Maison Paradiso’s Utopia, and teaching aerial in Athens

In September, I went to Athens to teach an aerial seminar for ten days. This was very exciting, as it was the first time I have been commissioned to teach in another country, and also very nerve-wracking as I was asked to teach beginners and advanced silks, hoop and trapeze- the latter of which was my first aerial love but an apparatus that I have barely visited over the course of the past 7 years.

The night that I left to head to Athens I had an aerial hoop gig in Bristol prior to my bus leaving. It was for Maison Paradiso‘s event ‘Utopia’, a luscious pop up restaurant held on the stunning top floor of the Arnolfini. Complete with breath-taking harbourside views, stunning performances accompanied the audience through their evening meal and onwards into the night. I performed aerial hoop, and had a lovely time despite the hoop being extremely low to the ground. I had to adapt my act a little to fit into the space, but it was fairly easy to do this with a little tweaking.

As soon as I finished the gig, it was home to finalise my packing and off to catch my bus to Heathrow for my 6.45am  flight to Athens. Christina, who had booked me for the week, met me at the airport and she drove me to her Mum’s place where I would stay for the week. In fact, I was actually in a private flat downstairs from her Mum’s place, in my own apartment! When we arrived, I was greeted by her Mum and some incredible home-cooked Greek food (stuffed peppers and spanikopita- my favourite! Yum!!!). I have to say, I felt very spoilt whilst I was there, coming home to amazing Greek food most nights, so lucky!

The next day (Monday) I was taken to the space where I would teach for the week. It was a nice space to work in, and had an air conditioning unit, luckily for me as it was pretty hot in Athens.

I taught two silks classes on the first day, and two mixed trapeze/ hoop classes on the next day, and so forth for 6 days. The classes went really well, and overall I was really happy with the outcome. From the beautiful feedback that I got from students and coordinator alike, I believe that everyone else was very happy with how the week went as well.

It was a fairly busy week, what with stealing a few hours each day to take in sites of Athens, and grabbing a dip in the ocean every now and then despite having an acute middle ear infection in both ears and not being allowed get my ears wet. It did make for pretty interesting swimming techniques I must admit- I….WILL….GO…..SWIMMING!!!! Haha! I tell you what though, the sight of police dressed in riot gear with machine guns at their sides in the centre of town was mildly disturbing to say the least. It was a year since the riots in Athens, and they were expecting it all to kick off again, though I am not aware of anything actually happening.

When I finished work for the week, I had a couple of days free before heading back to London and so went on a little adventure to a nearby island called Agistri. It was only about an hour and a half by ferry to the island, and when we arrived it was very quiet. We checked into our hotel (Hotel Agistri- if you ever go there, the hosts at this hotel were really lovely and helpful, I would recommend them!) and went for a swim as soon as possible.

The beach near the hotel was not exactly the most amazing beach I have ever been to, but being Australian, I am beginning to realise, means that I am forever spoilt to beaches the world over- as they say, there’s no place like home! ;). I have to say though, the turquoise colour of the water sure did it’s best to make up for that!!!

I had a lovely time on Agistri Island. It is small, relatively quiet, but perfect for a quick island getaway from Athens due to it’s close proximity. On our only full day there we hired mopeds and literally drove around the entire island seeing all that it had to offer, and even taking the plunge and going off the beaten track to hunt for the sunset, which always seemed to be on the other side of the island!

The trip ended in an early morning adventure back to the mainland and all the way to the airport, only to have us stuck on the plane for three hours whilst British airways dealt with a faulty plane. They then sent us back to Athens to stay an extra night in a 5 star hotel while they fixed the plane, sending us back to the airport for an apparent 8am rescheduled flight. This flight did not actually leave until 1:40pm (exactly 24 hours after our scheduled flight was supposed to leave the previous day). Needless to say, this eventuated in me pulling out my coveted minirig and computer and playing some tunes. It was so funny, I had people young and old tapping their feet- in fact, getting up out of their seats after so many ridiculous hours stuck in the airport waiting rooms- and dancing!! It was an amazing sight- goes to show you the power of music!

A hilarious finish to a somewhat annoying end to the trip.

Posted on 27th October 2014