Farewell Kuwait…Stopover Athens

Well I haven’t written the last couple of weeks because we haven’t done much in the way of travel or adventure. Our clinical has drawn to a close and aside from packing and wrapping up assessments we were both under the weather. Our final Saturday we of course went to lunch. There were so many mixed emotions this week. I’m so excited that school is at long last drawing to a close. With that though there are some amazing friendships that have formed that I will be sad to manage from a permanent distance. I also signed a contract for my first job as a physical therapist! I will be returning to Kuwait for at least my first year of practice. It’s surreal leaving with so much excitement for the next couple of months but being excited to return as well. Our patients and the staff were very sweet about our departure and there were several sweet goodbyes and gift exchanges on our final day. Kuwait isn’t perfect by any means. Nowhere is, but I feel like it’s less glamorous than other places to move abroad. But it works and it has it’s own quirks. I know I will be very excited to return (and have visitors!) but in the meantime I’m also really excited for a break from the smells, our same gross clinic clothes and all of the dust. I’ll be excited to see some color aside from beige and have people let you off the elevator before they push on. But as much as some more familiar things will be comfortable it’s the quirks that make things exciting.

Our adventure isn’t quite over yet. This morning we got up in the wee hours and are making our slow way to Athens. It’s been an epic 3 months with passing our final rotation and managing to hit 6 countries along the way. We’ve been spoiled with the proximity of everything and the lax security screenings and have been reminded that we are slowly transitioning back to reality over several hours of flying and you know, packing our liquids appropriately.

Oh goodness – what to say about Athens. We had no idea it was going to take us 12 hours on 2.5 hours of sleep to arrive. But we did make it without hitches, just a lot of time. Luckily our hotel was ready, a humble apartment where we could spread out all our stuff and make some coffee. It was a trek on the metro with all of our luggage and we were glad we only had backpacks for all our other trips. We got changed and settled and then made our way to the acropolis. I marveled at the greenery and we tried to take it all in without falling asleep and somehow managed to avoid the big bus groups once again. It was quite a view and our main goal for the day so we were excited. After chugging a ton of water we made our way to the acropolis museum which was not the prettiest from outside but quite well done. We liked that we could be inside for a bit and that we could follow a nice little path. It was officially crash time so we managed to decide on a place for dinner nearby and basically called it a night.
The next morning we were tired from all the steps we acquired but felt slightly more refreshed. After our breakfast we made our way to a free walking tour. Sadly this one did not live up to the standard of others I’ve been on but it got us started for the day. Mostly the issue was we could barely hear anything despite our proximity and our guide and other guests decided to participate in some chain smoking. When we decided we had enough and spotted a coffee pit stop, we ditched the tour, rested our backs and got me a mug. Since we got finished a bit early we decided we had time for the ancient agora instead of the following morning. After covering the grounds and marveling at the history we definitely needed to rehydrate. We found a place with froyo and shaded seating for people watching and it was perfect. We were rejuvenated and decided weave our way back through the flea market and plaka. Plaka was definitely our favorite and we enjoyed some shops on our way back to the apartment. Most importantly we found me the perfect pair of Pom Pom slippers I was dying to get. Clearly this was an essential item I absolutely needed. When we got back, It was a tad early for dinner so we recovered for a bit and freshened up from all the dust and sweat. We decided we really liked plaka and that we were going to find a place there for dinner. It was delicious!! We had the best dolmas and falafel to start and topped off with souvlaki and gyros. Yum! Did I mention we were fans of Greece and happy to be back in Europe 🙂
We decided tonight we were going to enjoy the sunset and lit up view of the acropolis. I scouted a few places and we settled on the rooftop bar at the plaka hotel. It was a humble place with an amazing view! We got there just in time to snag the last couple seats on the small terrace and had a couple of cocktails to celebrate the conclusion of a very epic clinical rotation and doctoral program. It was so perfect. We made it home for a less grandma bed time than the night before and went to bed very content. Sunday we were headed out so we kept things light. Mostly we dealt with re packing and weighing bags for our international flights. I really wanted to see the guards again so we planned on wandering to see them. After a tad of last minute shopping we realized that we were in time for the changing of the guard so we got to see their Sunday attire and a slightly longer display of marching. Did I mention that I now know way more about the guard than any historical site. I mean come on though, they wear Pom Pom shoes!! I was quite delighted. We also stumbled upon some kind of large bike event and tried to avoid getting run over. We made our walk back to the hostel and then needed to make our trek back to the airport. Glad I don’t have to do that for a couple more weeks! But we made it. We sadly had to part ways before check in because of separate checkin areas and it’s been surreal to be apart. I keep thinking becca’s just on another row on the plane or gone to buy some water. It’s empowering to travel alone but I’m much more grateful to have an amazing travel buddy over these last 13ish weeks. It’s been so so epic. I’m glad my next stop is in a city where I know some amazing people otherwise I think the transition would be much harder. The good news is, we get to see each other in 3 weeks!!

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