Since we only have to be in the classroom for a few hours a day, there would be ample time to sit in the apartment or library. Instead, I use that time to actively be in Athens. Even when I have work to do, I go out to a café to complete it. The city is filled with artsy cafes, cool teahouses, and traditional tavernas to sit for hours with a cup of espresso.
Usually, I like to try new places every time. I figure there are too many awesome places to discover to go anywhere repeatedly. My main exception to this is Avocado. Avocado is a delicious, organic restaurant using local produce. They offer free meditation on Tuesdays and have a very cool vibe. Everything on the menu (and believe me, I’ve tried a lot of it) is yummy. I sit from noon until 5 pm working and snacking.
For the first few months, my friends and I diligently participated in a tradition of our own creation, “Cultural Wednesdays.” Every Wednesday night, we researched to find something “cultural.” We entrenched ourselves with Greek culture and found underground activities. When discussing our outings with a staff member, he was flabbergasted. Impressed with our success, he said that he would have to ask us for recommendations on Athens, rather than the other way around.
One week, we attended an outdoor movie theater with stunning views of the acropolis. Another time, we had a picnic in the Garden near a fountain. One of my favorite outings was to Mount Lycabettus. Looming in the not-so-distant distance, Mount Lycabettus is taller than the acropolis. At sunset, my friends and I brought takeout from Avocado and hiked the (very large, lots of vertical inclines) hill. The effort was worth it. From atop the small mountain, we could see all of Athens lay out before us. The view was spectacular as the sunset and the lights of Athens turned on.
Another unique experience came when we went to a photography exhibit. We were the only people there that were not locals. Late at night, the space also became a jazz bar. Greek conversation swirled around us as the band played. The music space had no roof, and stars helped to illuminate my friends’ faces. The music and drinks were impressive and we truly felt like we belonged among the natives that night.