In June 2017 we set off on our big O.E and Greece was first on the list. Often hailed as the cradle of Western civilisation, this place is so rich in history - something a little ol Kiwi found hard to comprehend considering New Zealand is still so young in comparison. It's hundreds of Islands are filled with charming little towns, alleyways that you won't mind getting lost in and they have GYROS #angelssing - that alone makes it one of my favourite places in the world. For a cheeky €2, you can be indulging on a meat, salad and HOT CHIP (ya, need I say more?) filled flat bread. Euro-bod was going strong after 2-3 of these a day. We spent about a week Island hopping. Santorini, Naxos & Mykonos being the Islands of choice. It was pretty windy when we were on the Islands, which turned out to be a total blessing in disguise due to how fricken hot it was. The following adventures ensued:
The first stop on our Europe adventure was Santorini. And boy we were not disappointed. We had heard a lot of mixed reviews about this place - a lot of our people we spoke to hadn't really enjoyed it that much due to "too many tourists". I always find this line ironic (ya even when I say it) because we are no different to everyone else visiting, but you still find yourself like "omg fucking tourists"... BITCH, YOU ONE OF THEM. And you damn travelling Europe. They are everywhere. It's madness I tell you.
I honestly think what made this trip so worth it to us, was that we actually stayed on the other side of the island - away from the madness. We rented quad bikes for the time that we were there and had waaaay too much fun blatting over the hill to go do our sight seeing - not to mention there was plenty of that going on along the way too. It took us about 20-30 minutes each way but it was legit our favourite thing to do. One day we drove around the entire island visiting little beaches and screaming "whoooo" a lot. lewl.
Our accommodation was right next to Karami Beach - one of the very few actual beaches on the island... well their version of a beach is made up of lava pebbles, but still, luffly for a sunrise swim nonetheless. It was then off to explore Oia. To say we were absolutely fizzing would be an understatement. We were so excited and blown away. It lived up to all the photos I had ever seen. Well except for the CHAOS that was an Oia sunset. When people said to nab a spot at 3pm and just wait, I didn't understand why. But holy gahd damn there were a lot of people there when we arrived. Still loved it. Didn't love everyone clapping when the sun when it dipped below the horizon line. WHY PEOPLE WHY. (This ended up being a bit of a theme throughout Europe... are people from other countries not used to seeing the sun go down? It wasn't even a real gangster sunset. Pretty as, but not epic by NZ standards! #sorrynotsorry)
After a day of exploring up on the cliffs of Santorini, we made our way down the 200 stairs to Amoudi Bay for a delicious lunch and an afternoon of cliff jumping. (These are the stairs that you may have seen photos of people being carried back up by Donkeys. I personally vetoed this as I think it is so cruel. The poor donkeys are in the sun all day and look seriously depressed. Avoid this unnecessary tourist novelty and just use ya damn legs you egg.)
The bay is tucked underneath Oia, so the heat + stair combo keeps away the massive crowds. If you make your way to the left of all the restaurants, you’ll find a little pathway that leads you to a little hidden paradise. Swim your little adrenaline filled body across to that big old rock you can see and weirdly enough you’ll find a little church on it (known as Ekklisia Agios Nikolaos). Climb up. Jump off. Bruise your tail bone. Laugh. Repeat.
Whilst jumping we met the kool kids from Where It’s ATT – travelling DJ brothers who invited us back to their siiick accomo for water, m&m’s and lols.
Next, we hopped on a ferry and found ourselves on an Island with wonderful people, epic food and ridiculous beaches. We arrived hungus as, so walked two steps out of our Air BnB to be met by a smiling face insisting we come and try the food at his Mummas restaurant. A voice in the back of my head was like “nah gee he gun’ rip you off” but then the other voice was like “FOOOOOD”, so I listened to the second one. Turns out hungry Lola knows best, because WOW. Food dreams. Our waiter was hilarious, ordered the most incredible food for us and brought out traditional Greek treats – on the house! We were happy little travellers that night.
The next day, it was time to adventure to a beach I had heard about; Aliko Bay. Only a 30-minute bus right saw us relaxing in an absolute paradise for the day. We went for a little explore up over the rocks and found ourselves a private sheltered bay to get our tan on. As with many spots in the Mediterranean, you’ve got to be super careful not to stand on sea urchins. Their delicate spikes break off into your feet like nobodies business and it’s pretty tricky to get them out. We all copped it once or twice!
It was then time to head back to the main town for an explore and a sunset at the Temple of Apollo. As you will see, there was a lot of cat and bougainvillea appreciation going on.
No pictures here as we only hit it for the night, got wasted and danced on tables. Weeewwww.
Athens Athens Athens. I’m finding it hard to know where to start describing this city as it was a bit of a mixed bag experience. Athens does have a lot to offer, but perhaps we just got off on the wrong foot. I’ll give you a quick run down of that shitty shitty foot:
Just had the most incredible time in Mykonos
3 – 4-hour delay on our Ferry
Had a fight with my sister over Eye-Spy during said delay (heat, hunger & a hangover will do that to you)
Arrived late afternoon to discover there was a train strike
Because there was a train strike the whole damn city was catching buses
Fast forward after a very sweaty, squished stressful public transport experience (have to say here though that the locals were so nice helping us get to where we needed to be) we made it to our Air BnB
By now it was dark and we figured out we weren’t in the safest part of town pretty quickly
No power at Air BnB
Fuck you wrong foot.
First impressions were set in pretty quickly with yells and screams being heard right outside Air BnB and I was told I would be a target carrying around my big camera. Coooooool, massively on edge.
Grew tired pretty quickly of men trying to put bracelets on my wrists – for those of you that haven’t experienced this, they attempt to tie it on as quickly as possible and then demand money for it. Anything you take offered to you (yes even just holding it), you will suddenly own. All attempts to give it back will be refused and you will be followed and harassed until you pay them. Athens #1 salesmen rule: disregard the basic human right of choice. It might feel stink, but just ignore everyone that approaches you. Even a flat “no” somehow ends up opening the lines of communication for them. #relleeennttlleeessss
Now there is obviously an undeniable history here and it really was something amazing staring up at craftsmanship still standing at hundreds of thousands of years old. But it’s really hard to have that connection with it all when tourists are literally so frantic to get a selfie (like rushing, pushing, shaking, frustrated frantic) with the added bonus that it’s 32°C. Calm.your.tits.please.I’mdrowninginmyownsweathere.
What really saved this city from being an absolute phuckup, was our amazing Air BnB host Stelios. Had we just visited this place without the help of a local, I don’t think I would ever spend longer than necessary in Athens ever again. Stelios took us to an amazing local restaurant and ordered us all the traditional dishes that he loved, told us what it was like to live in Athens and laughed at our kiwi slang. He then took us to a popular local spot to watch the sunset over the entire city. We all kind of just looked at each other and were like “yep this made Athens worth it”. So thank you to Stelios if you somehow end up reading this!
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