Archive | 10:28 AM

Off Topic Thursday: Greece

26 Mar

I like to use Off Topic Thursday to talk about things other than books and reading. It seems there’s an obvious topic this month with the global pandemic, but I’ll save that for later and focus on the positives: my trip to Greece with my mom.

We left on a snowy Wednesday in Detroit. This proved to be problematic because we missed our flight in Paris and had to be re-booked. This became a small nightmare as we raced through the Paris airport with no boarding pass (thanks a lot, Air France!) and had to go through security three times. We did finally make it to Athens but our luggage was lost! We had only our carry on bags and were five hours later than planned. No matter, we found our AirBNB, dinner, and a bakery. Sleep was needed.

The next morning we stored our bags and went for an ebike tour of the city. This turned out to be one of my favorite things we did the whole trip. There was a mother-son pair from the states with us and our guide was amazing (and adorable). We saw a lot of the sights we planned to check out again later and got a great overview of the city. We spent a large chunk of the day getting our ferry tickets and some more clothing before venturing down to the port. We got ourselves only a little lost before finding our ferry to Santorini and settling in for the night.

The boat was supposed to arrive at 5AM but the captain announced around 3AM that we were unable to continue on due to high winds. We were in Mykos port and would be staying there until the national weather service gave us permission to continue. That ended up being 11AM so we did not arrive in Santorini until 3PM. It gave us just enough time to make it into Thira to watch the sunset while we ate dinner.

The next day was amazing. I went for a long solo walk in Thira before mom and I took the bus to Oia. If you’ve ever seen pictures of white buildings with blue roofs against a peaceful sea, it’s likely it was taken in Oia. The city was beautiful and we spent a few hours there just taking in the amazing view. We had a great breakfast on a balcony restaurant and I ventured a long walk down to the port at sea level. Exhausted, we made our way back to the hotel and to the airport to catch flights to Heraklion, Crete. We picked up my suitcase on the way and my mom’s was waiting at the hotel in Crete. Finally, we had our clothes!

I was surprised at how big a city Heraklion was. I hadn’t thought an island would have such a bustling city, but I should have guessed such a big island would! We spent the first day visiting the Archeological Museum and Knossos Palace. I had no idea that the oldest building from the most ancient civilization in the world would be a half-hour from our hotel! It was a great place to explore. We had fun that evening getting treats and watching people walk around the main square.

With our clothes returned, I finally went for a run the next day! The sea wall made for a great path and one that was hard to get lost on. We took a cooking class and sampled foods that we both fell in love with. We were surprised how many of the ingredients the women had picked from the mountains the day before! We just don’t have anything equivalent in Metro Detroit. We made our way to a beach so my mom could put her feet in the Mediterranean Sea and grabbed the biggest dinner I’ve ever seen before heading to the port to take another ferry back to the mainland. This one was massive and happily unaffected by the winds to get us to Athens bright and early the next morning.

It was Acropolis day! We started out early and took it slow due to a knee injury my mom has. We started with the new Acropolis Museum which was really informative and well done. It helped us understand a lot once we got to the buildings. There’s no easy way to access the ruins, you have to climb the hill. Once you get to the top, it’s really breathtaking. The remaining buildings are being restored to show their original glory. Some are further along than others and it made me really excited to see how much this will advance in my lifetime. We rode the tour bus for a full circuit to see the other sights from afar and used our city pass to see the Temple of Zeus ruins. I wonder if that monument will ever be reconstructed like the Acropolis.

We used our city pass to see a lot of remails the next day. We started at the stadium from the first modern Olympics which also serves as the finish line of the Athens Marathon (see picture 1). The Olympic nerd in me was in love. We saw the Lyceum, Hadrian’s Library, The Ancient Agora, and the Roman Agora. Needless to say, it was exhausting but absolutely amazing. We spent the evening on a rooftop bar, waiting for the lights to come on the Acropolis.

We used our final day to do a trip to Delphi and see the Oracle. We got on a tour bus and had a great tour guide tell us a lot of stories about the Oracle on our way there. The ruins themselves would have been lost on me if we hadn’t had the guide. She took us through the museum as well. The story goes that the women at Delphi were probably epileptic and were also exposed to methane which induced their ‘visions’ and accounts for the convulsions they’re said to suffer. It was amazing to see the artifacts that were found at Delphi from so far away because of travelers coming to the Oracle to hear their fortunes.

Our trip home was only a little stressful because of the Paris airport again. Honestly, I’ll never fly through PDG again if I can avoid it, it was horrible both ways. But we made it home on time and I got to see my loving husband again. It was an amazing trip and I’m so lucky to have made it home before the really crazy travel restrictions were put in place. I’ve been working from home since I returned, but that’s a story for another month.

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!