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The Art of Adapting - Athens Edition

Amanda Sztein
May 1, 2015
Ruins on Athens' Acropolis

On a three day trip to Greece, just about everything that could go wrong did - our trip to classical antiquity was marked with modern problems. Here are the three biggest problems and how we made the best of them:

1. Traveling to Athens on Easter weekend

A few weeks after booking our flights, we realized that Athens would be celebrating Easter during our entire stay. Furthermore, we read that many monuments, museums and shops would be closed and the city would be relatively empty as residents returned home to celebrate the holiday.

-Since the city was fairly empty, we visited the Acropolis early during the abbreviated Easter Monday hours. The friendly staff told us it was the emptiest day of the year and we were able to wander around the ancient buildings and linger over the city panoramas.


2. Cancelled and Delayed Flights

When we first saw that our flight was delayed by an hour, our stomachs dropped. We had seen other flights get cancelled that morning and when our gate still hadn’t been announced after three delays we checked for additional flight information on our phones. Seeing that our flight was cancelled, we decided to run, not walk, to the airline counter to get the best offered option. We ended up being rerouted through Madrid.

-During the 30 hour delay to Athens, we quickly made a close-knit group of friends with fellow weary travelers. As the youngest two passengers in the group, we immediately had seven surrogate parents to ensure we arrived safely. The Greek members of our group taught us a few key phrases, gave us restaurant recommendations and directions to our hotel. When we saw a few of our new friends in the Plaka neighborhood we immediately embraced. Extraordinary circumstances make for extraordinary friends!

3. Arriving 30 hours late

Since we had much less time than we had originally planned for, we went into triage mode. We could no longer go on our 3-island one day boat ride so we refocused on the city center.

-We were able to experience a lot of Athens in a short time – we spent time on the coastline, the bustling neighborhoods and ancient ruins.

Ultimately, we had a wonderful time in Athens and learned a bit about how to improvise. When we were in the airport, a man travelling whose 3 suitcases were in Bangkok instead of Rome gave us some advice that sums up the whole weekend: “sometimes life hands you a stinker and you have to turn it into gold.” 

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Amanda Sztein

<p>Amanda is a junior at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, majoring in Economics and Contemporary European Studies with a Philosophy, Politics and Economics minor. After graduation, she wishes to travel frequently while working with international trade and diplomacy. Her idea of a perfect day is enjoying an Orioles victory at Camden Yards followed by fresh crab cakes in Baltimore&#39;s Inner Harbor. She is excited to achieve Italian fluency,visit every Roman museum, find the perfect scoop of gelato and argue about soccer with locals at the neighborhood café.</p>

2015 Spring
Home University:
University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill
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