The food! My god the food! Let me just dive right in and let you know the food in Greece is worth the long long flight.
Thailand used to be my absolute favourite country that I had traveled to for taste, but Greece, my friends, is soul food! There is no other word for it. They slather with flavor, they skimp on nothing, they make the soul smile through absolute deliciousness.
Athens to me was just another city with the regular up and downs of city life. Like all cities you should have a level of caution, more so if a place is going through financial or political issues. We saw a few people sorting through the garbage looking for food, graffiti is easy to spot and there are many shops closed down. The "crisis" that happened to Greece is not something anyone there shy's from discussing, it is often brought up by the people while you are talking whether it be a taxi driver or a shop owner. Our driver from the airport lost his previous job due to the crisis so is now driving for a living, he said kids are graduating college and there are no job openings for them, and the money change from drachma to euros hit people hard. The crisis is on the mind and the ripples are deeply and honestly felt. As one Greek man described "the people used to be filled with more joy". I found there was joy where you looked, conversation between people always flowing, the love of ones country constantly showing, and it was easy to talk with friendly people. The apartment building balconies had beautiful plants growing everywhere, marble covered everything and the historical sights were awe-inspiring.
The time difference kicked out butts! We woke up the first day around two am and wandered the streets to find somewhere to eat with a gorgeous cool breeze flowing around us. It was a quiet walk among the uneven differently coloured sidewalk tiles and we were pleased as peaches to say no matter where you stop to eat, no matter what time of day the food will fill your soul with happiness. Our time clocks never quite changed properly but when you are travelling with the right person it doesn't really matter if you fall asleep at 4 am or 8 pm as long as your both messed up together.
Of coarse as a restless minded individual I brought a few books, one for pleasure and one for business, along with an audio book study of art as well. It is a wonderful thing to take a step away and reassess where you are, in any level of your life. It was good to take a breather and make sure I am heading along the right direction with my artwork and this trip did clear my head. I do hope you continue with me in my art journey and even if I take a wrong turn, or try out something that doesn't work, eventually I find my way again.
To keep this blog relatively short lets start the sum up. Athens highlights; besides the lovely, drool worthy meals, another memory to keep was seeing the historical sites: the Panathenaic Stadium (where we were caught wandering in restricted area) the University (my god to study there!), the National Library (was closed unfortunately and my book nerd self is still a bit sad about that), the Acropolis museum and the stunning Parthenon. I must say although we had a tour guide who talked.... alot..... causing me to constantly move my feet or pace a bit to keep my restlessness in check, it was really great information that I actually retained and a wonderful experience, this may be a sign of me aging. By complete chance we saw the passing of the Olympic torch on our excursion when walking down the marbled street too! Typing this makes me smile. I do feel the best things in life are the unplanned things.
And then comes the island, Santorini, aka possibly Atlantis. It. Was. Stunning.
Romantic, with clean white washed walls, beautiful landscape where you can watch the sunrise and the sunset glisten off the ocean, and a wonderful tourist place. I promise that you can eat all the food you possibly want while there without worry of travel weight because if you choose your villa/hotel properly like we unknowingly did you will have to climb at least 120 steps to get to the road that leads to all the shops and restaurants and therefore will burn off anything you possibly eat or drink.. this was my theory anyways.
There is always a learning experience in every excursion and this is one of the reasons I am a lover of travel. I have traveled to eight different countries within the last eight years and this was my first trip with a significant other.. and...ya... its different! We survived and had a wonderful trip together but my goodness was I so naive! It actually makes me chuckle at myself. I remember when we first arrived in Santorini, sitting drinking wine and beer on our own personal porch overlooking the ocean with the sun setting in the background thinking " how can people possibly fight when being in such a beautiful place". Then came day six where I'm thinking "I may kill him... but everyone will know". Random murderous thoughts aside we laughed every single day and I couldn't have asked for a better travel partner. It was nice to see someone so bushy eyed and excited about all the little things in travel that I have taken for granted over the years. He was even down for my random ideas, (I have these quite constantly) such as going on a hike to climb a rock face with a hidden church on the other side at sunset.. then as my camera and my phone ran out of batteries realizing we are out on a clifface with no lights and the sun is going to disappear. Luckily we had the most amazing scout, this random dog I called Spot, who lead us all the way to the church and back, patiently waiting as I took photographs on the way in or tried to catch my breath on the way out due to our much quicker pace.
The island was full of cats and dogs (more cats then dogs), all I am pleasantly pleased to announce were well feed, mange/flea free, friendly and cared for. This as you can imagine simply makes me love the place even more.
Travelers trip: the weather was more like fall due to the end of season there, it would say it was 20 degrees but felt more like 15 degrees max with the wind, so if you do want to go the best time is to go with the huge crowds when its sunny and warm.
My goodness I could type forever about the stunning island of Santorini but I know I have a rambling issue, so this is where I must stop. I would recommend anyone to travel to Greece, see the history, go to the islands, and my god bring me back some food!