Greece: Friday, April 14 – Friday, April 21

Greece: Friday, April 14 – Friday, April 21

SPRING BREAK: PART 2.

We flew from Florence to Athens on Friday and had a layover in Albania. We got to Athens Friday night and when we got off the metro, we could see the Acropolis lit up.

On Saturday, we saw Hadrian’s library, a church, and two people singing in Greek and playing guitar on the way up the hill to the Acropolis. There were a lot of street performers in Athens. We saw all the monuments at the Acropolis (Erechtheion, Parthenon, Athena’s temple, etc.) and walked through the ruins.

After, we went to the Acropolis Museum with ancient bowls, statues, and a model of the pulley system used to build the buildings on the Acropolis. They had glass floors where you could see ruins underneath. They had these all over the city, too. We had lunch in the museum restaurant. I got chickpeas with pork and rosemary and we split baklava for dessert with cinnamon ice cream. We walked through the National Garden park and then went to the Panathenaic stadium where the first modern Olympic games were held (the ancient stadium was restored in the 1880s for the 1896 games).

On Sunday, we went to Filopappou Hill and saw more monuments.

We went on a bus tour along the sea. For lunch, we got chicken souvlaki with pita bread and tzatziki. We saw a lot of people doing lamb roasts on the streets for Easter. We walked back to the main square and got frozen Greek yogurt and crepes. We went up to the roof of the hotel to eat the crepes. We saw some fireworks for Easter as well.

We got up early and went to the Kerameikos cemetery, archaeological site, and museum. The museum had ancient sculptures and vases and artifacts that went from earlier to later centuries (8th to 4th century BC) so you could see the development of detail and style.

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Kerameikos Cemetery

Then we went to the Temple of Haphaestus and walked around ancient ruins.

We then went to the Tower of Winds with more ruins surrounding it. We went to a Folk music museum with old Greek instruments. For lunch, I had Moussaka with eggplant, potatoes, and ground beef.

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A lot of museums were closed for Easter Monday, so we wandered around the city for awhile looking for the ones that were open.

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Byzantine Museum

We split a chicken gyros platter and tzatziki again for dinner. The waitress heard me say, “oh, they have saganaki. I wonder if they light it on fire in front of you here,” and she explained that it’s just fried cheese and they don’t light it on fire in front of people, that it’s something that started in the US and never made it to Greece. She asked if I was from Chicago, so it must be a regional thing.

Tuesday morning, we were off to our final destination: the Greek island of Milos. We took a plane, which was the smallest I’ve ever been on. There were 48 seats, but probably only 10-15 passengers. We got to see the coast of Greece and a bunch of the islands on our quick 30-minute flight. We got to Milos Airport and started walking along the water to our bed and breakfast place. It’s a very rural island (a tractor drove past us about two minutes after we started walking) and very hilly as well. We got to the bed and breakfast and no one was there, but a man pulled up five minutes later in his car. He didn’t speak much English, but enough to show us our room and explain about breakfast. Since it is not tourist season, the island was very quiet and we were the only ones staying at the bed and breakfast, so we got a sea-view room with a balcony.

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We went to a cute restaurant just across the street from a beach for lunch. We had bread and hard-boiled eggs dipped in beet juice for an appetizer. I got a salad with sweet sesame and honey dressing, local cheese, and orange peels. We split an orange chocolate pastry for dessert and then they gave both of us a little glass of water with a local white, thick sap that tasted really sweet.

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We sat at the beach across the street from the restaurant.

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We walked around the port city Adamantas and then went to dinner at another place across the street from the sea. She kept bringing us food! She gave us bread with sun-dried tomato paste, tzatziki, and olive oil and balsamic vinaigrette. Then, she brought out tomatoes, eggplant, and feta cheese. I ordered lamb and potatoes for dinner. She brought us a spice cake with strawberry sauce for dessert. It’s typical of Greek restaurants to provide a free dessert, but not three courses!

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On Wednesday, we had breakfast on a patio outside. They made a whole buffet for us! I tried their homemade strawberry jam, feta cheese with cucumber, and Greek yogurt. We hiked over to Sarakiniko beach.

We got to the beach before anyone else. It was made of white volcanic rock. We tanned on the beach and I actually swam for about two minutes. We had a picnic on the rocks and then walked around the beach and walked through some caves.

Next, we hiked to Firopotamos beach.

We walked back and had dinner at an outdoor restaurant along the water in the harbor town.

Thursday morning, we hiked to the catacombs, but took the wrong path that led to a dead end a couple times and walked on overgrown paths. We got a mini tour of the caves. Our guide said the catacombs were built in the 2nd-6th century AD when Christianity was forbidden. It was a place for tombs and worship and was 200 meters long.

We then saw an ancient theater and tried to go to a village called Klinos, but we reached another dead end in the path and decided to turn around.

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The village we cut through didn’t have any restaurants open, so we went back to the harbor town for lunch. We relaxed on our balcony and then went to dinner.

We headed home on Friday. We had a long layover in Athens, so we wandered around and found that they even had museum exhibits in their airport with more ancient vases and rings.

I can’t believe how much we fit in to this trip, how much walking I did, and how much food I ate! I’m so glad I was able to see two of the countries that were at the top of my bucket list.

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