This weekend was full of sightseeing and exploring the city a bit more.

On Saturday, I spent my morning relaxing and working on my bee article, hopefully to be hitting the blog soon. In the afternoon, a group of students, as well as Carlene and Kristina, our wonderful RA and guide, hiked up to the Upper City.

I say we “hiked” because that was the closest I’ve come to a hike in a long, long time. Like many hiking adventures, I was emotionally unprepared for what lay ahead. But because of my ridiculous over-preparing, I was physically ready: covered in sunblock, strapped into my comfortable walking shoes, and lugging my camera behind me as I dramatically flipped my hair in the face of this challenge.

About half-way up, I was ready to give up.

My hair was sweaty and in a bun, my dress was too constricting for the amount of air I needed to huff and puff my way up the 85,000,000 steps to the viewing platform, and I had a stomachache from drinking so much water in the dry heat.

Nonetheless, I pulled myself together for a photo.

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Photo by Paxtyn Merten

After we all stood around taking as many photos as possible of the view, and with the view, and of others taking photos of the view, and of one another taking photos of each other (every level of photo inception), we continued on.

We couldn’t very well climb all that way and then just go straight back down, especially not without cooling off. The search for ice cream proved fruitless, but we saw a lot of other cool things around and beautiful views, and had a nice time refreshing ourselves on a rooftop restaurant.

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Found a church with a bunch of peacocks, chickens and roosters. This guy was showing off for us.



 On Sunday, we took a trip to the Ktima Gerovassiliou Vineyard, where we learned about the way they grow their grapes, how the grapes are turned into wine and how different types of wine go through different processes.

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The view of Mount Olympus over the water. The vineyard is surrounded by water on three sides, which keeps it from getting humid and giving the plants diseases, and gave us a nice little breeze on our visit.

In the basement, we learned about the storing and aging processes, but my favorite part of the tour was the owner’s collection of wine screws. He had corkscrews from so many different centuries, in different metals and shapes, and they were wonderfully laid out and categorized. My favorite display was corkscrews that looked like animals, and there were cute little fish and monkeys.

After the tour, we had a wine tasting, which was interesting. We looked at the “fingers” in the wine, and learned the proper way to aerate the wine to let it breathe and how to properly smell it.

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I loved these green glass bottles decorating the cellar.

I liked the white wine we tried, it was a very fine white that would have paired nicely with a light fish, but I also liked the red, which is unusual for my normal tastes. It was a very complicated wine, being a mix of three types of Greek grapes that are mixed together before the fermentation process. It was very dry, which is usually how my dad likes his wine, but this was much fruitier and more pungent than he would have liked.

After the tasting, we piled back onto the bus and went to the Kyma beach nearby.

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View at the beach

At the beach, we all changed into swimsuits and spread out on lawn chairs, ordering lunch and swimming in the crystal blue water or walking along the beach. I found a bunch of pieces of white and orange marble everywhere on the beach, which I suppose should be expected because that’s what the ancient Greeks were building all their stuff out of. After all, they couldn’t import it like we would do now.

So far, the second week is racing by even faster than the first. I can’t believe it’s already early Wednesday morning. I want it to all slow down, so I can savor every moment.