You know what Danny and Sandy said - Grease is the word. For me, Greece was the word for a week in October when I travelled there with nine of my friends for our week off from school! Within ten days, we got to see Athens, Santorini, and Corfu. This was my only trip that I took through a tour company - and I am so glad I did! It was a much-needed break from planning all my travel myself, from transportation to sightseeing. Our amazing tour company, Bus2Alps, planned the entire trip for us and I could not have been happier with the outcome. I completely recommend them for anyone abroad looking for a tour company. (P.S If you do book a tour with them, use the code LIBBY for a discount on any trip!) Here are all my trip highlights.
We flew into Athens and spent the first three days of our trip in the absolutely amazing city. I found Athens to be the absolute perfect balance of historical sites and some more fun, modern sights too. It was one of my favorite cities I have ever been to.
The Acropolis was definitely the most beautiful historical landmark I have ever visited. Situated high up on a hill, the climb to the top, where the Parthenon is located, is quite the hike and if you visit at peak times, can be quite the wait in line. But the views from the top are incredible, and I was truly mesmerized that the Parthenon was still standing (and in such great condition) so many centuries later. Pictured above, the Acropolis Theatre, known formally as the Odeon of Herodes Atticus, is still used today for concerts. And seriously, how freakin' cool would it be to see a concert here. I found this picture on the Internet of a concert at the Acropolis:
Ok. Seriously. HOW COOL would it be to go to a concert like this? A girl can dream.
Besides the Acropolis and Parthenon, we went to some awesome rooftop bars in Athens with incredible sunset views, did some shopping at Athens' many markets and lively streets, and ate some absolutely amazing Greek food. Growing up, every year my family would go to a Greek festival at a nearby Greek Orthodox church, and I have been obsessed with Greek food since. Moussaka, Spanakopita, Baklava, Greek salads, I. Love. It. All. The food in Greece, of course, did not disappoint and I still was not tired of it on the tenth day. It was a bit hard to bid goodbye to the city after such a short amount of time, but I was filled with anticipation for the days ahead.
Let me preface this by saying: never in my entire life did I think I would get the chance to go to Santorini. It has always been a huge dream of mine, but the island is pretty much in the middle of the ocean and not easy to access by any means, neither plane nor boat. However, our tour was able to take an eight hour ferry from Athens to Santorini and voila!
I was infatuated with Santorini from the minute we step foot on the island. It is just 30 square miles in area. For reference, that is about 1/40th the size of Rhode Island. Yet, in those 30 square miles, I swear the beauty, peace and magic could cover the entire rest of the planet. I was completely taken aback with Santorini's pure natural beauty. We visited Red Rock beach and Black Sand beach (which, for the record, does not have black sand - it's black rocks), which were both so stunning. I took the plunge at Black Sand beach and went for a swim in the ocean - although a bit cold, the water and view was unbelievable and I remember feeling such bliss with the sun shining down on me in that moment.
As a bonus, the sunsets in Santorini were the most vibrant I have ever had the honor of witnessing. The first night we were there, we were walking to dinner and I swear this sunset crept up on us. We just turned the corner and there it was, in all its glory. Sunrises and sunsets are one of those things that I think I will always have a special place in my heart for. When I'm anxious or nervous, the sun always reminds me that if nothing else, it is dependable. The sun will always rise and set at the end of every single day, and for some reason, that gives me peace and restores my faith.
Finally, my favorite part of Santorini was visiting the picturesque, postcard village of Oia. The deep blue roofs and bright white buildings you picture when you picture Santorini; that is Oia. When we arrived and started to walk through the little village, I felt such a wave of content and a kind of satisfaction wash over me. I had been dreaming my whole life of visiting Oia, and at only twenty years old, here I was. And I will proudly have you know I waited in line for half an hour to take my postcard-esque shot of Santorini.
Never heard of Corfu? Me either, friends! Until I had the chance to explore this lesser-known Greek island. Corfu is directly off the coast of Albania but still part of the country of Greece.
During our time in Corfu, we stayed at the most amazing "hostel," which was really like a resort, called the Pink Palace. Pictures do not do this place justice. Every single building, sign, bus, and wall is bright pink. It is breathtakingly awesome. We got to explore Corfu by ATV, which was so cool, spend time relaxing on the beach that was steps from our room, and attend a pink toga party at the club in the resort. It was the perfect end to a busy, adventure-filled week. The Pink Palace will definitely always have a piece of my heart and I actually miss it just writing this.
Our bedroom had a little balcony off of it facing the ocean. On the last evening we were there, we were leaving for the mainland at about 8pm, so we had all day to relax and chill on the beach. At around 5:30, I took some time to just sit on our balcony and take in the views. I sat out there alone, in complete silence, while my phone was charging inside and just took a minute. I reflected on how absolutely, indescribably lucky I am to be able to be exploring the world. I would have never been able to guess I would be sitting on the Greek island of Corfu at the age of twenty. When I was finished having my moment, I grabbed my phone to take this shot. I had been watching this sunset for over 45 minutes and truly did not know if I would ever see a sunset like this again.
My 10 days in Greece were definitely some of the best memories I have ever made, and I am so lucky I had the opportunity to take this trip. Maybe, just maybe, if I am lucky enough, I will be back one day.
Stay tuned for my upcoming posts about PRAGUE and LONDON!!
Just living, learning + loving and writing some of it down along the way. Senior + Director of Panhellenic Recruitment at Elon University in North Carolina. Currently interning + curating social for some badass clients at SFW in Greensboro, NC. Yogi, sightseer, shopaholic, foodie, writer.
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