Switzerland: It’s All Greek to Me

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Well, I decided to go to Greece. The week before finals. I figured…why not? School isn’t that important, right? And besides, last semester I went to New Orleans for a few days before my December finals, and I got good enough grades. Maybe it was time to start a trend. And I was going with my friend Jean Valjean (I’m calling him Jean Valjean because I’m not sure he’d enjoy having his name floating around on the interweb) who, although not the most physically imposing person, would at least be strong enough to break plates over any aggressor’s head.

On Wednesday morning, we got up at around 4:30 a.m. to take the train from Fribourg to Geneva, and then we took a bus from Geneva to Milan, as our cheap flight to Athens was to fly out the next day. We decided to take the bus because it was about fifty francs cheaper, and it was only a four-and-a-half-hour journey. Wrong. For one, the bus was late, and in Switzerland, when something is late, you can expect WWIII. Finally, the machine arrived. We were rolling along, and then we were stopped at the border in France. What followed were two hours of Narcos frenzy. Policemen sauntered up the bus steps, took and checked every one of our passports, police dogs came and sniffed our luggage for drugs, and a man was even kicked off the bus. Jean Valjean and I passed the time by playing hangman, but by the end of the two hours, we were about to go nuts. At last, it was over.

Wrong again.

We were stopped again by the Italian border patrol. This time around, however, only took about 30 minutes, and the policemen had attractive, swooping, Cristiano Ronaldo hair. But despite these boyband looks, we arrived in Milan about three hours later than planned, meaning we didn’t have as much time to take advantage of the city. After dropping off our bags at our AirBnb, we ate lunch at around 4:30 p.m., walked through the square, visited a horde of cat ladies, and then stopped at a café to have a glass of wine before going off to bed.

Our plane wasn’t until 11:45 a.m., but as it took an hour by bus to get to the airport, it was an early morning. Like the bus, the plane was late, and we arrived in Athens later than planned. And it was sprinkling. Good. Very good.

Also like Milan, we dropped our things off at our AirBnb. The room was very nice, but the front desk lady didn’t speak a word of English, and the neighborhood was filled with ‘women of the night’. And not the attractive, Amsterdam types. These were the women you would go to if you wanted to catch something worse than your everyday cold.

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That evening, we ate at a beautiful restaurant, tucked away along a side street, and I tried animal intestines. It wasn’t something I would eat every day, but it wasn’t bad. After we digested, we hiked up past the Acropolis to enjoy a beautiful view of the evening sky. At least it wasn’t raining.

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The next morning, we booked it to a tourist office to inquire about taking a day trip to a nearby island. But it was raining. And raining. So instead, we ate a hearty breakfast and prayed to the Greek gods that the weather would hold off for a bit while we went in search for the beach.

It didn’t.

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We were able to take a quick dip in the sea, started to sunbathe, and then it began to pour. The rain was frigid, so we went back to the apartment to shower before taking the metro down to the sea port in search of sustenance. Jean Valjean was in charge of dinner that night, but he got lost (because he’s a man), so we sought out a taxi and explained to the man that we wanted a restaurant with fish. This man did not speak a lick of English.

“Fish? Fish?”

“Yes, fish.

*Insert stream of steady Greek*

“Do you like football?”

*Insert stream of steady Greek*

“Yes, we’re from France.”

“Oh…Hollande!

“No, no, no. It’s Emmanuel Macron now.”

“No Le Pen?”

“No, no, no. That woman lost the election.”

“Le Pen good for country.” *Insert stream of steady Greek*

I had to give it to the man. At least he tried.

Miraculously, the restaurant he dropped us off at was delicious, with windows looking right out over the water. We were a mere foot from the shore, and I enjoyed polenta and lightly seasoned bass.

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The following day, we visited the Acropolis, and although it wasn’t raining, it was cloudy and dreary. In hindsight, this was an excellent way to view the temple: angry, dark storm clouds fuming above the pillars’ heads. I tried to use my offline application to find the next attraction, but we got lost. That’s what happens when you give up internet for several days. Twenty-first century problems. That night, we ended up eating at a fast food joint and then holed it out under a terrace until the rain stopped…at four in the morning. Good times.

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Our last day in Athens, Sunday, was… Yep, you guessed it. Rainy. So, what else was there to do but go to a museum and gaze at naked statue butts?

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At around 3 p.m., we went back to the apartment to grab our things, but after we rang the bell, no one answered the door. Oh, gosh. Were we going to have to leave our things in Athens? Finally, someone appeared, and we raced off to the metro. Although Google had promised me it would take no more than forty minutes to get to the airport, Google lied. By the time we got there, we were sprinting through the terminal, arriving a mere five minutes before the gates closed. I feel sorry for the person sitting next to me. My stench was anything but a basket of roses.

Safely back in Milan, where we had begun our journey, the most we could do was walk the streets until we found someone who could give us a food recommendation (another prostitute, surprisingly), and we ate Spanish food in Italy. Don’t judge me. But hey…at least it wasn’t raining.

The following morning, we woke up at 6:30 a.m. to catch our train, and like the plane, we almost missed it. What is with my luck and transportation?!?!

I was not at all happy to return to Fribourg, especially considering that I had to take my Spanish exam early that afternoon. Thankfully, the exam was relatively easy, and as soon as all was finished, I grabbed my swimsuit and went to the only outdoor pool in Fribourg…and…it started raining.

I’m done. I’m just done.

Well, anyway, this is my last official week of school, and I’m ready for a break (vacation is work too, people). The next couple of weeks are supposed to be a rainy mess, so I’m planning to catch up on the Netflix I’ve been missing out on and eat a lot of chocolate ice cream. If anything, the rain is perfect for stocking a dentist’s bank account.

À plus dans le bus!

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