I will separate my Greece trip into a few different posts to avoid having one excessively long post about Greece. I spent 12 wonderful days in Greece and split my time between Athens and Santorini with the majority of the trip being spent in Santorini. I’ll share restaurants that I absolutely loved, excursions, how to get from island to island and accommodation.
My journey began in Madrid where I flew Swiss Air into Zurich and from Zurich flew into Athens. I believe this was my first time flying Swiss Air and it easily became one of my favorite airlines. The customer service was exquisite and after flying RyanAir so often, I was more than appreciative of the snacks and drinks I was given on my flights. On the first flight from Madrid to Zurich, we received a pastry with some sort of filling and it was absolutely delicious but it got even better! Near the end of the flight, the flight attendants walk down the aisle carrying a basket FILLED with Swiss chocolate and you help yourself to the chocolate. Swiss chocolate is one of my ABSOLUTE favorites! The chocolate was so good and made me a very happy girl! Then on the flight from Zurich to Athens, you receive a meal. Not a huge fancy meal but a meal that is just enough to keep you satisfied for the duration of your flight. The meal of our flight was pasta, chicken pesto with bread, cheese and pudding. When booking your flight you are asked if you have dietary limitations or any allergies which I find pretty helpful.
Ok, now on to the good stuff, Athens! I arrived in Athens around 1am on the morning of March 18 and then left for Santorini on March 19 and returned to Athens March 27 until I left for Madrid on the 29th. The first night in Athens, I stayed at Athenstyle right outside of Monastiraki Square. This location was amazing and VERY centrally located. The hostel was about a three minute walk away from the Monastiraki Square where there is a metro, many restaurants and shops. Monastiraki Square is also where you walk through to get to the Acropolis and other ancient ruins.
My first day in Athens was decent but not how I had hoped at all. The day started out sunny and then by midday, it was cold and rainy. I of course was not sure how much time I would have in Athens again so I had no choice but to brave the weather and make my way to the Acropolis to take my pictures. The actual Acropolis closes at 3 as do most of the ruins with the exception of the Old Olympic Stadium, which closes at 4. Luckily I had packed a shower cap since I arrived to Greece with my hair straightened, so I returned to my hostel to get my shower cap then headed back out. I didn’t have an umbrella and really didn’t want to buy one. I made due with my shower cap and although I received a few side eyes, I didn’t care because all I knew was that my hair was going to last for these photos!
I was bummed that the Acropolis was closed once we got there, but ended up getting amazing shots when I returned before going back to Madrid. I still took photos even though the weather wasn’t the best, but it stopped raining and so I made the most of it. I will admit I was a bit nervous just because I know how wild and crazy my hair can get when exposed to humidity. Luckily it wasn’t too humid and my hair stayed in place and was gone with the wind fabulous! Everything was going great, I was enjoying the views overlooking basically all of Athens standing by the acropolis and the photoshoot. Everything was picture perfect until WE ALMOST GOT ROBBED! YES, you read that correctly.
My roommate and I ALWAYS take photos/have a photoshoot whenever we travel. Photos make for good memories plus who doesn’t love an amazing photo of themselves? Now on to the story of how I almost got robbed in Athens. Of course in pictures you want to look almost perfect! You don’t want your jacket and purse or backpack on. Naturally I took my leather jacket off and my leather backpack because I didn’t want it in my shot and set it down between where my roommate and I were standing. So My roommate was on one end and in the middle is both of our jackets and both of our bags. My roommate was posing and I was holding the camera trying to get my hand steady and figure out where I needed to stand and how to angle the camera to get the perfect shot of her and the Acropolis all in one frame. While I was in the midst of this, my hair was getting in my face due to all of the wind and then the wind was blowing little particles into my eyes as well. I hope you now have a picture in your imagination of how things were at this point. Since I’ve been traveling a lot I’m well aware that you need to ALWAYS be aware of what is going around you, the people around, etc. So while the average person who doesn’t know me at all would most likely think that I was very distracted and not aware of anything else happening besides the frame I trying to capture. I saw the three teenage boys get up from where they sitting and followed them with my eyes, then one looked to his left and looked to his right before meeting my gaze directly into his eyes. I quickly shouted, “I dare you to try it, I suggest you walk away right now.” Looking back at it now, I probably shouldn’t have yelled at him but it was my natural reaction. My fight or flight response kicked in and automatically went into fight mode. The boys then tried to leave quickly while I was busy being dramatic and causing a scene assuring that everyone that was at the Acropolis at that time knew that they were trying to steal our stuff and could possibly try to steal their stuff as well.
After all of the commotion we headed back to the hostel for a bit before heading back out to find some dinner. For dinner we stumbled upon a restaurant that wasn’t anything spectacular but was cheap, which was right up our alley. I had a soulvaki while my roommate had saganaki (fried cheese). After dinner we went to a bar called the 360 bar which has an amazing view of the Acropolis, which is lit at night. After enjoying a glass of wine and the view we headed back to our hostel because we had an early start the next morning.
The next morning we had a ferry to catch at 8am. We took the Blue Star Ferry from the port of Paireus to Santorini which was about an eight hour trip. The Ferry was more or less like a cruise ship. There were restaurants and many food options, the deck where you can go out and sit and eat, air seats (assigned) and personal cabins onboard as well. Since it wasn’t high season, I opted not to buy an assigned seat and take my chance because worst case scenario it would be an experience to write about. Not buying an assigned seat turned out to work just fine. I found a round table right by a window with 2 chairs and I made a bed which would do for the entirety of the trip. I had my neck pillow and my jacket so I was quite comfortable. Conveniently, by our table there were two outlets so we were able to charge our phones and electronic devices.
By 4PM we had finally made it to Santorini! Click here to read about Santorini!