Γειά σου! That is Hello in Greek guys. Any idea what I am writing about today? If you guessed Greece you are corrrect! Amongst the many things on my bucket list, I have been dying to go to Greece for a very long time. Thus, today I will be talking about all of the things I want to see and do!
Greece, in my opinion, is one region of the world where modern day life and ancient times coexist in peace. There are so many intact pieces of history that spread out all over the country. From sculptures, ruins, gorgeous waters, and scenic small towns, Greece is definitely the first top on my list. FUN FACT! I did a full tourism project on Greece my sophomore year in high school in my world geography class, and surprise I got an A! The project also allowed me to really gain a deeper knowledge and appreciation for the beauty of Greece. Since there is a ton of cities within Greece, I found it easier to break it down that way…Let’s get started!
Acropolis of Athens & The Parthenon
(Shown Top: Acropolis of Athens / Shown Bottom: The Parthenon)
The Acropolis of Athens is one place that is mandatory. Anyone that enters Greece is practically obligated to go and cherish the relics that are ancient Greek architecture. This site is a standing reminder of the Greek goddess Athena and all her wisdom. The temple of Athena lives here as well as the Parthenon. One of the most architecturally fascinating and beautiful structures dedicated to her goddess. One mystery of the Parthenon is how the Greek people managed to construct something so statuesque without all of our modern machinery like cranes.
Set at the foot of the Acropolis plateau, you will find the Acropolis museum. One of the largest museums in Greece that still contain true artifacts of the ancient civilization. Walking inside you will be amazed and a tad shocked to see the floor is made of plexiglass, enabling you to see ruins right underneath your feet. In addition to the floor creativity, there is an ascending floor that mimics the trek up to the sacred Acropolis site above. Considering the Acropolis is where Athena’s temple lies, many of Athena’s lovers showered her with gifts. Amongst these gifts included, statues adorned with wreaths, birds and the most eloquent of braided hair styles (kore). You will also find bronzed figures, massive columns, and busts.
Pittaki Street (Hidden Find!)
Prior to 2012, Pittaki Street was once the industrial hub that took over the small lively neighborhood of Psyrri. Full of warehouses, industrial equipment, metal, the works. Over time, businesses closed, vandalism spread, and Pittaki Street was on its way to becoming a lowly trash site. Fear not folks, some fantastic folks from Imagine the City and Before Light came and gave Pittaki a facelift. Athenians from every corner donated lamps of all different shapes and sizes. From traditional Chinese lanterns to the most dazzling of chandeliers now adorn the streets of Pittaki. Illuminating the night and now becoming a hub for concerts and new business owners. The dark desolate Pittaki is no more.
Something I have never done is go for a hike! What better place to try than at the gorgeous Samariá Gorge. The 16-km long trail takes hikers all through the mountains. Soaring 500-meter high rock formations, separated by blue streams and babbling brooks. The nice thing about hiking here is that even folks with little experience try and conquer some of the trails and make it out to tell the tale. From spectacular views, rare flora and fauna, this is definitely a hike I am willing to take. My only question is, is there an 8km version of walking?
Guys did you really think I was not gonna eat the entire time I am in Greece?! The foodie in me would not allow such a preposterous thought. In the spirit of Greece, I refuse to go to a restaurant where I am not clapping, dancing or allowed to scream “OPAH” at the top of my lungs (and maybe break a plate). Which brings me to my first eatery, To XANI! It is very important to me that I try some classic Greek food. From stuffed eggplant, moussaka, gyros, baklava, you name it, I want to try it. The great thing is To Xani has them all! Another lovely thing about this place is because it is family owned, and the place looks rustic. Almost as though I was eating in my own backyard.
Melissani Cave & Drogarati Cave
(Shown Top: Melissani Cave / Shown Bottom: Drogarati Cave)
Clearly, this is a trip power packed with many firsts for me. First going on a 16-km long hike now I am going to walk through not one, but 2 caves! FUN FACT! These marvels are actually not that far from each other which is why it is common for tourists to visit both locations. Starting with Melisaani Cave, it mimics the look of a desolate island on the inside. Through the large opening on the ceiling of the cave, you can see the beautiful turquoise and cerulean lake, with plant life and trees surrounding it. The Greek myth states that Melissani Cave was named after a nymph Melissanthi, who committed suicide because her love for the God Pan was not reciprocated. In Drogarati Cave, you will find stalagmites and stalactites literally engulfing the interior. FUN FACT! The cave is not only a natural wonder but has been used as an amphitheater for orchestras and concerts because of the high ceilings make for incredible sound production.
Now after all this exploring, touring, and adventures, it would be a real misfortune if I did not go to the beach. Greece is renowned for have the most serene crystal waters. So on my final day, I would have to head to the beaches of Santorini, specifically Ammoundi Beach. Something I love this that it is located right next to a village, so right after I take a dip I can explore the village and really immerse myself in the local fare. Now that I think about it I would not mind taking a boat ride too. 🙂
Remember everyone, no matter where you go, whatever you decide to see or even eat in Greece, you will always be showered in culture. You will breathe the same air as the ancient Greeks, and for every good time, yelling “OPAH!” will always be acceptable.
“Wheresoever you go, go with all your heart.” Confucius