A Day in the Fog!
Today was an exceptionally early morning for us. We met for breakfast at 7:30. The breakfast at the hotel was perfectly filling for our adventurous day: eggs, sausage, cereal, bread, yogurt; some people had coffee, some hot chocolate. Ioanna met us downstairs at 8:15 and we headed off to the mountain! It was about a 30-minute drive up steep, winding roads. Some of the roads had no railings on the sides. Because I am so prone to carsickness, some can understand that I did get a little carsick. I had to keep my eyes closed for the majority of the trip up. The car was so small and everyone’s skis and snowboards had to be squeezed into the back of the van, so I was cramped and it did not help my carsickness. There were skis slid under the seats, on the sides of both seats in the back, and laid over one of the seats that had to be put down to make room.
When we arrived at Mount Parnassos, there were about 150 men, women and children unloading their gear and equipment. The temperature was perfect though; in the 50s. We waited in the ticket line for five minutes and only paid 28 Euros for an all day pass! We were each given a card with our picture on it, which proved that we had paid and also allowed us to get onto the lifts. We then had to climb up two sets of stairs in our ski boots to get to the gondola. Four of us rode in one gondola and four in another. The skis and snowboards were in pockets on the outside of the cart. As the gondola climbed, we entered fog. The fog was thick and snow/rain droplets were coming from it. The sky was very dark and there was no sight of the sun even trying to squeeze through the fog. When we reached the top, we stepped out of the cart and had to go down a flight of stairs sideways because of the boots. At the bottom, there was more people than there were unloading the cars. Among these people there was a group of instructors in bright orange jumpsuits standing next to a sign on which they were offering lessons.
Carolyn, Ashley, and I wanted to start on the bunny hill, but none of us knew where it was. So we decided to just head to the first lift that we saw. As Carolyn and I were on our way up, we started getting nervous because it seemed like we just kept climbing higher and higher. After about 15 minutes we finally made it to the stopping point and I slid down the ramp. I was freaking out because I knew that this was going to be a task trying to ski down when it had been almost a year since I had last been on skis.
At the top it was even foggier than below. It was hard to see twenty feet in front of you. Because we were all new to these paths and it was extremely foggy, we took it slow the first time down. I was very hesitant about the people skiing around me. There were many times that I came very close to running into another skier. Each of us wiped out a few times in the extremely slushy snow that resulted from the massive amounts of rain the mountain had been getting! When someone had fallen, we had to keep an eye out until they got back up in case another skier was coming down and did not see them.
We skied until 2 pm and then met up with Rich, Lily, and Matt back at the entrance. This was perfect timing because it was becoming busier by the minute. Each person told a funny story about skiing and snowboarding and we all laughed about the falls and sites that we had seen. Then we squished all of our skis, snow boots, and snow pants back into the van and trunk of the car and headed back down the mountain. Again, I became carsick looking over the sides of the roads but the views of the snow capped mountains and houses in the valleys looked as if they belonged on a postcard. There were large homes packed tightly together with smoke coming out of the chimneys. In the distance, the neighboring mountains to Parnassos had the sunlight hitting them to make the snow shine bright.
When we arrived back in town, we returned our rentals to the ski shop and went to the hotel to grab our luggage and change out of wet clothes. Having skied all day without breaking for lunch, we were starved and agreed on pizza! We went to a small pizzeria, Pomodori, where we guzzled down water and munched on thick pita bread with a cream cheese spread. Ashley and I ordered a Forest Salad (apples, pomegranates, cabbage, and a creamy balsamic dressing) and a Francesca Pizza (cheese, tomatoes, mushroom, onion, and oregano) to split. We each ate three slices and there were two remaining; Ashley suggested that we each have one more piece because bringing home two pieces would be a waste, so of course we ate them! When we were finished at the pizzeria, we had a half hour of free time and Hayley, Carolyn, Katie, Ashley, Ioanna, and I went to Café Bonjour to have a cup of hot chocolate before we got back on the road to Athens.
The 2 ½ hour drive back to Athens went by quickly; everyone was extremely tired from the early morning and the trips up and down the mountain! We all slept the majority if the ride. Back home, we met up with some of our American friends that from the school’s pita cutting the week before!
Each day I continue to grow closer with my peers. Long days like today help our relationships in the building process. When I finally returned back to the apartment and my head hit the pillow, my eyes shut instantly and I felt as if I could sleep for days.