Last month we met up with some family for a week in Greece. It was a week full of touring ancient sights, relaxing by the beach/pool, sampling local wines, and eating enough Tzatziki to feed an army. It was positively delightful and as with most of our trips, I learned a thing or ten. Here they are:
#1- The Parthenon really is impressive: One of my favorite classes in school was always ancient history (both in art history and history history) so going to Greece has been at the top of my bucket list since forever. Finally being in Athens and seeing the Parthenon in real life (even if crawling with 800 tour groups) was pretty damn great. As you walk around the city, you can generally have a view of it perched atop a hill and it’s just amazing to me that it has stood the test of time in spite of mankind’s best efforts to destroy it.
#2- You can get tired of columns: Don’t get me wrong, it was in.credi.ble. to see these ancient sites in person but after a certain point, all the columns – mostly in ruins – started to look alike and I found myself being over it. We even canceled our day trip up to Delphi because it sounded like it was going to be more of the same (and definitely not because we were out late drinking wine and rakı…).
#3- Throwing toilet paper in the bin is not that big of a deal: One thing I panicked about before going was the fact that you generally can’t throw your TP in the toilet. I mean you can but you shouldn’t because the probability of you flooding the bathroom with doodoo is super high. In the hotels, it’s not a problem because the bin is changed out every day but in Athens, we would be 4 people in an Airbnb with poop paper for 3 days. The horror, right? Luckily it was all fine. Our apartment was one that allowed you to flush and we just got used to it everywhere else. That is, unless your name is Jerry who could just not let it go. I swear if I had to hear him complain about the size of Greece’s pipes one more time…
#4: You can make lemonade out of strikes: On the day we were set to go to the island of Hydra, the boat ferries went on strike. It put our plans in a bit of a pickle but we ended up renting a car and making the 3 hour drive to a spot where we could catch a water taxi that wasn’t on strike. It ended up being one of the best things we did because driving down the coastal road was truly stunning.
#5- Oia in Santorini is lovely but stay elsewhere: There are three things I generally dislike above all others: crowds, lines, and cover charges (the last one is a bit outdated since I don’t really go to these types of bars anymore #oldballs). Oia – aka the village that encapsulates every photo you’ve ever seen of Santorini – is big on the first two on that list. It’s also super expensive and a pain in the butt to get to. Thanks to a friend’s recommendation, we stayed in Kamari Beach on the other side of the island and we were able to get a really nice hotel on the beach and had zero crowds, lines, or cover charges.
#6- Sunsets in Hydra are just as good as (if not better than) Santorini: Sunsets in Oia are famous for being the best sunsets of all time. What this translates to in reality is buttloads of people cramming themselves onto this one cliff (or grabbing an overpriced dinner at one of the restaurants lucky enough to have a view) to watch something that happens every day. I swear I’m not trying to hate on Oia but I found the sunset to be just as lovely in Hydra (photos are below for comparison — Hydra is on the left). That said, this could also be because I had a front row seat and I didn’t have to share it with 7000 other people and their selfie sticks (see #5 for self-proclaimed hatred of crowds).
#7- Hydra is well worth your time: If the sunsets aren’t enough to get you to Hydra, consider the following: it’s an easy day trip from Athens (unless the ferry boats go on strike…); it has some stunning beaches within an easy walk of the main port area; and it’s quiet and car-free with most things being transported by wagons or donkeys. It’s great. Just go.
#8- Santorini vineyards are pretty ingenious: We have done a lot of wine tours during our travels. Like a lot a lot. I could probably run a vineyard with all the knowledge I’ve amassed from these tours. So I was pleasantly surprised to learn a few things about the wine in Santorini from SAFOWI Tours. Due to the vast amounts of wind, sun, and other desert-like conditions, the Greeks came up with this way of having the vines grow in a wreath pattern and when the grapes start to fruit, they are protected within their own little basket. AND essentially, if it weren’t for the soil being comprised mainly of pumice (which helps hold in the moisture), the vines wouldn’t be able to grow at all. See? This blog can be totally educational. You’re welcome.
#9- Greek food should be the only food: I’ve always enjoyed Greek food but Greek food in Greece? It’s a whole new ballgame. I don’t think I had a bad meal the entire time. Between the Greek salads, souvlaki, kebabs, fava bean (split-pea) puree, stuffed eggplant, mounds and mounds of tzatziki…I never wanted to leave. I don’t have that many pictures of the food due to the fact that I generally devoured it the second it arrived.
#10- You can entertain yourself for hours watching a pigeon torment your husband: I always thought Jerry’s nemesis would be me. Turns out, it’s actually a pigeon that legit looked like it had been run over a few times by a hand cart. It would creep behind Jer until he shooed him away…over and over again. It happened at least four times before I started taping it. I know it sounds stupid as hell but it was blissfully entertaining. Any time I need a chuckle, I just pull up this video:
All in all, this was one of my favorite trips we’ve done. It had everything we love and we got to share it with people we love. A+ all around. I essentially forced Jerry to promise me 100x that we could go back the first second we could. So, if we don’t, you all are my witnesses that Jerry is a big ol’ liar.