast of Greece including Finikounta, Methoni, and the popular city of Pilos. On these trips I witnessed some of the most beautiful sunsets of my entire life, several different castles, and a lagoon home to a flock of flamingoes. I celebrated my first Thanksgiving away from the U.S. with my hosts in a traditional Greek taverna, a very pleasurable experience. It was a very cozy little room heated by an open fireplace and the food, as is almost always the case in Greece, was exceptional.
The last day of my stay in Koroni my hosts took me to Ancient Messene, the ruins of a once great city a few kilometers north of present day Kalamata. Once serving as a guard post for the Athinians against the Spartans, Messene was a flourishing city for several hundred years. This was the first real ancient site I got the chance to visit in Greece and was certainly on par with the Acropolis and the ruins of Athens.
On December 7 I kissed Koroni goodbye and took a taxi to the fuming metropolis that is Athens. With half the population of Greece residing in this city, it was an overwhelming experience to come from the sleepy, quite costal villages of Messinia. While there, I stayed in a youth hostel located a stone’s throw away from the Acropolis, the Acropolis museum, and the temple of Zues, as well as some notable shopping areas and parks. This was my first experience staying in a hostel and I wish I would have done it more on this trip because It was a lot of fun. Though I had to put up with an obnoxious snorer, every one I met was extremely nice, interesting to talk to, and great to hang out with. I met several people from the U.S., Canada, Australia, and South America, and was not without good companions for sightseeing. I was blessed with beautiful weather for my stay in Athens and took full advantage of it. I took Saturday afternoon, a few hours after I arrived, to see the Acropolis Museum which was nothing short of incredible. It houses almost all of the original statues from the Acropolis and surrounding sites and many other artifacts including pottery, coins, and tools, found in the area. The museum itself was a work of art, using natural light to illuminate the exhibits in a way that I had never seen before, it was a feast for the eyes an a great lesson in history. The Acropolis itself was also very neat; though it looked more like a construction site than an ancient temple (due to ongoing renovations), it afforded an incredible panoramic view of Athens, the Corinthian gulf, and the Ionian sea. Athens, though not without beauty, become somewhat overwhelming after awhile and I was quite ready to leave it when Tuesday came around.
Tuesday I flew to into Oslo where I boarded a bus to Skien (pronounced Shey-en.) Norway could not be more different than Greece: it’s people, it’s infrastructure, it’s food, it’s landscape were the polar opposite of those that I grew accustomed to in Greece. The public transportation is incredibly easy to navigate, exceptionally efficient, and always on time, it is very clean here and everyone drives very safely. It was a welcome change. Norway also received a 6 inch snowfall on Sunday so everything is covered in a pristine blanket of snow making the already stunning landscape all the more beautiful. Truly it is breathtakingly beautiful here but it is also breathtakingly expensive (8 bucks for a hot dog! 30 for a burger!!) and I feel very lucky to be staying with relatives.
Soooo that is the last few weeks of my journey. More to come on Norway as we take some more day trips in the next few days.
Sendin’ my love from the Minnesota of Europe!