So, I spent the weekend in Greece! Specifically, I went to Aegina Island, where my friend Amanda has been studying all semester. Even though getting to the island was a challenge because of the labor strikes in Athens (no public transportation), it was one-hundred percent worth it. Aegina was not only stunningly beautiful, but it also had the nicest, friendliest people I’ve met while abroad, starting with “Aunt Kiki,” who welcomed us at our AirBnb.
After arriving in Aegina, Amanda showed us her apartment and studio space, and made us an amazing Greek dinner of greek salad, saucy baked eggplant, fresh bread and saganaki. We were too busy indulging to take photos. Thanks Amanda!
The next morning, we grabbed our swimsuits and sundresses and headed for the beach. Like I said, stunning.
In the afternoon, Kristina left to catch her flight, and the rest of us explored Aegina Town. I loved that the shop owners actually hand made a lot of what they were selling. Also, there was pistachio-flavored everything. Pistachios originate from Aegina, so we had to try some. The produce on the island was all so fresh and cheap, I couldn’t get enough! We were especially excited about the apricots because the lady at the market gave them to us for free, and they were so good!
To take a break, Katie, Sarah, Amanda and I got some coffee and baklava at a cafe by the sea. I couldn’t believe we got to sit and talk and drink coffee on a balcony with the view of the ocean and mountains for less than I would spend at Starbucks. Unreal, and super relaxing.
To end our day in Aegina, we watched the sun set. Even though I’d been looking at it all day, I still could not get over that view.
Sunday morning, we packed our things, said good-bye to Amanda, and took a small taxi boat back to the mainland. Because of the strike, the Athens port we used on Friday had been shut down, so we got dropped off at a port two hours away from the city. While we waited for a bus, we sipped coffee, read our books, and enjoyed the view. Not a bad place to be stranded.
Our bus ride to Athens was surprisingly nice – and it offered some amazing views as we winded through the mountains. Transportation was complicated and expensive, but everything worked out, and we got to see everything we had hoped for! Honestly, it helped us trust in God more with our plans and rely on the people around us too.
When we got to Athens, we found Zach, Katie’s boyfriend, waiting outside our apartment! The four of us grabbed some lunch and headed to the city center.
The Acropolis was incredible. It’s definitely the oldest place we’ve been, and it was crazy to stand in the middle of ancient Athens and look out on modern Athens.
Just below the Acropolis is Mars Hill, where Paul presented the gospel to the people, recorded in Acts 17. As we stood with the Acropolis above us and the city below us, Zach read the passage aloud. It was overwhelming, and I kept thinking how important his message was for them, and how important it is for me and for everyone.
Acts 17:16–34 (ESV):
Paul in Athens
16 Now while Paul was waiting for them at Athens, his spirit was provoked within him as he saw that the city was full of idols. 17 So he reasoned in the synagogue with the Jews and the devout persons, and in the marketplace every day with those who happened to be there. 18 Some of the Epicurean and Stoic philosophers also conversed with him. And some said, “What does this babbler wish to say?” Others said, “He seems to be a preacher of foreign divinities”—because he was preaching Jesus and the resurrection. 19 And they took him and brought him to the Areopagus, saying, “May we know what this new teaching is that you are presenting? 20 For you bring some strange things to our ears. We wish to know therefore what these things mean.” 21 Now all the Athenians and the foreigners who lived there would spend their time in nothing except telling or hearing something new.
Paul Addresses the Areopagus
22 So Paul, standing in the midst of the Areopagus, said: “Men of Athens, I perceive that in every way you are very religious. 23 For as I passed along and observed the objects of your worship, I found also an altar with this inscription, ‘To the unknown god.’ What therefore you worship as unknown, this I proclaim to you.24 The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man,[a] 25 nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything. 26 And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, 27 that they should seek God, and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him. Yet he is actually not far from each one of us,28 for
“‘In him we live and move and have our being’;
as even some of your own poets have said,
“‘For we are indeed his offspring.’
29 Being then God’s offspring, we ought not to think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone, an image formed by the art and imagination of man. 30 The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent, 31 because he has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed; and of this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead.”
32 Now when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some mocked. But others said, “We will hear you again about this.” 33 So Paul went out from their midst.34 But some men joined him and believed, among whom also were Dionysius the Areopagite and a woman named Damaris and others with them.