When my partner and I decided to make the big three month trip to Europe, Greece was first on our agenda. Arriving in Greece, My first thoughts were, “Wow, this place is so different than I expected”.
Piraeus, Athens was definitely not the water covered beachy island that I had pictured and dreamed about for the last 10 years of my life. The culture shock was real. Yet, once I opened my eyes and took in my surroundings, I began to see the true beauty of Athens in it’s preserved buildings, and roughly painted window shutters.
Unfortunately, I didn’t get to look around Athens, as I was set to take a boat to Mykonos the next morning, and the jet-lag was definitely getting to me.
On the second day of our trip, we boarded a boat to Mykonos. I was completely filled with excitement. I had all of my belongings in a backpack and I wasn’t looking back. The boat ride was so relaxing and the views were stunning; When it wasn’t just water, it was breathtaking rock formations.
The distraction of the views and the food and the atmosphere made the six hour trip go fast. Before I knew it, we were pulling up at a dock near, Mykonos. However, We had to take one more smaller boat to get there.The heat was on another level, I remember distinctly, thinking how hot it was. Suddenly, the clothes I was wearing seemed to stick to me. I was dying to rip them off and jump into the bright blue-green ocean.
Arriving in Mykonos, felt as though we had stepped into a different time-zone. The sun was beating down on us and our feet were on, what seemed to be an ancient artifact. The sandy colored gravel was as hot as the sun and we were very ready to get some food and explore.
Once we had finally found a small, open taxi bike type transportation to take us there, we went and checked into our cozy hotel room. The walls were painted white and the room had a Greek/ Mexican vibe to it, as did the rest of the hotel. Stepping outside, there was a brown/ rustic painted spa bath surrounded in cacti and hydrangea plants. The view was stunning, but after our trip, our stomachs were calling.
Heading out the main street of Mykonos, there were alleyways everywhere; very easy to get lost in as they all look the same, with painted white walls and floor as well as bricks, all painted white in colour (these are everywhere and are a symbol of peace after war), which they repaint every day.
We settled on a cute little restaurant with a view of the water and ordered Souvlaki, as well as some fried zucchini. Let me tell you, it was the best food we would try on the trip to Greece. An added bonus was, the waiter dropped a plait near us, and to apologize gave us a shot each of very strong vodka.
After being pleasantly surprised with the food and view, we went back to the hotel, as we were completely exhausted and jet-lagged from our trip. Waking up on the third day to another glorious warm morning, we decided to catch a bus to Ornos, after hearing two girls talk about a nice beach that way.
It turns out that any town in Greece is asleep until noon. Being alone on the beach, we took advantage of the free beach chairs (turns out they are actually not free in the busier periods of the day) and fell asleep in the sun.
After bathing in the warm air for a while, there were still no food places open, so we decided to head to Paranga beach and hike along the coast, from beach to beach. It seemed as though the beauty of each location just got better and better as they went along. We made our way to three beaches before we got tired and began our journey back.
You would think after all this exercise we would have gotten some sleep, yet we still hadn’t gotten used to the time difference and were in bed by 6pm; Better than 3pm like the night before!
On our fourth day, we enjoyed amazing dessert crepes on the water where we were staying, along with an unusual coffee that everyone in Greece seemed to have. The coffee was an iced latte with layers of creamy ice cream like milk and normal milk.
That day we decided to go on an archaeology tour. If you ever go to Greece, you absolutely need to do this! We booked the tour online and went with a group, yet wandered off on our own for most of it, and met up with them before our boat went back. Hearing the stories of where these preserved buildings came from and who lived in them, really gives you a good sense of history.
On day five, we began our boat ride to Santorini to stay for the remainder of our days in Greece. Santorini had a very different feel to Mykonos, in that it was more open and beachy, rather than the small blue city that Mykonos appeared to be.
Upon arriving, we were pleasantly surprised to find that our hotel room was very spacious with beautiful surroundings, unlike our very tiny Mykonos room. The Hotel had a large pool and beautiful atmosphere. On this day, we relaxed and settled in. We also found a lovely hidden restaurant in Thira. I had the most delectable Carbonara.
Day two of Santorini, we felt like checking out the local scenes rather than traveling too far. We found a local Hookah bar which was a really fun experience. Upon arrival, you pick your flavor and the size of the ‘bong’ and wait for them to bring it to you. It was really affordable and a fun time. The entire time we were sitting there, one of the workers was bringing us popcorn and water free of charge, which I noticed is a common thing in Greece.
In the afternoon, we decided to head out after all and went climbing up Skalos rock. Skalos rock proved to be sketchy, with loose gravel, yet beautiful, both in view and the rock itself. There were many people climbing it and even some dogs were making the hike too!
I recommend that everyone go visit the black beach. There is just something so cool about seeing a different colored sand. As well as being a great attraction, the black beach is placed perfectly in a spot that has many choices for restaurants and eateries. There are chairs on the beach but you have to pay for them, so just beware (we didn’t know this and got yelled at. If you go early enough in the morning you can sit there for free).
Last but not least, is the red beach. My absolute favorite place in Greece by far. This amazing place has red dirt, red sand, and is surrounded by breathtaking red mountains and beautiful water. On one of the mountains (pictured below), you can see a religious cross painted on it. I personally thought this was a beautiful addition to the view. One of the most amazing things about this beach, is the fact that there are permanently closed doors in the mountain that used to be houses many years ago. Sitting on this beach, watching the waves, I never wanted to leave.
On our last day in Greece, we went to OIA, which is a main city in Santorini. Here, we rode donkeys. A truly terrifying, yet amazing experience. Our donkeys were all attached by a rope to their harnesses, and we began the journey down the hundreds of steps to the bottom. There was a long cliff drop to the right of us, so it was quite an experience. My donkey kept wanting to be to the right of the donkey in front of it, so I was silently hoping I wasn’t about to be plunged off off the side of a cliff. Thankfully i’m still here, writing this article.
This concluded our trip to Greece. While I loved Greece, I felt as though I could have spent less time here, rather than my ten days in total.