Winter in Greece? No Problem! I’m from the Midwest of America, so I think that I can handle mid-forties with just a North Face and a lighter jacket underneath that.
I was wrong.
The weather this week has been cold and rainy. That wouldn’t be a problem normally. I have no need to go outside too much in this weather, and when I do need to - I can layer up properly and bring my umbrella.
Unless, of course, we have a trip planned to the mountains.
Our Athens on Site class was scheduled to go on our academic excursion this weekend. We were supposed to go to the top of Mt. Pentelikon to visit the Ancient Marble Quarries. The quarries are a section of caves that we would get to explore. Some of us would even learn how to play the classic, Greek Flute inside of the caves. Apparently, the acoustics are supposed to be amazing. So, imagine our surprise when we start driving up the mountain and see snow.
Professor Stavros said that in all of his years teaching this class, there has never been a problem with snow during this excursion. But the way the weather has been lately, we just couldn’t do it. We got about two-thirds up the mountain before the driver decided the bus couldn’t go any further. So we got out to walk, thinking that it wouldn’t be that bad.
It was bad.
The snow was on top of layers of frozen slush. The wind was so strong that we were being pushed around, unable to get a good grip on the ice and snow. Down below us, we could see the main city of Athens, with the sun shining down on it. But up on that mountain, there was no sun. Thankfully Professor Stavros decided to call off the trip to the top of the mountain, but now came another problem– the bus needed to turn around. So while we are all huddled off to the side, a good fifteen feet from the edge so that the wind doesn’t blow us over it, we watch the driver start to back up the bus.
Then the bus got stuck.
So there we are, on the mountain, in the snow, with the wind trying to blow us over, and a bus with spinning back wheels. They eventually thought it would be a good idea to have us all load onto the bus. But on the bus, we could feel the bus inching backwards towards the edge of the mountain. Needless to say, we were not the calmest passengers - which probably wasn’t helping the poor driver.
The good news is that we eventually made it down the mountain - on the proper roads. The bus got unstuck, and we were able to continue our excursion.
What did I learn from all of this you ask?
When you know it’s going to be winter somewhere, bring a thicker coat than a North Face. It’s better to be safe than sorry. You never know when you might end up stranded on a mountain in the snow.