Well hello there Wanderers!! So here it is…the Greece Experience!
Although Greece was on my list of places that I wanted to visit, it was actually my mother that pushed me to book the ticket. Usually my mother will go wherever her kids want to go, but when she expressed that she was interested, I absolutely had to book this trip! So me, my mother, and my sister decided to do a quick girls trip to Greece.
After we booked, I started doing research and the consensus was that you could pretty much see all the local attractions on the main land in one day. I then decided, Santorini it is. I then booked tickets to Santorini using the domestic airline Aegean Airlines. It is cheaper to book plane tickets to local destinations from a major city by using a local airline. In Europe, Ryan Air is also great for getting around cheaper if you want to country hop. For instance, if you want to go to Paris but you see a really good deal to London, book the ticket to London and then book a separate ticket from London to Paris. It works out to be cheaper. Thank me later!
Anyway, back to Greece. We arrived to Athens at 10AM and our flight to Santorini wasn’t scheduled to leave until about 7pm. We checked our bags at the short term luggage storage in the airport and hopped in a taxi to the Acropolis and Acropolis museum. We had also planned to see the Temple of Zeus and wanted to eat and shop in Plaka. But just my luck, that day a lot of workers were on strike due to the economic crisis going on in Greece right now. Therefore, the whole downtown area was shut down and the traffic was unbearable due to a number of streets being closed. Thank God for flat rates or we would have paid an arm and a leg for that taxi ride. Because we did not want to miss our flight we were only able to see the Acropolis, Acropolis Museum, and the Panathenaic Stadium.
Well Santorini made up for my disappointment. It was so calm and serene. However, I have to keep it real with you guys I did not have that breath taking feeling that I thought I was going to experience when I got there. Is that weird? Santorini to me, looked like a really nice part of a third world country. That sounds harsh but its not. I reference third world country due to the dirt roads and the fact that there was a part of the island that you could only get to by walking, donkey ride (yes a donkey!), or cable car. Everyone knows Barbados is my favorite island (or you know now), Santorini reminded me of Barbados so much due to its laid back nature. I felt completely safe walking at night. The people were friendly and helpful. The villages were so cute and quaint. It is so perfect for relaxation. But I didn’t fall in love with it the way I thought I would. And apparently we went at the right time of the year because it was still low season so there weren’t as many tourists as usual.
My Airbnb was amazing though. It was in Fira, which is the capitol of Santorini. It was walking distance to great restaurants, bars, and nightclubs. They also do complimentary airport pick up/drop off depending on the time you leave/arrive.
The staff at the hotel also arranged our tours for us. We did the Santorini island tour and also a volcano tour. The Santorini island tour was my favorite because we literally went around the whole island. It included a stop at a local winery (my favorite part) for wine tasting and a visit to the famous village Oia, where we were able to see the sunset. The volcano tour was also amazing. I could not believe that my lazy butt climbed a volcano and I definitely couldn’t believe that my mother made it to the top before me! It was overall a wonderful experience.
I definitely recommend visiting this island. We did it as a quick girls trip, however it is obviously perfect for romantic getaways too. Our taxi driver in Athens recommended the island of Crete as well. He stated it is more beautiful and less touristy then Santorini. I will have to give it a try the next time I go back to Greece.
Before I go, I must say although Athens and Santorini are beautiful, it was clear that locals are not used to seeing people of color. We definitely received a lot of stares and a few “What are you here for” questions, as if we possibly could not have been there on vacation, like everyone else. It was the first time so far that I have traveled and experienced this. I can’t say that people were racist, I didn’t get that feeling. It literally felt like they were shocked to see brown faces. I can count how many other people of color we saw while we were there on my hands. At one point, we were walking by the Acropolis and a teenage male stated to his friends “look at my black friends over there”, referring to us and started laughing. I am sure a lot of it has to do with how people of color are depicted in the media. However, my point to you is this: I am begging people of color to start traveling more. See the world. Let people know that we too can afford to travel and explore the world. Force other cultures to learn about us and our culture. Force them to learn that not everything they see in the media is true and does not apply to us all. This is the reason why I started this blog, so there will be less and less shocked faces when we travel to other parts of the world!
That is all for now folks! Until next time, keep wandering!
PS. Where should I go next? I’m itching to go to Australia, but I keep having dreams about Cuba! Decisions, decisions…