a. views of Athens.

b. the Erechtheion, another temple on the Acropolis.

c. the windy alley-ways that lead to the Acropolis.

d. the streets of Athens.

e. me looking confused in front of the Temple of Zeus.

f. another snap from the trek up to the Acropolis!

g. the Odeon of Herodes Atticus.

h. the Acropolis as seen from the Temple of Zeus.



Note to self: don't wear denim dresses in Athens. I say this because it's hot. Like, really hot. Whenever I would express this while I was away, the common reply was, "you're from Australia." Gimme a break people, I'm from Melbourne. It's hot for like two days and then next minute you're shivering in your bikini and it's raining but somehow you're still getting burnt by the sun.

Anywho, so I'm in Greece and I'm climbing up to the Acropolis and I'm wearing a denim dress. A recipe for sweat. But it's worth it when you get to the top because there it is: the Parthenon. Hey to the Temple of Athena too.

Now, there's a lot of history surrounding the Acropolis, and if you ever get the chance to be standing on it, the best way to appreciate the opportunity is to know a little bit about it. So here's a few things you should know about the Acropolis if you're planning to go there, if you're standing there now, or if you're just a little curious about what all the fuss is about.

~ When talking about the Acropolis and the Parthenon, it can be confusing which is which. So, the Acropolis is the area on top of the rock. The Parthenon is the biggest temple on top of the Acropolis. 

~ The Acropolis is a citadel. A citadel is the main fortified area of a city. It literally means "little city". There are many acropoleis in Greece, but because the Acropolis of Athens is the most famous of all of them, it is known as 'The Acropolis'.

~ The Parthenon is a former temple of the goddess Athena built in 447- 432 BC.

~ In Greek mythology, Athenians were literally 'born from the earth' on the Acropolis. The god Hephaestus tried to rape Athena and there was a struggle and she got away but a bit of semen got on her thigh. It fell to the ground and from that, the people of Athens sprung from the earth!

~ Poseidon and Athena fought over who would be the patron deity of Athens. Seems kinda silly because of her significance in the birth of the Athenians. Also her name literally has the city in it. Anyway, Poseidon obviously didn't think this was significant enough, but Athena won the battle anyway, so all good.

~ The metopes are the little pictures running right around the edge of the Parthenon near the top. There are 92 metopes, depicting mythical battles and a wedding.

~ The pediments are the triangle shapes on top. The west pediment shows the competition between Poseidon and Athena, and the east shows the birth of Athena.

~ It was converted to a Christian church for ten years in the 6th century AD by the Byzantines, and an Islamic mosque in 1456 when the Ottomans invaded Athens.

~ In 1687 the Parthenon was bombed by the Venetians. It's still being rebuilt today.

If you are planning to make a visit, there are a few things you should keep in mind:

~ If you are a student, make sure you have your student card from your university or school with you, because it's free entry for students! Otherwise, you'll have to pay 12 euros, that's 19 AUD at the moment.

~ Wear good walking shoes that have good grip. The pathway up to the Acropolis is really really slippery because it's marble and has been worn down by all the people trekking up to the top. It's really easy to slip and it would be very annoying to say the least if you twisted your ankle.

~ Bring a water bottle. Especially if you are travelling in summer, I promise you will need it. If not to drink, to pour over yourself!

~ Sunglasses. You probably won't see anything without sunnies on, because it's so bright on top of the Acropolis. The ground is very pale and dusty so the sun reflects back into your eyes. There's no shade up there and there is nothing worse then squinting when you're trying to take everything in.

~ Don't wear denim.

So the marble steps were slippery and the sun was hot, but oh was it worth it knowing I had the honour of standing on Greek god semen.


But really, there is nothing like the Acropolis. The myths and the legends, the link to another civilisation, and the heart of the city of Athens.



When I stepped out of the train station and into Monastiraki Square, I just laughed. I laughed because I’d made it to Athens in one piece, and I laughed because I was so full of excitement by what I saw: people – everywhere – yelling and chattering and just general noise. Street performers. Indian rayon scarves hanging from shop doors, where souvenirs fooled tourists with their 'authenticity'. There were carts of fruits and berries; coconuts and homemade sweets; nuts and spices. But it was the colour which held me on the steps: none of the rich, deep colours I was so familiar with back home and in Germany; instead a pale palette of yellow, brown and pink; made beautiful by the smoggy air. And then, the Acropolis. Jutting out of the ground and overlooking the scene which I was so fascinated by, it received the full afternoon sun, soaking it up like non of us mortals dared to. It glowed, and it was beautiful. It held the pride of civilizations past, and was the heart of the present city.

My map was in English but the street signs were in Greek. This was a problem for some time, as I lugged my suitcase across the busy street, amongst busy crowds and along 60cm wide footpath. I had the sinking realization that I had no idea where I was. It is a strange feeling, to know that you are so far from home, and so far from any place or face that you recognize. I walked down the street, and then up, then down again. No surprise that it was practically under my nose.

It must be some sort of irony that the first two people I meet in Greece are Australian. Both are called Luke.

I say goodbye to the Lukes because I want to explore. The markets are alive and I willingly sacrifice my hours to them. And as disorderly as they seem they follow a pattern; every ten meters the shops repeat themselves: souvenirs, sandals, Ancient Greek-style dresses, purses, souvenirs, sandals, Ancient Greek-style dresses, purses. Yet it is quite impossible to loose interest, as if the first set plants the seed within the minds of tightened purse strings. The purchase idea is encouraged and watered; until finally, one walks away with an Indian rayon dress.

I turn the corner and a great, round, pink lantern floats slowly to the ground. I know I won’t catch it but still, I race to the roof of the hostel. But sunset is over and in its place, a spectacular man-made show of lights illuminates the city: the sun is replaced by the Acropolis itself.
Both of the Lukes are already at the rooftop bar. We talk about travelling the world and sangria. I eat Mousaka and drink overly-priced berry cider.

Athens’ lights blur with the smog, and the city skyline is turned into a glowing atmosphere.








a. here I ate the most delicious gelato flavour which I'd never heard of

b. a monastery built from front to back, which took so long to construct that by the time it was completed, the front needed renovating

c. flowers in the marketplace

d. a contest is held each year for the residents of these gorgeous houses, the winner being the owner of the most beautiful front-garden

e. a very royal residence



Whilst I am home and safe from placing myself in large predicaments such as the one the title suggests (debatable), I have yet to relay my experiences abroad. So, over the next weeks (probably months), I'll set about writing up the moments that I'd like to share. It's my way of saving my Facebook friends the misery of unrelated statuses. If you wish to read, carry on, but I warn you, I can be frustrating at times...

By the time I got off the plane in Munich I was ecstatic. I could see Blanca on the other side of the glass, waiting in the arrivals section.

Yes, I did knock on the glass, and yes, I did break the emergency door handle, and yes, all the other passengers did stare and/or laugh at me...SO awkward.

Anyway, Blanca waited, for the line for non-European citizens to have their documents checked was a tedious one. And somehow I ended up at the back of the line. The tribulations of being less-than-average in height.

After an hour I made it through. I collected my baggage and the next stop was the bathroom. I envisioned a perfect reunion with my beloved Blanca, and I didn't want to ruin this through pressing bladder problems.

I can't put into words the excitement that I felt to see Blanca and her family again. Two and a half years is so long but it still felt like I'd never left. Well, it did obviously, but you know what I mean.

So we're in the car and I'm checking my backpack like the #smarttraveller that I am. And then I realise. Passport? Phone? Definitely not here. Definitely still in the bathroom.

So Blanca and I jump back out of the car and power walk back to the entrance. There are many sad things about this situation but one of them is that we can't remember which way the entrance is. Multi-storey car-parks are confusing and even once we do find our way in, we have about 10 minutes to walk to the terminal. My brain is in override. The only word I can conjure is 'shit' and slightly more crass relatives.

Of course no one is at the information desks. I'm trying to make light of the situation but really this is no laughing matter and actually I feel very ill. We walk up and down the terminal looking for someone who looks remotely helpful and even begin to approach a lady who is sitting in a chair guarding nothing whatsoever, when I hear an announcement. It goes something like this:

*german* *german* *german* Monique Langford *german* information desk *german*

As you can see I am not very proficient in the language of German. Anywho, we approached the nearest information desk, which, as I have already said, no one was present at. So we waited. We were finally approached by a lady who informed us that we should go to Police Department A, as they had my belongings.

I could feel the relief in literally my entire body.

Well, we approached Police Department A: up a few escalators and it looked like a small deserted shopping centre, ie. there was nothing there. A lady popped her head out of a door. It was one of those doors where they can see you but you can't see them. She told us to go to Police Department C.

So we went to Police Department C.

They told us to go to Police Department A.

You, dear reader, are forgiven if at this point you either a) have no idea whatsoever, what is going on right now, or, b) you are fed up with my level of patheticness and decide to stop reading altogether. However, I encourage you to continue because a happy ending is nigh.

So anyway, we're on the escalator leading up to Police Department A, and there is a man at the top, and he is holding my belongings. And now I'm laughing but I am also singing 'Stairway to Heaven' because this man is my saviour and the escalator is technically a form of stairway - just the 21st century version.

Back in the car and the relief is enormous. Now it's just us, the road, and a two hour drive full of catching up. Blanca is talking about an appointment she is running late to. I feel really guilty.
"Did you finish making your dress for tonight?" Blanca asks me.
"Yup I finished the dress, but...tonight?"
"Yeah." Why did I think it was tomorrow night? Fair to say I'm a bit surprised. Not that it really matters, its just there are some people that I have not seen for a long time. And I've waited so long to see them and now I only have to wait a few hours.

Blanca makes it to her make-up appointment and I hurry to get ready. We are leaving in five minutes and my hair is still damp and I hate that I'm using the hair straightener anyway. Maybe it's just my imagination but I can hear my hairdresser crying.

The night is warm for some time and it is long. One of the best parts about going to your best friend's graduation on the night that you arrive in her country is that you are guaranteed to see someone and everyone.

And I do. So I dance and forget that I am jet-lagged.



I'm off! As I write this I am on my connecting flight from Doha to Munich, sitting some 43000 feet above the ground, some 1890km from my destination, and 19 hours from home. My row has three seats, but I am the only occupier. So that means spacious leg room, three pillows and a glorious window seat! Bet those chaps up in First Class are spewin'!

My friends know that I love airports. This is true. But when I arrived at Melbourne Airport, I was so incredibly anxious that I could not sit still as I ate my herb chicken noodle soup (the consequential burnt tongue is still an issue). I was tapping my heals on the tiled floor food-court floor, so full of nervous energy that even Dad's coughing fit from his spicy  curry was making me stressed.

It did really dawn on me that I was jumping on an international flight alone until I turned the corner into customs. At that moment, I just thought what the fuck am I doing? But then a snappy lady ushered me into a busy queue so there was no more time for my frantic musings.

I can't actually express how excited I was to board, so I won't try. All I can say is that my heart leapt way further up in my chest than is anatomically possible, and that all this nervous energy was so exhausting that by the time the plane took off I was already half asleep.

Also, can I just say, that the toilet flush on planes is SUPER loud? So I cover my ears and wave my foot around the notion sensor.

I chased the sun along the horizon but it beat me. 5.30am in Doha and the sun was already high in the sky. Not to mention it was 35 degrees. Australia is hot but at 5.30am? This must be sorcery. A thick cloud of sand hindered my eyes from searching too far into the distance, and a hot, dry wind accompanied it.

1 hour 43 minutes until landing time. 1329km to go. Still 43000 feet above ground. And just as excited as ever.