Wednesday was my last day in Greece (*sniffle*) and right now I’m in Rome, Italy! I left Greece wishing I had planned for two weeks there instead of just one. There’s so much I wrote in my journal about my experience of Greece, but I’ll just share the highlights here as I’m already behind on my travel diaries! (P.S. Thanks to everyone who’s been giving me great feedback about the information I’ve been sharing about my travels. It’s been amazing to hear from ladies who are now planning their own solo trips!)
In Greece, I visited the capital city and one of the islands: Athens and Santorini (I stayed in two villages on the island – Oia and Perissa). I enjoyed Santorini much more than Athens – maybe because I’m really an island girl at heart – but likely because lots of businesses were closed in Athens during August, so I didn’t get to experience as much of the city’s true atmosphere.
Overall, I felt such a strong sense of hospitality in Greece that I can’t wait to go back. Not once did I feel like a stranger in my black skin there. (Well, at least not until I got to the Santorini airport, but I’ll get to that later LOL.) Here’s 7 reasons why I fell in love with the country!
1. Delicious Vegetarian Meals
You knew this was gonna be #1! I really enjoyed all the vegetarian food I got to eat. Most of my meals were $12 euro or less, including an amazing 3-course meal I had at Maiandros in Athens: greek salad, stuffed tomato/pepper and baklava!
Photo Gallery: The Best Meal I Had in Athens
2. The Views from Oia (Santorini)
Everything in Oia was a photo op. The views from this village were amazing – sunset, sunrise, hillside, caldera – with cute little cottages dotting the landscape.
I also loved the architectural style of the buildings and churches, plus old steps and doors everywhere. Oia was a romantic, elegant, quiet getaway from the city feel of Athens.
Photo Gallery: Images of Oia
3. Black Sand Beach in Perissa (Santorini)
I loved the beach in Perissa! I got a little blacker laying out sunbathing for two days in a row. I even waded a bit (I’m not a swimmer LOL). The water was so warm and clear.
I also saw a few women sunbathing topless on the beach in Perissa. I was just looking around and then I did a double take…like, “Are those BOOBS?!”
While Oia had a more subdued atmosphere, Perissa feels like more of a fun beach town. It’s possible to enjoy yourself here whether you’re single or coupled up. You walk into any of the seaside restaurants and are welcomed in with a hearty hello.
4. Cheap Seafood
I also eat seafood (which means I’m really a pescatarian, but whatever), so I was happy to see that fish was so affordable in most of the restaurants I ate in. I had swordfish for dinner (twice!) for $10 euro, when in the U.S. swordfish (even frozen) is gonna run you at least $20 for an entree. The Greeks love their seafood, and there’s always some kind of fish and shrimp dish on the menu – especially sardines!
Photo Gallery: The Best Meal I Had in Perissa
Yes, this drink deserves its very own section. I was all set to order me some ouzo, but at the end of my meal at Ntomatini, they served me a (complimentary!) glass of rakomelo instead. It’s smooth Greek brandy mixed with honey, cinnamon and orange. It.was.incredible. I really should have tried to find a bottle to bring back with me.
6. Hot Greek Guys
Greek men are fine, I tell you. Fine! Even the police are cuties. I definitely enjoyed all the eye candy. If I didn’t have a man at home, I most definitely would’ve been getting my flirt on more than I did.
7. Live Music in Perissa (Santorini)
In Perissa, there is live music at least one of the bars most days of the week! My last night in Greece ends with a blues-rock band playing covers on the beach strip at Noma Bar and Grill.
I meet up with one of my older hostel roommates from Sweden (the younger people in the hostels I’ve been staying in are too “party happy” for me so far), who buys me a beer. (I’m not too fond of beer, and I’m not familiar with Amstel, but I drink it to be polite.) She also invites an older guy from northern Greece to join us. We all end up having a great conversation about music and the importance of enjoying life. Despite our age and nationality differences, we enjoy our brief time together, swaying in our chairs to a cover of Eric Clapton’s “Wonderful Tonight.” As I raise the beer to my lips, I think: Life is so unpredictable. And so very, very good.
On Wednesday, I flew from Santorini, Greece to Rome, Italy. Along the way, I was almost ARRESTED in the Santorini airport because a police officer was convinced that my passport was FAKE! Now that was a scary ordeal. But I’ll save that crazy story for another post…
Ciao for now!