My friends and I had heard about Carnaval in Patras from our first few weeks in Greece, so we planned to go for the weekend of Clean Monday (March 3rd)! We knew very little about the weekend: we could compare it to Mardi Gras (which Hannah loves since she goes to Tulane), we had been told by many Greeks that this would be the craziest weekend of our lives, and we had been advised to get costumes. My friend Julia from Germany whom I met at Taft four years ago was coming to Greece to visit, so I told her to bring a costume. Luckily, she just HAPPENED to have a wig. Perfect. We all bought wigs at a party store in Pangrati to be properly prepared.
At the bus station on Friday, it seemed like the whole world was going to Patras! Patras is relatively big for the Peloponnese but small compared to Athens, so it was overloaded with people. Hannah, Catherine, Julia and I stayed in a hotel about 14 km outside of Patras so we had to prepare for the whole day and night when we left in the morning. On Saturday, we prepared for all the hype we’d heard about, putting on our wigs, masks and sparkles. The picture is the four of us at 11 in the morning. The bus and coffee that day were both a bit painful since we were the ONLY people dressed up! Soon enough we ditched the wigs and put them on later when other people were wearing costumes!
Over the weekend we went on a few of the carnival rides, hopped from street meat stands to street meat stands and various cafes to avoid the rain, watched the two 3 hour long parades and danced in the streets. We had the special black wine made and sold in Patras for the occasion, traded costume pieces with people and met a ton of Greek students - all in all a great first Carnaval!