We didn’t have class today, so Michalis had planned a hike for today- originally from 7am-noon, but pushed back until 9:30, and didn’t leave until 10. I did not mind sleeping in a little bit rather than getting up at 6!

The island has a lot of mountains so there are some really nice trails. We drove about an hour to a region called Ράχες, where we parked the cars, before starting our walk. The drive was actually pretty cool because we drove along the coast to a town called Armenistis, which is where I’ll be a week from now. We even drove past the hotel I’ll be staying at! It’s a whole different feel to the island; this area is a lot more beachy and draws more tourists. After we parked in Ράχες, we walked around a little bit- was an adorable town with tavernas, bars, little markets, and old men sitting outside drinking coffee.

The hike was absolutely amazing. It ended up being around 3.5 hours I think, and in that time I was in places that felt like Northern California, Arizona, the jungle, the Appalachian trail, and Puerto Rico. It ranged from being super hot with prickly bushes and even cacti, to small trickling waters with a waterfall nearby. In some places it would have been super useful to have a machete to pave the way. He did advise that we wear long pants, but there was no way I was going on a hike through the hottest part of a 95 degree day wearing jeans. I’m super glad I wore shorts, but my legs were not so glad at a couple points in the way. Surprisingly I have no scratches though! And then there were other places where there were lots of tall pine trees and the feeling that Bambi was going to come running out any moment to say hi. We also got a great laugh out of Giselle, the Italian woman, who insisted on doing the hike in black sequinned wedges. Michalis kept telling her that it was a terrible idea, so she brought extra shoes- platform flip flops. Which she proceeded to do the hike in, happily marching along, singing some Italian tune and carrying a fake walking stick. It was quite the sight, but also super impressive. Pictures to come in the future!

We saw some really cool plants throughout. There was an almond tree, which had almonds that Michalis said will be ready in September. There was also a plum tree, which may or may not have been in someone’s backyard, but we each had one and it was delicious. There were also wild olive trees, delicious smelling flowers, extreme pricker bushes that I am convinced are the spawn of the devil, and much more. Down by the stream where we stopped for a rest, we saw lots of dragonflies and butterflies and tadpoles and stuff, too. The whole trip kindof reminded me of FOOT, except FOOT doesn’t end up at the Aegean sea. At least my trip didn’t. I have such wonderful pictures, both of Giselle and of the landscape, that I can’t wait to show the world! It was so interesting to see how things look outside of the small little mountain village that the school is in.

The trail ended across the street from a beach near Armenistis, so we sat and each had a greek salad, which was very refreshing after the trek. I got back to the school around 6 and took a little nap- I had no idea it was possible to food coma myself from a horiatiki, but I was feeling super full. And also sleepy. I then went out to run, realized that was dumb and that the last thing I wanted to do was be on my feet more, so I came back here and am relaxing until we go to the Panigiri tonight! I can actually hear it now, because it’s at the bottom of the valley and the sound is traveling through the mountains. PaRtyY TiMeE amirite!! Except I super hope I don’t have to be out too late a la last time, because I am still rather sleepy. Also, the Euro finals are tonight, so the Italians will be watching with baited breath!

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