I visited Greece with my friend Kate after we visited Italy. When we arrived in Athens, we went on a bus tour of some different places in Athens. We saw their “Hellenic Parliament” government building with a Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, where the guards were dressed in a very traditional ensemble and were not allowed to move. It was boiling hot, sunny, and 95 degrees; I don’t know how they did it! We also saw the Stadium where the very first Olympics were held. It’s been redone and preserved really well, but the location and design are the same. It was so much smaller than the spaces they reserve for the Olympics nowadays! We also got to walk along a part of the road that used to be a track for the marathon, with the lanes still drawn on and everything. Apparently people still run this marathon every year, and some people do it in full armor!
After that, we visited the Acropolis, which is where the Parthenon and the Temple of Athena (Nike Temple) are located. We had to hike up some stairs for about ten minutes, but it was absolutely worth it! The views were incredible. Over one ledge there is a theater called Herodes Theatre that they still use today for outdoor concerts. When we got to the top, the views of Athens and the mountains were amazing. You could see the ocean and basically the entire city from how high up we were. The Parthenon and the Temple of Athena were massive and really pretty. We then stopped to get lemonade slushies from a stand at the bottom of Acropolis, because it was so hot. On the walk back, we did some shopping.
Dinner in Athens
For dinner we went to a restaurant that was outside in this shady little area. It was really cute and someone was playing music for us. Bri and I split saganaki, a Greek salad, and a pork gyro. It was actually pretty disappointing! The saganaki was hard, like it had been previously cooked and then reheated. The Greek salad had no dressing, and was basically large chunks of tomatoes instead of lettuce. The pork in the gyro also tasted previously cooked, because it was also kind of hard. The only good part of the dinner was the feta. For dessert they gave us greek yogurt drizzled in honey, which was actually great. There were 42 of us, and the waiter wouldn’t split up our bill OR let us use credit cards. It was so frustrating because he was super mad that we had even asked.
We also ate dinner in Athens our last night before flying back to the US. This experience was much better! We had made a reservation for the group prior, and they had a lovely 3 course meal for us, and candles everywhere, and it was really nice for everyone to enjoy time with the group before parting separate ways.
Saronic Islands (Poros, Hydra, and Aegina)
It was another hot and sunny day, which made it a PERFECT day for the boat. The boat was pretty big (3 levels), and tons of tables and places to sit. There was a bar and lunch included, and we started the morning with mimosas. We stopped at three different islands to explore, and we got to swim in the Aegan sea. Dolphins even followed our boat and were playing in the wake.
The first island we stopped at was Poros, and Kate and I went to this little cafe and got a cold mocha cappuccino iced drink, and it was the best thing I have drank on this trip! The second island we stopped at was Hydra. There were these little steps leading down the side of a cliff to a flat cement area that we could jump off of into the ocean, which was so awesome. The final island we stopped at was Aegina, and we tried to lay out on the beach, but it was very rocky. Basically all day we were able to relax on our little boat and get tan, so I can’t really complain about that! Both Kate and I felt a little motion sick at night before we went to bed, but we thankfully both felt better in the morning.
We took a ferry called the Blue Star at 7:30AM to Mykonos! I’ve heard that this island is basically a party island, so it’s a good thing Bri and I have been staying really rested this whole trip so far! We took some motion sickness medicine just to make sure we were okay. The ferry was so big that we honestly couldn’t even feel that we were moving. The trip there was almost 5 hours, and thankfully we had nice giant seats that lean back, and the boat even had restaurants and shops on it!
The hotel we stayed at on the island was called Akti Irini, and it was right off of the ocean with a beautiful infinity pool. It was by far the nicest hotel that we stayed in so far. All of the buildings and houses on the island were white with blue shutters.
We went to one of the most popular beaches on the island called Paradise Beach, and it definitely was beautiful. When we arrived, we were not aware that clothing was optional, so that was definitely a surprise! We laid out our towels on some chairs and just relaxed as a group with the others that we were traveling with.
After the beach day, Kate and two other girls we met decided to grab dinner at a restaurant next door to our hotel. It was called Cayenne, and it had a ton of outdoor seating, which was perfect because we were just in time for the sunset. Right as we were ordering our food, Kate accidentally knocked the candle off our table and the shattered glass and hot wax went all over the floor. She kept apologizing, but the waiter was so nice and told her not to worry about it. The food at this restaurant was AMAZING!
Mykonos Boat Cruise
Our final day on the island we went on a boat cruise around the southern beaches of Mykonos. The first stop was a cave that we went into; it was really pretty, but it was so tiny that we thought our boat was going to get stuck. The second stop was a private beach called Cyclades. The people who were working on the boats set up a little tent with bread, olives, and wine for us to snack on. We went snorkling here, but it was kind of a bummer because it wasn’t as exciting as they made it sound to us in the beginning; there were only a few grey fish. The third stop of the day was for lunch – which was supposed to be a BBQ and ended up being at a restaurant. As soon as we got off the boat, a bunch of us started feeling really dizzy like we were still rocking on the boat. Lunch was wine, a chicken leg with potatoes, and a greek salad (with one sliver piece of lettuce, and a million tomato chunks). It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t very exciting either. A bunch of us ended up going back early and skipping the last beach to relax and enjoy the pool at the hotel.
One of the girls that was traveling with us had a friend on the island that brought an ATV / four wheeler over that he had rented. We took turns riding around on it for a little while, and it was really beautiful. We saw so many people riding them since the roads were really narrow and not paved.