Weird Wanderings In Europe

On our trip abroad this summer, we had a very smooth trip overall. Z and I have traveled and had much rougher trips, so in general, we feel very fortunate that we had such an amazing trip. However, there were a few moments… where things got weird. We also wrote about some mini misadventures we experienced on our trip in this post. Obviously all is well that ends well, and we are fine and had a wonderful time. But here are a few odd moments that we experienced on our trip.

In Athens, we had to walk several blocks to get to a central area to buy milk and a few other groceries when we first arrived. It was the day of the nationwide vote on the banking crisis, and a Sunday, so most things were closed. As we wandered, we passed a block that had a strong chemical smell, and a few seconds later, my nose burned. I looked over at Z, and his eyes were watering, and he coughed once or twice. D’s eyes watered slightly, but he seemed mostly ok. Whatever we walked through, it was not friendly. I had a moment of panic, wondering if we inadvertently wandered through tear gas or something else dangerous. The sensation passed within a minute, and we were fine, but for a minute, it was a little surprising! (We also kept this story to ourselves, knowing that it may worry some people, especially our parents. But clearly, we’re fine!)


Taken shortly after the encounter with the strong, burning smell. At least there was pretty graffiti nearby.

Driving is always a great topic of comparison. Really, everywhere we have ever traveled has very “exciting” driving conditions. There is a reason why I have never tried driving when we travel, mostly because I don’t have the nerves to handle it. In both Greece and Italy, we saw many instances of people just flat out ignoring stop signs. And not rural stop signs, where you can tell no one is coming. Stop signs in major cities, and in neighborhoods. Maybe they are more of a suggestion than what we’re used to. But we were definitely careful when crossing the streets.

We mentioned the defunct old hotel in Delphi in this post, but there was another odd place we came across in Delphi. In a little alcove off the main street, we came across a large model of the ancient site of Delphi. Neat, and not entirely unexpected, but the location was a little weird, and even weirder, all of the signs and explanations were in French. No Greek or English in sight, just French. An odd little find. It was just outside of what appeared to be an old tourist information center.

In Izmir (and slightly less in Istanbul), the stray dogs were some of the largest dogs I have ever seen. They were huge dog breeds, and they were very well fed. They appeared to be very happy stray dogs. They also slept everywhere, including the base of stairways in streets and under signs in archaeological sites.


One of the many stray dogs (far from the largest) and a stray cat as a bonus!

And one last one- related to food. We had some delicious and amazing food on this trip (our next post will be our favorite meals and foods!), but there was one instance that threw us off a bit. Z ordered a burger with barbeque sauce when we were in Athens. He was craving something with some good flavor that reminded him of home, and barbeque is one of his favorite things. So, he was a little sad, and surprised to find that his burger with barbeque sauce was really a burger with what we would consider salsa. It was finely chopped tomatoes, onions, and some citrus. Not like the smoky, hearty barbeque sauces we are used to. But at least Z can now say he’s had a burger with salsa!


The “barbeque” burger, though the sauce is hard to see.

Our post later this week will be all about our favorite meals and foods from our trip, so come back to read (and see!) more!


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