Oh what can I say about that wonderful country except that, surprisingly (from my point of view, but maybe not from yours) I fell head-over-heels.
I could wax poetic about the views, the history, the food, the people…and I most surely will.
But first, let’s discuss everything that went wrong on our trip–and why it was still wonderful.
One. I spent hours carefully planning our scant one day in Athens (because the first mistake was thinking that two nights = two days). The first thing that went wrong? Our flight was quite delayed so we didn’t even arrive in Athens until after one in the morning, much less to our hotel. This put a damper on my wake-early-to-see-it-all plan, especially as it was already near the end of an exhausting week.
Two. On our arrival, we found out that there was a metro/transit strike so all of my careful planning went out the window. After purchasing hop-on/hop-off bus tickets, we headed out, slightly later than planned but still ready to stick to the plan.
Three. March 25, the day after our arrival, is Greek Independence Day. Now, this had not completely escaped my notice–I had stumbled across this fact when looking up Easter closures in the country, of which there were none because the Orthodox Greeks don’t celebrate Easter until later–but did not think this would impact anything the day before. How wrong I was! Nearly everything closed early that day, meaning that the late start had effectively ruined our plans. This also meant that there was an insane amount of traffic due to parades, and to the transit strike.
Four. After to being stuck in traffic for much longer than anticipated (albeit at the top of an open-air bus, so at least we were kind of sight-seeing), we arrived at the National Archaeological Museum in the early afternoon. Since I knew we should spend at least several hours in this museum, and the traffic just seemed to be worsening, we decided to scrap this activity (WAH) and head to the Acropolis instead.
Five. We got lost on the way to the Acropolis. Not a bad thing, but it did mess up our timing even more!
Six. I really didn’t think Athens would be that crowded in March–it is the off-season after all, Google assured me!–but off-season in Greece is still in Greece, one of the most visited places in the world, so there were still really long lines. We decided to wait until nearer to closing time for the Acropolis (which we were told was 4) and head to the Acropolis Museum instead, in an attempt to avoid the long line.
Seven. Our exhaustion completely caught up with us at the museum, and we knew if we didn’t go to the Acropolis we might not make it. So we did…luckily, because it was actually closing at THREE! We scrambled up to the top at 2.30 on the dot.
Eight. I had really wanted to see the Temple of Zeus, so after the Acropolis we headed straight there. Of course, even though it was supposed to close at 5, it had also closed at 3, so I had to make do with peering through the gates with about fifty other tourists.
Nine. Santorini’s off-season really is off. We stayed in two small villages and nearly everything was closed. Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing unless you want to eat. Which we did, a lot, because Greek cuisine might be the best ever.
Ten. Santorini is windy and it can be freezing. I had looked up the weather ahead of time–and decent 60-70 degrees fahrenheit the whole time!–but the wind dropped it to much colder than that. I was not prepared.
After reading this, you probably think I’m the worst traveler in the world–but it just goes to show, that even if you think you are preparing well, you can never plan for everything that could go wrong. It’s an important lesson for a type-A planner like myself.
The best lesson?
Even with everything that did go wrong in Greece, I still really loved that country. I can’t explain why–especially with how difficult it was to navigate–but there is just something about Greece that pulled me in and left me wanting more. I can’t wait to tell you everything! Until then, here are a few more teaser shots–the first of many since I only took about 300 pictures per day…
Did you get a break for Easter? What did you do?
Linking up with Travel Tuesday.