Time has its way of moving forward even when that’s not our intention. In this case, I let time slip right past me, and five months later I finally am getting around to typing up some memories about my trip to Greece. I’ve found that without pictures and writing, I don’t have the best memory. That being said—mostly, this is for me, but if you’d like, you can follow along and keep reading… it will be long!
I had the opportunity to visit Greece last summer with my two cousins, Klarissa and Karleena. Klarissa really wanted to spend her 30th Birthday in Greece, and she invited me along. We left early on a Sunday. This was going to be Karleena’s first plane ride and both of their first time outside of America, so to say we were excited is an understatement. There is not much I enjoy more than experiencing a first with someone!
We got to the airport in Atlanta and checking in was a dream- I couldn’t believe it! There was not any waiting in any lines. I warned my cousins that it’s not usually like this and shared how lucky we were! The first plane ride was a breeze- we flew to New York and had just enough time to get some food before hopping on the next plane to Greece! This flight was 9 hours, and I started maybe 5-6 movies; the only one I actually finished was Moana. I tried to read as well, but my main goal was to sleep which was surprisingly successful…well, sort of.
We arrived in Greece around 10am (3am in the USA) the next day, and despite our plans to rest, we probably roamed the entirety of central Athens! Before the day was over, we had seen and tasted so many new things: Greek coffee, Greek salad, gyros, taziki sauce, and the best feta cheese!!!
The culture shock was real. Half of the time I felt like I was frozen in time and space, even though I was moving a mile a minute! This new world was spinning around me, and I was so, so, so happy. Did you know the generic wave Americans give one another is offensive in Greece? It’s equivalent to flipping someone off in America. That was probably the hardest thing to remember!
We learned quickly that Grecians are very straight forward, yet friendly people… IF you’re not running around like an excited tourist, and on the first day, we certainly were. If you do find a Grecian who is willing to give you directions, prepare to hear it said like this: “Go down three streets… turn right.. go down 1..2..3..4 more streets…no, 3 streets…turn left, and it’s right down that street.” Thanks. That helped a lot!
On day two, my excitement led me to purposely skip a step in our apartment, which hurt my knee to the point that I couldn’t walk without pain. This also just happened to be the day I booked a walking tour (a two hour tour that ended up being three hours). On the way to the tour, we sat down to people watch and drink some coffee (pro tip: when in Greece, drink the coffee EVERY morning. It’s only like $1.50 a cup!). What did I do at our coffee stop? I LEFT MY PHONE where I was sitting! I went back to get it, and it was gone. I was very upset about this, because I LOVE taking pictures, and there’s a lot of personal information that is stored on one’s phone! I tried calling Verizon-no luck. I tried calling Apple-no luck. Apparently, the time difference makes a difference! I went into the Starbucks, and a nice local let me use his computer so I could maybe erase the information on my phone from my iCloud. Again, I had no luck. We walked a mile and a half to an Apple store where I was reassured that since I had a passcode on it, my personal information was safe. Then, I went the entirety of the week without my own phone. I took pictures on my cousins’ phones instead.
The tour was amazing despite the pain I walked through. I definitely recommend Athen’s Free Walking Tour. It’s absolutely free, but I recommend giving a tip to the tour guide, since they do such a good job! The tour guides are merely volunteers who love their city so much they have a passion to show people around and share the history. We saw all kinds of amazing sights on the tour and learned a lot of interesting facts about the temples, Aristotle, the Olympics, etc.
One of my favorite days was the day that we decided to take a day trip to the Temple of Poseidon. It was about an hour and a half bus ride along the coast of Athens. What this meant is that if you got a window seat, you spent over an hour looking at the beautiful sea! What a view! The Temple of Poseidon is completely surrounded by water, rightly so, since in Greek mythology, he is the god of the sea. We got there and enjoyed more coffee, sat by the temple, and took in the view for a while.
Another memorable day was my cousin’s birthday. We had good intentions on this day to go to the Parthenon, since her wish was to take a picture with it in the background for her 30th Birthday. We got up early, headed to the national garden only to learn that the President of France was in town so this meant that none of the national buildings or sights were open! It all ended up working out for us, though, because we decided to be locals instead of tourists! We went to the post office (which operated much like a DMV here in the States where you take a ticket and wait until your turn), the grocery store, and the bank. Klarissa was able to order herself some sandals from the famous shoemaker, Melissinos’s, shop. He has made leather sandals for the Beatles and other celebrities! His website is found here. The night ended with us (mainly Klarissa) dancing down the streets and a street performer asking her to sing with him. They sang a song on the spot we titled, “It’s My Birthday, Now.” Ask me later to see the video. 😉
That night, we had Italian food, which was interesting to say the least, since we were in GREECE. It was one of those moments where you’re starving but every restaurant is way too busy except “that one”. Side note: nightlife in Greece is robust, and most people eat after 9pm!
On Friday, we finally got to visit the Acropolis! We spent the day exploring everything it had to offer, continuing to live like locals by taking multiple coffee breaks, and really soaking in everything Greece had to offer. The Acropolis was beautiful in person, and the trek up the hill to get there is full of history lessons and sights to see. That night, we had a fancy dinner at a restaurant with live Greek music and a beautiful view of the Acropolis. *sigh*
On our last day there, we spent the day at the beach. While many of the beaches were rocky, there is a sandy one we found about 30 minutes by bus from Athens. Greece has some of the most beautiful waters and sunsets I have ever seen.
Greece was amazing, and I loved that people naturally understood how to pronounce my name for the first time in my life! If I get the chance, I will definitely return! In the meantime, I can’t wait for my next adventure in Thailand. I’ll try to update you sooner this time!
P.S. Here are a few more of my favorite pictures!