Before I get started on this post, I need to give you all a little bit of background information. As a young girl, I had dreams of traveling the world. I loved studying the ancient history of the world and concluded at age 11 that I wanted to travel to see the Colosseum in Rome, Great Wall of China, and the Acropolis in Athens. When I was 14 years old, I took my first trip to China and stepped foot on the Great Wall. At age 17, while attending college, I worked as a waitress on the weekend to save up enough money for a two week trip to Europe where I was able to see the colosseum, walk down ancient streets, etc. The last thing on my childhood bucket list was Athens. Athens, oh Athens… I had read about this great city in my history books, and gazed at the magnificent Acropolis in travel magazines for hours. For 13 years I had dreamed of going to Athens, and as we were leaving the island of Santorini, this dream was finally going to come true. But to be honest, we left Santorini with variety of emotions… we had fallen in love with that little island, and if time had permitted it, I think we would have stayed for several more weeks. Oh well, the theme of our trip had been “we can’t do everything.” We put it on our mental list of places we’d love to visit again and boarded our evening ferry to Athens. We arrived in Athens late at night and barely caught the last subway ride to our hotel. The next day we set out to explore the city. We slowly made our way to the Acropolis… passing ancient ruins tucked away in the bustling city. We eventually made it to the Acropolis… Apparently around the same time everyone in the city decided to visit it. And then we saw it the beloved Parthenon Temple… Wait, no, that’s what I imagined I would see… this is the scene that greeted us: “What happened to the beautiful postcard-perfect Parthenon Temple from all of the travel magazines?” I was so disappointed… Ugh, stupid scaffolding! Well it goes to say that we tried really hard to get photos without a million medal bars cluttering up the pictures… We discovered that the backside of the Parthenon was nearly scaffolding-free (nearly!). Greek yogurt does taste better in Greece, just trust me on that! Athens is a mixture of the old and the new. While we enjoyed our time there, it didn’t meet our expectations (which goes to say that it is far better to throw your expectations out the window before traveling… if you do, you’ll never be disappointed). Actually, I should say that Athens didn’t meet my expectations. Jared didn’t come to the city with expectations and ended up enjoying it more than I did. The city had some really nice areas, but also some rough parts… We didn’t get any pictures of those areas though; I guess we were just too concerned for our lives to even think about photos! Oh, and trying an authentic Greek salad is a must! Mmmm… Delicious! Well, after I got over being disappointed in my not-so-perfect Acropolis experience, I was really happy that we had made the trip to Athens and that I could complete my childhood bucket list. Next up is our road trip through the United Kingdom!
Well, the time came for us to leave Turkey and head to Greece! After a nice breakfast in Bodrum, we jumped on a local bus and headed back to town to catch our ferry. Going through customs was a breeze… We were on our boat and heading to Greece in no time! Our first stop was Kos, Greece. We spent the day there and we were both very impressed with how much we liked that little island. Our ferry to Santorini didn’t leave until evening, so we had the whole day to explore Kos. We found a local hotel that would store our luggage and let us use their wifi and lobby for 5 euros. After dropping our bags, we went to check out the local restaurants. We knew it was coming… we were finally in Europe and things weren’t cheap anymore. We ended up at a small super market and found some ham, cheese, mayo and bread–all for under 5 euros and it was enough both lunch and dinner!Since Kos was just a layover for us, and Santorini was the “real” destination, we didn’t do any research about the island prior to our arrival. We were quite surprised at all of the sites we got to see. To start off the day, we went to see the old ruins of Asclepieion. We also went to check out the Castle of the Knights of Saint John. We learned a lot about Kos and it’s history as well. For an example, we had no idea that Hippocrates, the Father of Medicine, was from Kos (yes, I do feel I should have known this with my background in health, but what can I say, I learn new things everyday!). Just a few hours after being in Greece and we were already in love!And not to mention the food… fresh Gyros… amazing!As we boarded the ferry, we felt like we were boarding a cruise ship. It was huge and luxurious. Such a nice form of travel.
After our layover on Kos, we boarded our ferry in the evening and finally arrived in Santorini around 1am. As promised, someone from our hotel was waiting to at the port to give us a ride to the southern tip of the island. To our surprise, the lady who owned the hotel stayed up until we arrived and warmly greeted us and gave us a bottle of wine from her husband’s winery.I don’t think I can come up with the words to express our stay in Santorini. Neither Jared or I were expecting to fall in love with that little island… but it stole our hearts away. The breakfast provided by our sweet host was something we started looking forward to every morning. Beautiful Greece… beautiful Santorini! The volcanic island of Santorini is known for many things, one of which is it’s unique black sand beaches.We were able to save money by shopping at the little local market, and eating Gyros the rest of the time!For only 15 euros a day, we could rent one of these bad boys!We had so much fun exploring the island on our little motorbike. Folks, welcome to Santorini!Can you imagine living here? We felt like we were walking through a postcard.Of course, stopping by the local gyro shops was always a must!We had originally only planned to stay in Santorini for two days… but two days turned into three, which ended up turning into a whole week!
In between laying on the beach, we tried to see and explore as much as we could of this little island we didn’t want to leave.We hiked up the mountain to explore Ancient Thira…Of course, every acti We also learned that the ancient ruins of Akrotiri were on the island. Supposedly Akrotiri is the ancient city Plato had in mind when writing his tales of Atlantis. It was only in the late 1960’s that ancient Akrotiri was discovered… and archeologists estimate that they’ve only uncovered about one third of the city. The entire site is covered and indoors to help preserve this ancient site. We filled the rest of our time on exploring the island, watching sunsets, and relaxing on the beach. Finally the sad day came for us to leave… and mixed feelings we boarded our ferry and headed to mainland Greece!