Oh, Greece! So many amazing memories were made there!
As part of the teaching program that I am doing, all volunteers get approximately 2 weeks of vacation spread out throughout the semester! For my group, we get a 10 day, and two 4 day vacations. As soon as we got the dates for our vacations, we set about planning! Our 10 day came first, so there was a lot to do! We went from the original plan of going from London to Paris to Amsterdam to Venice to Rome to Greece. That is a lot to do in so few days! So after checking into costs, talking to parents who are coming to tour around Europe with us after the semester, and really looking at it; we narrowed it down to just going to Greece. THAT WAS THE BEST DECISION! Seriously, it was so nice to not be rushing everywhere trying to see everything in a short amount of time! Instead we got to take our time and really enjoy where we were! We split our trip into two places we spent 4 days in Athens, and 4 days in Santorini (the other two days were consumed entirely with flying… finding cheap flights often means long layovers…). I loved every second of the trip!
We went to Athens first, and I fell in love with that city! The Acropolis is absolutely breathtaking! Though I wish there were fewer people there, it was still so surreal walking around such ancient and historical grounds!
We spent an entire day on the Acropolis and the Acropolis Museum. Honestly, I could have spent forever in the museum just reading through all the Greek history! It was so interesting! But also, so very very hard to follow!
After browsing the museum, we set out to the city center to do a little shopping and grab some food! Have you ever had frozen Greek yogurt? No? Well, try it! It is to. die. for! Seriously, I ate so much sugar on this trip! Between donuts from street vendors, mini waffles topped with chocolate and gelato, frozen yogurt, crepes, and thats not even to mention the baklava! Oh the baklava!!!! Aside from the sweets, I’m pretty sure I ate my weight in gyros and tzatziki!!!
The next day, we toured through The Library of Hadrian, the Roman Agora, took a little detour and hiked a mountain, and then eventually found the Ancient Agora! I think our little detour to hike a mountain may have been my favorite part! But the Ancient Agora can certainly give it a run for its money (mostly because the lighting for pictures was amazing and it made my heart happy).
So why did we hike to the top of a mountain? We had seen a building on top of this mountain, and we wanted to know what it was. And in our pursuit of going to the Ancient Agora, we got lost, and decided to just follow this little trail that we hoped would lead us up to the thing that we had seen! So we did! We thought it was just gonna be a straight shot up to the monument and then back down, but we were wrong! Along the way we actually got to see the prison where Socrates was held! I thought this was so cool! The hike was not very difficult and the views from the top were amazing!
I loved the Ancient Agora though! Everything was very well preserved! And there was so much variety in the things that were held there! There were so many statues, and I loved seeing them! Other than in the Acropolis Museum, I had not seen many statues! It is so crazy to me that people were able to build such amazing buildings and carve such amazing statues without any of the modern technology we have today!
On our final day, we went to the Panathenaic Stadium. It is amazing!!! Anything to do with the Olympics always makes me happy! And they had a gallery showcasing Olympic posters and torches from all of the past Olympics (this only covered the summer games, which was kind of a bummer because I wanted to see the stuff from Salt Lake as a piece of home, but oh well). We also tried to go to the Temple of Zeus Olympeion, but we didn’t make it in time. So we took pictures from outside the gates and all was fine! Also, there was a protest that day! Right by where we were! Police were there in their full riot gear and it was honestly a little terrifying! But after we got away from that mess, we went back and had some more frozen yogurt (we may be addicted)!
Now on to SANTORINI!!!!!!!
Santorini was STUNNING! We stayed at THE BEST Airbnb! Seriously, if you are planning a trip to Santorini, stay with Zoi! She was the best host ever! She made us breakfast, gave us suggestions on places to eat, arranged a sailing tour for us, arranged a taxi to the airport, she did everything! She was the best ever! So seriously, follow this link for the best experience ever!
So sailing, the best money I have ever spent! It was so nice and relaxing and the crew were the nicest people ever! Plus, they served the most amazing food! You cannot go to Santorini and not take the sailing tour! I literally loved it so much!
As part of the sailing tour, they stop off at a hot spring and if you choose you can go swimming. After being told countless times that we could go, but it isn’t worth it because it was too cold, we ignored the advice and decided to go for a swim! And no, it wasn’t even cold! But, we were the only ones who went! And we had to swim out of view of the boat. So we decided it would be a great bonding experience to go skinny dipping in the hot springs in Greece! And yeah, that was pretty much one of the most fun things I have ever done!
The other thing I loved about Santorini, were the sunsets! They were absolutely amazing! We watched them from the boat during our sailing tour, and also from the black beach near our Airbnb! So amazing!
When we went to watch the sunset on the black beach, our Airbnb host must have sent her dog after us to keep us safe or something! Because after a few minutes, here comes Koa and his friend playing on the beach with us and Zoi was nowhere around! And when we went to leave, Koa got right up and led us all the way home! He would go ahead a little ways, then turn around and wait for us! It was my most favorite thing ever! It was so cute!!!!!
Anyway, that is all I have for today! The trip was amazing! But by the end, we were all really happy to come back to Lithuania and see our kids and our apartment! I love it here so much! But Greece truly is a must see! And there’s so much more that we didn’t see! I guess I will have to go back some day!