A little bit of paradise – Part 1

Santorini Sunset

It been over two weeks since I got back, so I think i’ve recovered enough to talk about my adventures in the Greek Islands.

I travelled with a company called Contiki, if you haven’t heard of them I suggest you look them up.  It’s my second time travelling with them and I can’t recommend them enough.  Although if you’re over 35 i’m sorry, but you’re just a little too old 🙁  Anyway…

First things first.  My trip was 13 days altogether, and I went to 4 islands in that time, but only slept on 3 of them.  I could probably write a blog about each island, because they are all so unique and have their own charms and quirks, but to be honest that would take too long and there are other blogs I would like to focus my time on.  So this is only a brief overview but I hope some people find it interesting, useful or both.

Day 1 – 2: Athens

So on day one I arrived in Athens, and due to a bit of luck and good timing I managed to meet some people on my trip and we shared a taxi to the hotel.  I stayed in the Poseidon Hotel Athens,  it was a nice hotel across from the beach and the breakfast was by far the best one of the trip!

I’m not going to talk about the people I met very much in this blog, as i’m not sure how’d they’d feel about it, but i will say this.  They were a great bunch of people and certainly helped make the trip what it was, because of that I believe I’ve made some life long friends who I hope to meet again in the future.

Most of this day was spent recovering from flights and getting used to weather (It was so hot!  I went at the end of August), but did find some time for a cheeky beer on the beach 🙂

Day 2 started off at a good pace, and involved a tour of Athens itself.  Let’s not forget that Greece is basically the model for modern civilization and the ancient Greeks are to thanks for a lot of the philosophies  and practices we have today.  Sadly though, because of past wars there isn’t much left of it to see.

The Panthenaic Stadium stands on the site of an ancient stadium as a symbol of the predecessor or today’s modern Olympics, and proudly has both Greek and Olympic flag flying at the entrance.

Panathenaic Stadium - Greece
The Panathenaic Stadium is located on the site of an ancient stadium and for many centuries hosted games in which nude male athletes competed

You can’t talk about Athens and not mention the rock of the Acropolis. This towering giant dominates every single view in Athens and you can understand why it became the home of the Parthenon.  It could be easily defended and had it’s own supply of water.  The Parthenon is by far the biggest ancient ruin I have seen and I can’t even begin to comprehend the scale when it was it’s complete state.

The Parthenon - Athens
The Parthenon on the Acropolis. Athens Greece 2016

It overlooks almost all of Athens, and you can see the ruins of The temple of Zeus in it’s Shadow, which shows just how important the Greeks believed Athena (The goddess of wisdom) was to them.  The temple of Zeus looks like a dolls house at the side of Athena’s temple.

Then you have the Plaka area (Sorry no photo).  This is oldest part of Athens, and is now mainly residential.  The best way to describe it is like a village in a city, with streets you could get lost in.  There is a good mixture of Jewelry shops, tourist shops and cafes you could easily spend a day exploring this area alone.

One other thing that’s worth seeing is the temple of the unknown soldier.  Just outside the old parliament building, guarded night and day but Greek soldiers.  The reason I say this is because, every hour there is a changing of the guard, where the soldiers must perform a slow meticulous almost dance like routine when they switch one from due to another.  Not only this but they have some of the best uniforms I’ve seen (Although the Swiss Guards at the Vatican still win).

Greek soldiers - Tomb of unknown soldier
Greek soldiers at the changing of the guard. The tomb of the unknown soldier Athens.

At night I went back in to the city with some of the friends I had made to experiance Athens by night.  After a great meal, we wondered around the city a got to see the Acropolis iluminated by lights, listen to street singers and musicans and enjoyed some great frozen yoghurt as well as some great conversation.

Day 3 – 5: Mykonos

Day 3 started at an insane time, so that we’d be in time for our ferry to Mykonos.  My intention was to sleep, but the excitement of getting there kept me awake for the entire five and a half hours.  on arrival we are greeted by by the site of traditional white and blue building, I thought it was going to be beautiful but nothing like what I experienced.  No time was wasted in checking in the hotel before we were off for dinner and a night out.

Day 4 allowed for more time to explore the island and beach!  I stayed at the Paradise Beach Resort, popular with travelers and backpackers alike, if you like to party it’s the place for you.

Mykonos really is a quintessential Greek island, made up of a labyrinth of small streets that you could easily get lost in.  Also, if you like shopping this is the island for you, most the streets are lined with small boutiques and designer shops.   One higlight of the island is the traditional windmills that overlook the port.  Actually built by ventians in order to mill flour, the windmills really are a defining feature of the island.  There is also part of the island called Little Venice, due to number of venitians that actually lived on the island.

Mykonos Windmills
Windmills on Mykonos Island, Greece

Day 5 and trip to Delos was on the cards.  For a history geek like me this as very exciting 🙂  Delos is another of the Greek island, but it has no inhabitants, other than the archeologists and security that live there.  This is due to the entire island being an archeologial site of great importance.  The artifacts and ruins found on this island date back as far as 3000 years BC.  Something i still struggle to get my head around.

Delos ruins
Columns found on the island of Delos, Greece

I can’t remember the facts perfectly, but I believe only around a fifth of the island has been excavated at this moment in time, but work as stopped due to lack of funds and also to preserve what is still underground.  One fifth may not seem like a lot, but there is still plenty to see and its definitely worth a visit.

The was finished off with movie in a cool little outdoor cinema, nestled right in the center of the maze of streets.  After sneaking in some cheeky Greek beers, some of us chilled out and watched Independence day 2.

So that’s it so far, there’s more to come soon but i hope that wet your appetite a little.

All the photos on this blog were taken by me, some of them can even be bought at the link below


Thanks for reading x

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