We just returned from a week in Greece, and while we are moving forward here in Sicily, I want to take a little time to write about our Greece trip. We planned this trip with our friend James, who has spent a lot of time in Athens and Crete on archeological digs. James was great to travel through Greece with. He thought of many great things for us to do, and was a wealth of information on the history and culture. We also met my sister there! Christy flew into Greece to spend the week with us, and then returned with us to Sicily to finish her visit. Our first stop was Athens. We rented a great little B&B near the acropolis and did our exploring from there. It was HOT in Greece, but we braved the sun and spent our first day at the Acropolis, Agora, and some of the other archeological sights. The Acropolis is stunning. It sits on a hill overlooking the entire city. The original temples have suffered the wrath of time, but they are currently working on restoring it to it’s original splendor. It’s amazing to walk through it and think of what happened here. So much of our culture and political system comes from the Greeks, and this was the heart of it. I loved our walk around the ancient sites, just amazing. We even got a little peek into the current dig they are doing at the Agora, where James used to work. We spent the rest of the evening eating wonderful food and trying new drinks – gyros, baklava, souvlaki, retsina, and rakomelo.
Day 2 in Athens was still hot, and we decided to spend it out on the island of Aegina. We took the subway to a ferry, and played cards for the 17 mile ride out to the island. Aegina is a relatively small little island, but was a rival of Athens in ancient times. We went rented scooters for the day, and explored the whole island. Scootering was super fun. I was nervous, but it’s a pretty chill island with relatively little traffic and good roads. We spent a few hours at a beautiful beach, and then had a wonderful seafood dinner before heading back to Athens. We spent the following morning at the Acropolis Museum, which I highly recommend, before catching our flight to Crete. We rented a little house right on the coast, and had a really relaxing stay. We spent the afternoon drinking wine on the patio, and then walked up the road for an oceanfront dinner.
Early the next morning we left for a bus-bus-hike-boat-bus-bus day. It was long, but the 15k hike through Samaria Gorge was well worth it. The gorge runs through the southern part of Crete, and starts with a 3k walk down, followed by a flat 12k out to a little seaside town.
The gorge has tons of freshwater springs (the water we bought locally was bottled there), so you are constantly replenished with cold, fresh water.The hike is amazing, and highly recommended. It takes a bit of planning and timing, or you can hire a guide, but it’s totally doable. We took our time and really enjoyed it – the crystal clear waters and sheer canyon walls are stunning. It ended with a quick dip in the sea, followed by a beautiful ferry ride.
Our last day in Greece we spent lazing around the house, eating a long lunch, and lounging on the beach between swims in the waves. It was a perfect, relaxing day. We had a (super) early flight out of Crete, a 7 hour layover in Athens, and another layover in Rome before getting back to Catania. A long day of travel, but well worth it for our time in Greece.