Hiya – oh crap I’m sounding like a local British girl, next thing I’ll be asking people if they’re alright.
ANYWAY, I have just recently returned from my Greek getaway, and let me tell you it was AMAZING!
…No really, let me tell you about it.
Since I had no friends available to travel with me when I had time off, I made the very courageous decision (thousands of people have made this decision), to take on the world by myself. Technically I was only taking on a very small part of the world, and I was joining a tour, so not technically by myself, but still, I would like some credit.
The tour that I signed up for was operated by Busabout, called the Greek Island Flexi-Hopper. It began and ended in Athens, and included Mykonos, Paros, Santorini and Ios.
Like many people (and evidently Australians, since 95% of my tour group were from Australia), Greece was at the top of my bucket list, and it did not disappoint.
I’ll start with the people, who were oh-so friendly and very helpful. From the moment I arrived in Athens, there was always a local willing to help a very nervous (and somewhat clueless) 18 year old girl. From a lovely woman offering her assistance while in the line to purchase a train ticket, to the beautiful old woman who made sure I got off at the right stop, there wasn’t a moment when I felt overwhelmed or helpless.
I had expected more difficulty with acquiring help from locals, since I learnt only one Greek word before travelling (bad, I know). However, the locals were all happy to help me in English, and did not seem annoyed by having to do so (unlike some French locals).
The tour I was on spent 2 nights at each destination. The “flexi” part meant that I had the option of extending my stay at any of the islands, but I only had time for the minimum.
The islands were all breathtakingly beautiful. For those of you who question if the Greece photos on Google Images or Instagram are lying or photo-shopped (just like I did), they most certainly are not. The town streets include the grey stone paths, whitewashed buildings, and blue rooftops and windows, just like in the pictures.
The beautiful setting also made it extremely easy to re-enact the scenes of Mamma Mia. The trip included a beautiful melody of “Our Last Summer” on our boat trip around Paros, and some very questionable dancing to “Voulez-Vous” in Santorini.
Greece also puts on a show with every sunset, as you can see from the photo below. This photo was taken at Oia in Santorini, which we were told is the most famous sunset in the world. It was literally impossible to snag a photo without a head, camera or selfie stick in it, especially at my height!
I was also opened up to a whole new world of food, which I previously wouldn’t have even tried. I believe this is one of the best things about travelling. Since trying the food in Greece and liking 95% of it, I’m now willing to try different foods wherever I go. One of my favourite foods was the traditional Greek yogurt dressing, which I had on every gyros and souvlaki I ate (which was a lot, trust me). I also tried and enjoyed some fresh octopus, and had the best salmon of my life in Santorini. I am now hesitant to cook myself salmon, since I’ve resigned to the fact that I will never be able to cook salmon as delicious as that.
One of my highlights of the trip was learning traditional Greek dancing and plate smashing in Paros. The lovely gentlemen that taught us went through the steps slowly, which were all group oriented, and very fun to perform. The dancing also doubles as a way to work off (some of) the 4-course meal that the restaurant provides.
The dancing is then followed by plate smashing, which is a great way to get out any anger. Of course I had absolutely nothing to be angry about (I was on holiday in Greece for goodness sake), but that didn’t stop me from putting a fair bit of force behind my throw. And for those of you worrying about waste, worry no more, since the plates are made out of clay, and simply melted back down and reused next time. Apparently handing out 2 glass plates per person was not very economical.
Since returning from my holiday I have been asked numerous times which island was my favourite. I still haven’t come up with an acceptable answer, since I simply cannot pick a favourite. I loved every island for different reasons. The town streets in Mykonos were my favourite to wander through, the plate smashing and dancing in Paros was definitely a highlight, the Santorini sunsets were unbelievable, not to mention the thoroughly relaxing black and red sand beaches, and the night life in Ios was something else. I wouldn’t change anything about my trip if I were to do it all over again.
I could ramble on forever about how amazing my Greece trip was. But nobody wants to read that. Plus, it would be much more efficient for you all to just visit Greece in your lifetime and see what I’m raving about.
I know that’s not exactly possible for everyone. So I hope that I’ve given you a small insight into what Greece has to offer. I would highly recommend Greece as a holiday destination to anyone who wants to go. I’m extremely thankful that I was able to experience the magic of Greece, and it’s now time to start planning the next holiday… I’m thinking Amsterdam this time.