One of the things I miss most about the Midwest is how, out of the blue, all your plans are cancelled and you are forced to spend the day cocooned in your bed with Netflix automatically streaming episode after episode. I am, of course, talking about: snow days!
It turns out Greece has them too, only they are called strikes. Public transportation was disrupted twice this week because of strikes (read more about the details of why here, as I am not even slightly qualified to discuss them). On Tuesday and especially on Thursday, busses and metro trains shut down for hours at a time. If you aren’t expecting this, it can be quite a hassle. Luckily, friends told me what to expect and now I have an up-to-the-minute website bookmarked to forewarn me about future strikes.
On Tuesday, public transit shut down from 11:00 am – 4:00 pm. That meant I had to leave home two hours early to guarantee I would get downtown before everything stopped. It turned out pretty great, since I had a slow breakfast in a nice cafe and then went book shopping (described here). I went out to eat with some classmates after our lesson, so by the time I returned to the metro station in Syntagma, everything was running smoothly.
On Thursday, things were worse. The metro was shut down during the hours I needed it, and I shied away from the idea of using a bus to get from Doukissis Plakentias to Syntagma. On a good day that would make my one-way trip about 2.5 hours, which would be 5 hours total for a 3 hour class. My teacher was totally okay with me skipping, so I did!
Though by “skipping” I mean I went to the Petrou’s house and helped Dina respond to emails for three hours. She gave me coffee, fruit, and lunch, though, and I am easily bought (plus that is, sort of, the whole reason I’m in Greece). Their son had ventured partially into the city, and his bus was delayed an hour because of all the unusual traffic, so I felt very confirmed in my delighted decision to skip class.
Strikes! I’m a fan (as long as I know they are coming and can plan accordingly).