I’m the type of person who obsesses over small things, or in more colloquial terms, I “sweat the small stuff.” It is my tendency to be concerned about small details of my daily life, and though I don’t like to admit it, it sometimes detracts from my experiences.
It’s good perspective, therefore, to witness things that are bigger than I am.
We’re getting into crunch time now, and the work I have coming up this week feels like a series of enormous milestones. So to put things in perspective, here are a few places I’ve visited lately that surpass the significance of my everyday tasks and make me feel small in a good way. The experiences I have had at each of these places have been extremely special individually, but together, they all have something in common: they’re so much bigger, older, and wiser then I am.
Mount Olympus, Visit date: 5/28
On our last rainy weekend in Thessaloniki, we took a four-hour hike on Mount Olympus. According to Greek mythology, Mount Olympus was the home of the gods of the ancient world. Walking through the hills and trees to encounter views of waterfalls and towering rocks under pattering rain made it easy to believe that I was standing where Zeus and his colleagues once lived, and I experienced a sense of calm that I cannot always find that easily.
Meteora, Visit date: 5/30
During our two-day bus ride to Athens, we stayed overnight in Kalampaka, a town located next to the floating monasteries that compose Meteora. The monasteries of Meteora were built on gigantic rock formations by monks during the 14th and 15th centuries and are now a popular tourist destination. We didn’t have a tour guide at Meteora, which gave us more freedom to relax, walk around, and photograph and gawk at the awe-inspiring views.
Delphi, Visit date: 5/31
Delphi, an ancient city home to remains of the Temple of Apollo and thought to be the site of a powerful oracle, was our last stop before Athens. As our tour guide regaled us with tales of Apollo’s conquests and the Pythian Games – predecessor to the Olympics – I enjoyed taking in the sights and views of the ancient city, despite the fact that I was plagued by my irrational fear of buzzing insects.
Aristotle’s Lyceum, Visit date: 6/4
On Sunday, which was our free day, I took a late afternoon walk through the National Garden, which is conveniently located less than a kilometer from our hotel. My goal was to visit the Lyceum, an ancient gymnasia in Athens where the students of philosopher Aristotle strolled and studied. What remains of the Lyceum is now preserved and surrounded by benches where visitors can relax, journal, and attempt to wrap their head around the fact that this pile of rocks was the site of Aristotle’s Peripatetic School more than 2,000 years ago.
Acropolis of Athens, Visit date: 6/5
Cody, Alexa, Bradley, and I missed last week’s group visit to the Acropolis because we were reporting for our stories. So on Monday, we spent the morning visiting Acropolis museum and climbing to the famous site of the Parthenon and Temple of Athena. We can see the Acropolis from our hotel, but seeing it up close was well worth the sweaty hike up.
The view from the Acropolis was absolutely incredible, and I enjoyed spending a little time wandering around and helping out other tourists when they asked me to take their photo. It was the perfect way to spend the first morning of our last week in Athens.