The shady neighborhoods and ever-present graffiti served as reminders of Greece's severe financial woes. Since 2009, Greece has suffered from the most severe of the European sovereign debt crises, which has led to fears of a run on Greek banks, forced exit from the Euro, and, according to the Greek President, a "threat to our national existence." There are many causes of the financial crisis, but the large immigrant population in Greece has found itself a popular scapegoat. Above is a video taken from the balcony of our hotel showing a counter-protest by local Muslims against earlier anti-Muslim/anti-immigrant protests.
Speaking of food, above are some photos from an excellent meal of Greek food, culminating in one of my favorite desserts on the trip: loukoumades (basically, donut holes drenched in honey).
On day two of our Greece visit, we hopped aboard a ferry to Aegina, one of the Greek islands.
Greece is famous for the blue waters of the Aegean Sea, and our trip on those beautiful waters did not disappoint.
Aegina is only forty minutes away from Athens by ferry, but as we ambled along the streets of the small island town, it felt like a different country.
In the 5th Century BC, Aegina was a different country; it had a fierce rivalry with nearby Athens. Above are photos taken from the Aegina equivalent of Athens' Acropolis. The above-pictured temple is the Temple of Aphaea, a Greek goddess worshipped exclusively at this temple.
Today, Aegina is best known for its pistachios, with pistachio trees and pistachio vendors visible all over the island.
Although we sampled the local pistachios, we particularly enjoyed the fresh, local fish, which we ate right next to the Aegean Sea.
After lunch, we enjoyed a dip in the warm, clear waters of the Aegean.
Our trip to Aegina was the perfect way to recharge our batteries before we hopped back on the ferry and met Shane and Nick at the Athens airport for the next phase of our journey: Turkey. See you there!