Toll of times I said “Wow” on Saturday: infinity
Toll of times I screamed on Sunday: infinity.
Now you may think this is just a normal weekend for me, which by those stats it could be, but it wasn’t. Saturday we hiked Mount Olympus and Sunday we canyon’d down the water falls. Holy Hell, this was an insane weekend.
Mount Olympus is a less than 2 hour drive from Thessaloniki, our shortest traveling time this whole semester by far. Almost everyone in the program took advantage of the 20 euro trip to hike the mountain all day on Saturday, it was kind of like going camping with everyone in athletic leggings and camelbacks packed with energy bars and water bottles.
We were dropped off on the literal side of a dirt road about half way up the mountain where we made our way through a very Blair-Witch-esque woods with dead branches and creepy crawlies all over the walking path for about 40 minutes until we hit a sight that made me stop in my tracks. We had to hop creeks, ducked under fallen trees and stepped through mud halfway up our shoes to see it, and wow it was worth it.
We sat on this hill covered in boulders where our guide encouraged us to “take a seat, unique to you, and stay quiet, being one with nature” which was super cheesy and also super nice. He told us to do this for 5 minutes and we probably sat there in silence for near 15 minutes listening to the water fall rushing below and the bees buzzing on the cherry blossoms next to us. The hike totaled to near 4 hours and by the end of it I realized how badly I need to start working out again, but we made it to a little hut near the top of the mountain where somehow stray dogs had taken residence and sat next to us as we ate goat soup and Greek salad.
The day started with plans of having a taco night by ended with all of us passed out exhausted by 10pm.
Sunday morning we were picked up by a British Borat look-a-like in a huge white van, really reassuring right? He was Nathan, our canyoning guide for the day. 12 ACT students and 3 instructors met up at the base of one of the canyons along Mount Olympus. We stripped to our swimsuits and folded our wet suits into make-shift backpacks which we carried up what felt like a vertical cliff to reach the top of our canyon. We spent the next 4 hours jumping off cliffs, sliding down waterfalls, swimming through ice cold water and propelling off edges.
Will my tennis shoes every dry? Unlikely.
Unfortunately I don’t have any pictures from this day because we left all of our belongings in the car, but on my Facebook I made a video of the day which is visible to the public so go check that out.
I know I say this every week but I promise this time, this was my favorite day in Greece to date. It was so challenging and so exciting and I’ve never done anything like it before. Absolute adrenaline rush.
Anyway, this is my last week of classes and then its finals and then we’re done. I’m in shock about how quickly this has all gone and can’t imagine not being in Thessaloniki in 2 short weeks. Okay, not getting sentimental just yet…gonna postpone that for as long as possible.