A Travellerspoint blog

The long road home.

Aka: Diary of a Hangry, Exhausted Traveler


View Greece 2022 on JackiesJourneys's travel map.

Wednesday, October 19

Alas here I am in the Athens international airport waiting for my first of three flights home. It has been a fun, fabulous whirlwind 11 days, and I am feeling oh so blessed to have had this opportunity. Everything came together and worked out so well. It was the perfect reintroduction back to traveling. And well you know what that means?! Time to start planning my next adventure cause 3 years absence was far too long!

After a minuscule 4ish hours of sleep, I was up at 4:45. Jen and Chris, two California friends from my tour, were coming to pick me up around 6. They had also extended their Athens stay, but booked their own hotel over by The Acropolis. It was easy enough for them to arrange a cab that would stop by my hotel on their way, thus allowing us to share the airport transfer fee.

They rolled up shortly before 6 and we were on our way. Luckily at that time of day, there were no traffic issues and we sped to the airport (literally driving so fast kinda down the middle of multiple lanes - cause you know, Greek drivers 🤣). By 6:25 we were in search of our Swiss Air checkin desk. We are headed to Zurich where we will part ways - me to ORD and them to SFO.

Once the counters were opened, we breezed through checkin and the security line. Chris stopped to buy a Greek coffee making copper cup…which turned into a long, drawn out saga of rebooting credit card systems. Jen and I went in search of beverages while she waited and waited. I nabbed a chocolate croissant (so good) and bottle of water. Here’s where my mind was blown: Pascale had informed us that in Greece, they cannot by law charge more than half a euro for a small bottle of water and the large bottles are capped at 1.5 euros. I figured all bets were off in the airport, but oh no! My water was only half a euro 🤯 In Chicago thankfully they will have water bottle fillers, otherwise I’m sure it would cost me a good 5-bucks. These Greeks take their water consumption seriously!

3AE8237D-F92D-4C15-851D-0C030704BA40.jpeg

After sitting at the gate for a few minutes, I opted to go for a little walk. Hmmm…sausage pie you say?! Don’t mind if I do. Who knows how long it will be before I eat anything else besides the gummy worms I bought in Athens, so carb loading it shall be 🤣 And now I’m back at the gate waiting to board. The flight crew just walked by, so that is a good sign. And after a little bus ride and walking up the outside steps, I’m on board!

DB09BA02-8A9C-4636-B265-EB4DC46A4E6C.jpeg
CB73D4F2-8229-4435-86AB-8E1D1739F780.jpeg

9:45 and finally in the air. After 20+ minutes of taxiing and waiting, I was just beginning to think we’d burn through all our fuel before departure.

DFC24388-971B-4AE8-AE7F-1F320B611DF0.jpeg

There was some dozing for an hour or so. But when flying Swiss Air, your ears perk up when there’s chocolate being offered 🤣🤷🏽‍♀️😋 Can they make mine a double?!

F5C8A29A-84C6-45AA-8EB5-F89B8809A875.jpeg
56CBADD3-0EE6-4100-ADD7-42109A29D33C.jpeg
25F3792A-8B24-49BA-BBBD-693442795231.jpeg

Got to Zurich no problems, just a few minutes late. No time to get any food or water, so the starvation and dehydration continues. And to top it off, I’m stuck in a middle seat. I swear this is not what I selected yesterday. I am wondering if this is a smaller plane than initially assigned as I could’ve swore there were lots of empty seats. And that is clearly not the case. Ugh…this sucks 🤬

And it’s not just me: the whole seat thing is a giant cluster. So many people not where they thought they’d be (or paid to be). If they just get this one person away from me, then I can move my bag and at least be a little better. Still not the aisle I was anticipating but better (and they’ve done it!!). And just for future reference, gummy worms are not a meal so I’m really not happy. And it gets better: issues with a front wheel so takeoff is delayed. Cue the crying baby. This is not how I wanted to end this trip. 😫😭

One hour late and finally we are moving. So much for that precision Swiss timing my friends. Now give me some damn food already 🤪 Hopefully watching Downton Abbey: A New Era will distract my hanger and make everything better.

But of course, those crazy Granthams did make everything better, well aside from my hunger 🤷🏽‍♀️ Bad airplane food did nothing for that either. And not even so much as a tiny nibble of chocolate throughout dinner 😢 What is up with you Swiss already?!

69F0FCE3-D2F2-4129-848B-87C251D8C0B6.jpeg

Top Gun Maverick done and dusted and there is still over 3 hours left to this flight. Ugh - why?!?! No sleep and still starving 🙈🤪 This may just be the longest day ever.

Ice cream snack…hallelujah 🥳 And then a moment of panic when I saw a berry on top. Thankfully raspberry. But hell, at this point I may have risked allergic reaction even if it was strawberry. Too small of a container though - can I get a second?!

I may have dozed off for a brief few seconds. Now we are getting a very disappointing cookie and a cheese tart. The lady next to me is passed out with some specialty pastry on her tray. Dangerous territory as I may just gobble it up and she’d never know. Who knew traveling was such a hungry business?! Then again I’m at about 18 hours “awake” with a complete lack of sleep over the past 11 days. My only hope is to sleep the whole day away tomorrow. Although that would again leave me with a hunger issue. What’s a tired, hungry girl to do?!

About one more hour left on this damn plane. Then I get to sit in Chicago for what will feel like 6 years, but is actually slightly less than four hours. Why does traveling home have to be so hard?!

I landed in Chicago and naturally ended up in thee slowest customs line ever. Like I seriously don’t know what that guy was even doing with the people ahead of me. Luckily when I finally got to the window, it was quick and painless. Off to the baggage carousel (one of the stupid, obnoxious things about international flights), and woo hoo my suitcase rolled out shortly after I got there. Then bag recheck and a tram all around the the whole of ORD before it forced me outside and then back through security. Ok people, I’ve been flying for 19+ hours, is this really necessary (yep, still hangry, and now I have to pee besides 🤦🏽‍♀️).

At long last I was in the correct terminal and concourse, finally saw a damn bathroom, and could get me some food. After 21 hours of being up, that burger and fries tasted like thee bestest burger ever. Was it?! Probably not. But I am ok with that. Now to keep myself awake for an hour and a half until I can board this last flight.

3D6919AA-0B6D-452D-83A3-DAD8ABCDC821.jpeg

Heading into hour 24 and my brain has completely shutdown. I can’t tell you how many people I have almost ran into. Boarding to GRB will begin soon and I can’t wait for this to be over. Then to block the hell that is traveling home out of my mind and start planning my next trip. But I do have a few more of these updates to type up and post. Thanks for coming along on my latest journey 😊

A8480A5E-1672-4F56-97B5-1800964FD7C8.jpeg

Adding a final little post about my ORD to GRB leg. There were these two loud women behind me that would not stop talking. It took every little bit of energy not to turn around and yell to shut up! As soon as I could bolt from the plane, I did. Walking out of security, I didn’t even notice from friend Joan standing there to pick me up and almost stumbled right by her. Yep, me telling her to look for the dead girl walking was accurate. With all the liquid things I bought (olive oil, liqueur, shampoo) I needed to check my bag. That came off finally and she whisked me home through the cold.

My apartment had dropped below 60 degrees, but no time to worry about that, although I did raise the heat up. I had mentioned to Joan that I wanted to shower, but she advised maybe not to in case I fell over. That was a very good tip as that just may have occurred. In the airport alone I felt woozy and like I kept bumping into people. So teeth brushing and straight to bed. I woke up a few times, but was out pretty cold for almost 11 hours 😊🥳 There is laundry and showering and shopping to be done, but first I lounge!!

Posted by JackiesJourneys 23:56 Archived in Greece Tagged greece travel chicago airports zurich o’hare Comments (0)

Everything Comes from Greece

Or so Teddy says


View Greece 2022 on JackiesJourneys's travel map.

Monday, October 17

Today’s big adventure was going to be the half day tour I had booked before leaving for Greece. I wasn’t getting picked up for that until 2:15, so that left a whole morning to fill. First order of business was to fill my belly with some of the yummy breakfast items at the hotel. Then I was on a mission to find that original Olympic stadium, the Panathenaic Stadium!!

This mission just so happened to get me to Syntagma Square just in time for another changing of the guard ceremony. How could I pass that up?! And good thing I didn’t, because today I got to see their regular uniform costumes.

66094DA9-4CB7-4F8F-B8AD-9D9B4227C777.jpeg96E1FE5D-AF17-4F16-884E-35025B532AA4.jpegF3B59C32-BE3D-4E2B-9908-775E2CEFC7D4.jpeg30519E69-429D-4CB8-9505-9913AEDD70FF.jpeg
143BEC43-DB4D-4D49-B298-8099C1B1017D.jpeg
15618FAD-171A-4264-B42A-1DABA5F17BC3.jpeg

Pascale had given me directions on how to get there, but that didn’t turn out so well for me on Sunday 🤦🏽‍♀️ So that night, I researched the location and was baffled as to how I did not see it cause it I felt like I had been right over in that area. But let’s try this again.

I got to the other side of the garden and thought, yep, this all looks familiar. Found a sports complex which was listed on my map and now I was truly baffled. Like where is this stadium as it should be right here?? What am I missing?! That’s when I turned around, looked up, and spotted it across the street. I probably missed it by less than a block yesterday. I mean it’s not like it’s this huge marble structure with a whole row of flags by it or anything 🤪

1B188256-FA70-4FC6-B0C8-91362F11D168.jpeg

I bought my ticket and by the entrance found out it comes with a free audio guide. Yay…I love those things! All the fun facts and history and info, but you can go at your own pace. And well this one was really well done…hello cheers as I entered the stadium from the athletes’ tunnel…why thank you!

The stadium itself is crazy beautiful and impressive. Completely rebuilt according to its original plan, it is made entirely of white marble. I got to sit in the thrown chairs, both the original location ones and the ones moved to a more prime viewing spot. The track is open and there were school groups out using it. I did get to walk out on it as well…and I gotta say I felt faster just being there 😂 I also climbed to the top to see the gorgeous views of Athens the upper levels provide. But boy was it windy up there. Thought I was gonna get blown over at a few points (I think those extra gelatos helped keep me in place 😉).

64C2A8C2-3874-4ECA-BC83-9BAD74999CC3.jpeg02FE2345-72BE-4BD0-8B1C-56DE05B9BFE3.jpegF4037879-8436-481E-8D1D-9AE44094B3EE.jpegF36A50DD-3B41-436F-9DFE-2D0352A5AC93

F36A50DD-3B41-436F-9DFE-2D0352A5AC93

FF8EC52B-32D2-4322-9929-F2484188886A.jpeg91F5BEB5-2CC6-4780-9F1F-0DDD4F039F8B.jpegBE751810-0453-4A2C-A26B-956E60F0E272.jpegCEE9357A-78D5-4779-8E42-062C3A447FA3.jpeg8EB564CB-CCA4-42B0-8F53-2599C36917E1.jpeg53448D7C-D85A-4A95-9403-C2E9AC6A55CC.jpeg3DADA326-42CD-459B-9660-0A322685582A.jpeg5C524BB2-39D3-4816-B185-928102A42E26.jpeg7E30A095-C81C-44E7-94A4-4C3FF11F618B.jpeg425D5C1E-1358-4442-9297-61F3693CD5BE.jpeg1F3725F9-A2A0-4389-8787-5506543377F8.jpeg

Included with the ticket is also a walk down the special tunnel, which led to an area housing the various Olympic torches. And at the end is a little podium you can be crowned medalist on - I naturally went with gold medal status. It’s crazy to think of all the people that have walked here since it hosted the first contemporary Olympic Games in 1896. Being a huge fan of all things Olympics, I thoroughly loved my time here.

149B8F2E-99AE-4ED0-A962-13AE4DFE09FB.jpeg

From there I just meandered my way back through the gardens toward Monastiraki Square. Today’s street food koulouri was a fancy variety. Stuffed with turkey, tomato, and cream cheese, it was quite a delight. And then of course the requisite gelato stop - this time I went with a two scooper of coconut and salted caramel peanut. Oh so tasty.

D23F1520-36CD-4EF3-A8E8-AAA9463EC5B1.jpeg
18DF9417-66F7-4655-9F56-F6C9F47E1C25.jpeg

By this point, I figured I should start heading back to the hotel to make my 2:15 pickup for the Cape Sounion and Temple of Poseidon tour. It started out with me hopping into a minibus with a fine looking Greek man without asking any questions 🤷🏽‍♀️🤣 He did seem to know my last name, so there was that. I found out his name was Soteri and that we had 11 other people to pick up.

Soteri (meaning safety curiously enough), was the driver and his pal Teddy was the guide. And well Teddy was quite the character, but also pretty amazing. He had everyone’s name down pat and kept quizzing us on things…for points that counted for nothing. He was a wealth of history and knowledge; but if he didn’t know he would gladly ask google (although I don’t think he ever resorted to that). One of the curious facts we found out along the way is that in Greece, one year of military service is still mandatory for all males at age 18 or following university. Soteri was in the navy and Teddy the army.

Our first stop was a view point overlooking Lake Vouliagmeni or “sunken lake.” In the heart of the Athenian Riviera, this is a natural thermal spring. Although the wind was pretty brisk, there were quite a few people swimming. Teddy said the lake was probably about 75 or so degrees and very nice.

4BBCEA22-C3C7-4ABB-9144-FE473DD9014C.jpeg
7E2B83C9-94C7-4B8A-AF5C-424C46C4502B.jpeg

Next we had a beach stop at Alopigia. By this point clouds were rolling in and the wind was really whipping, so no one partook in any swimming. But it was a lovely relaxing little place.

382CB374-2F9B-4E3D-9C2C-FD83166007DE.jpeg
F1BA4661-C703-4B2E-8BB4-97CE52457F2D.jpeg63CA7FED-4669-44C5-B75B-BFA2F5682C9C.jpeg

Back on the minibus and off to the lookout point across from the Temple. Besides our first views, we got some info there, as Teddy would not be joining us inside the Temple site. We would have time to walk around and scope it out and wait for the sunset.

A19EF230-B164-4B79-9DB6-5271545EDA61.jpeg
D60DBE26-8D1D-4A46-B096-F6ECCAD39341.jpeg

Built from about 444 to 400 BC, the Temple is devoted to Poseidon, the God of the Sea. Serving as the watchtower to the Port of Piraeus, it overlooks the Aegean Sea and its 6000 islands and islets. Although only 16 of the original 38 giant marble columns are still standing, they serve as the perfect compliment to the sunset color explosion behind them. As Teddy and Soteri pointed out, every day it looks different (they have even seen a greenish aurora borealis looking color and said the full moons are incredible). With the clouds today, the sky was a bit angry and dramatic. But Teddy found the drama fitting as Greeks invented drama.

The wind up there was pretty brutal as it’s on the edge of a cliff 70 meters (230 feet) up. I could barely feel my fingers or toes by the end, but it was so worth it. I love me a good sky and this was particularly magical. While most everyone else was gathered near the edge watching the sun setting (with the Temple to their backs), I positioned myself over by the Temple with the sky behind it. I can see a good sunset any old time. But a good sky behind 2500 year old columns?! I most certainly am not seeing that every day.

4BE79D37-8059-45D9-9A70-5E56B2E4300E.jpeg640EAE7E-EF8E-4716-AEFB-09AF16428E57.jpegA2FE6276-EB69-4153-9781-E6DD1BC915DF.jpeg07CD43B3-836F-4C8D-A6BB-E685DDF23A09.jpegB76E5EBF-FC61-4F77-ADD9-0161B0461AD9.jpeg383291EB-C025-4467-9284-A0B088B57818.jpeg

The only thing left was the somewhat lengthy ride back to Athens. It was pretty quiet, as a few people may have dozed off. Then wouldn’t ya know I get this stupid tickle in my throat and am moments away from a full on coughing fit. All I can think is these people are probably going to throw me off the bus thinking I am infected 🙈 Luckily I found a cough drop and they had bottles of water, and that combo finally did the trick.

First one on the bus and naturally last one off. I didn’t really have a full lunch, so by this point (after 8pm) I was pondering where I could get something. There is a Bread Factory cafe right next to the hotel and I figured I’d check there. Well wouldn’t ya know, Teddy mentioned to us last 3 that the Bread Factory is a great place and he particularly recommended the Pastitsio. It’s kinda a Greek version of lasagna, but he pointed out its better. I popped in there, nabbed me a piece, and was not disappointed. It had different spices and seasonings, and long tube pasta noodles under all the cheese, but yes, similar to lasagna. And very very tasty. I’m not sure how great it was to have a belly full of cheese at 9pm, but oh well. All part of a full day travel adventure.
66D00612-DE50-461B-A989-971736AB0443.jpeg

Posted by JackiesJourneys 20:48 Archived in Greece Tagged greece temple of athens cape poseidon sounion Comments (0)

It’s all Greek to Me

I just love all the signage, even if I can’t read any of it.


View Greece 2022 on JackiesJourneys's travel map.

Sunday, October 16, 2022

I am going to mix it up today and try to get the actual day’s events posted 😱🤣🤯🤪 Let’s see how this goes.

Today was my first solo day and I am happy to say it was fabulous. 34,000 steps and some 15.2 miles were covered…and I felt like I smoked a pack of cigarettes while doing it (damn those clouds of smoke everywhere you go).

The morning did start off a bit slow though. For this I need to backup to last night and my room debacle. With our treacherous ferry arriving late, we had to dump our bags and go straight to the restaurant for our farewell dinner. Pascale had grabbed the stack of room keys while we were dragging our luggage into the lobby. She handed them out during dinner and once back at the hotel we went up to our rooms where the luggage would be waiting.

Since I didn’t have an early morning airport transfer, I just waited and let others get their things handed to her and go up first. As I’m waiting, Ashley and Caroline came back down missing a bag (which was found in someone else’s room). Eek!! So I go up to my fourth floor room, open the door, see my suitcase…then slowly start to register that there is another bag there laying open and maybe some used towels on the floor and I’m like WTH??? I grabbed my bag and hightailed it back down to the lobby.

I explain to Pascale, she translates to the desk, much discussion ensues, and finally I have keys to a different room on the third floor. Luckily that room was unoccupied and I got a decent night of sleep (thank you Pat for the nighttime cold medicine).

So this morning Pascale needed to figure out if I was staying in the same room for the next 3 nights or moving to a different room or the partner hotel across the square (ie the bigger, nicer version we all thought we were ending our trip at). It was decided I’d be staying in this hotel, but moving to a courtyard room so none of that busy street noise I had been dealing with. But there was nothing open at the time for me to move my luggage to and allll the confusion. Pascale was gonna possibly move it for me, but I just wasn’t cool leaving for the day not knowing where my bags would be and if I had a room or what exactly was going on. More rapid fire Greek, and the nice desk lady was able to tell me what room I’d be in and let me store the luggage while I was out. Whew!! And all that before 10:15.

Finally I could set off toward Syntagma Square and Parliament, where the changing of the guard takes place. Sunday at 11:00 is some extra special ceremony, and I needed to walk my fastest to get there in time (and hope I didn’t get lost along the way 🤣). Success on all accounts so I got to see the little military band lead the march. And well this is no regular marching as they swing and lift their Pom Pom feeted legs extra high. It was quite the fascinating show they put on and I’m glad I got to see it.

4315F53B-F6E6-4559-9E46-89A9FA7B745C.jpeg63B999E3-CA79-4F1F-A294-7979B2913D1B.jpegACD3A2A4-928F-494A-98B6-AE8657993F2F.jpeg4672D26D-09F7-4343-B7D5-CECFDE6189D8.jpeg
3A876844-78FA-44F1-8CA1-9E8EC99949C0.jpeg

From there I headed around Parliament to walk through the National Gardens. I was hoping for a garden garden, but this seemed more like a Central Park green space sorta thing. I didn’t want to get lost wandering down all the paths, so I stuck toward the edges and didn’t see much of interest. Pascale had mentioned I should go see the first Olympic Stadium since I’d be over there. Olympics junkie here so I was all for that…but somehow I was unable to locate it 🤷🏽‍♀️🤦🏽‍♀️ And from the looks of things, I was right close to it when I went into the Temple of Olympian Zeus and saw Hadrian’s Arch. Ugh! Maybe another day.

65E32D25-64C2-4B45-A502-93789A5CDA93.jpegB8770194-B2F5-4C47-B4D5-FECDE183BA4B.jpeg1AE56F17-DACD-49CD-9616-5807836D3A32.jpeg6D24A49C-0AAF-460B-8F55-0E986F479BD2.jpegF3CB463B-8F35-4804-96C0-601979238015.jpegDCF438FB-5A8B-494E-9062-6F8B9501089C.jpeg56B4C125-CA84-43D0-948E-A45D496E752F.jpeg959997C0-5E07-43E8-851F-E96E0FF12B4E.jpeg

From there I headed toward Monastiraki and all the shops and flea market in that neighborhood. It is quite the maze of cafes, bars, shops, restaurants, hotels, and ruins that pop up out of nowhere. The only way to tackle something like that is with some street food! First up the koulouri, bread ring covered in sesame seeds. These are sold warm out of little carts for half a euro. When I saw the police guy grab one, I knew I was at the right cart. Then I spotted gelato, so naturally I couldn’t pass that up. A cone of Kinder Bueno - basically a creamy chocolate hazelnut - was my flavor of choice. Now I’m ready to soak up the sights and sounds and smells of the neighborhood.

820114F6-0333-4934-984C-89E35730F369.jpeg8CA105FF-EB4C-4683-9515-56BE4D373C17.jpeg

After a bit I needed to make my way to the hotel. Everything went smoothly there, and I was back out in search of a dinner adventure. Since there aren’t too many cute little cafes near the hotel, I was on my way back to Monastiraki (now you see why so many steps - not good at managing my locations 🤪). But I hit the jackpot when I grabbed a table right on the main square at a place called the Greco’s Project. I was in Greek heaven with my fried crunchy mini zucchini with aioli and then a chicken gyro. I even got a mini sweet at the end, which I believe was a Greek honey cake. Whatever it was, it was tasty!

E47D8527-BA56-4DDC-AED8-78FFF2E6DAB0.jpeg32F1F639-7244-408B-9DF0-1FBF220BC2FE.jpeg

Back into the shopping maze I decided to go, and this time came out with a few purchases. Already around 7, I opted to start my trek back to the hotel. And wouldn’t ya know, the bakery right by the hotel had some gelato in the window as well. I think I’ve earned a nice, refreshing scoop of mango to end my night.

66DF36A2-F022-47DF-B4AA-ED5A14ED4610.jpeg

Tomorrow is a half day trip, so there “shouldn’t be” as much walking involved. But with me, ya just never know.

Posted by JackiesJourneys 20:13 Archived in Greece Tagged greece athens syntagma monastiraki Comments (0)

Mama Mia


View Greece 2022 on JackiesJourneys's travel map.

Wednesday, October 12

Here we go again on yet another ferry ride. This time it’s the high speed sea jet from Naxos back to Athens. The tour portion of the trip is coming to an end, and I’m not quite sure how I feel about that. It’s been an amazing time with wonderful people (possibly even some new travel buddies). We saw so many things, learned a bunch about Greece and the history and culture, ate some absolutely delicious things, laughed more than I have in a long time, and just all around enjoyed life and our time together. It will be very strange to be on my own in Athens tomorrow, but I am glad I chose to stay longer. Jennifer and Chris will be on my flight to Zurich in a few days, so I’ll see some familiar faces then at least. For now it’s time to continue with the recaps of my time on Paros.

Ahhhh…the sweet sound of peace and quiet at this gorgeous hotel was a very welcome change from Athens. It doesn’t mean I necessarily slept all that much more, but I definitely slept better. And when I threw open the patio door that morning, it was a scene straight out of Greek travel fantasies. Someone on a FB post of mine commented they fully expect the cast of Mama Mia to pop up in my photos; and I completely agree. It really would’ve been nice to have longer here to be able to spend a day enjoying this hotel. Instead it was time to get ready for the day’s boat excursion.

77A4B5BD-AB7B-4B16-82CC-1F0999B5A483.jpeg

First up was checking out the wonderful breakfast spread - and it did not disappoint! So many tasty delights from savory to sweet. There was even an entire Greek yogurt and honey section. Who knew honey was supposed to taste this good?! 🤷🏽‍♀️🤣

CCB618F8-3FAC-46EF-AF45-F5015ABA0DE1.jpeg

Eleven of us, plus Pascale, were off to the Punta Marina to catch our boat for the day. Unfortunately the catamaran stopped running the end of September, so we were on just a regular looking, possibly refurbished former fishing boat, for the excursion. There were about 20 or so other people on the boat as well.

The weather cooperated and we had sunny skies, although I would’ve loved about another 10 degrees on the temp. The trip out was a bit chilly since I was stuck in the shade. Plus the not so sweet smell of exhaust left more than a little to be desired. I was across from the little galley kitchen spot, so at least I could take mental notes watching the girl dress the greens with oil and vinegar and get just the right amount of feta massaged into there. Before too long they were walking around handing out the oh so tasty baguettes of spinach and tomatoes I had just watched being prepared.

F07051B5-01B3-4BD7-B84E-7F28904E86EA.jpeg8B6E0CC1-FBD6-4040-82D3-9ABC9BD6549C.jpeg95027FC1-EE5D-4235-A2E4-E1388729E266.jpeg

Snacks over, it was about time to drop anchor and get off the boat. It wasn’t really a snorkel trip as there were no flippers and not much of anything to be seen. But when in Greece, regardless how chilly the water may be, one must jump off the boat and get into the Aegean Sea! They had noodles to float around with and you got used to it after a bit (or else hypothermia was starting to set in and I was losing feeling 🤷🏽‍♀️🤣). I wasn’t in too long, but at least I can say I have swam in the Aegean now! I think at the first stop, everyone from our group got into the water. Pascale played photographer for her bathing beauties in our swimming costumes so we all have proof we were in the sea. She was oh so very proud of us.

1AB673BD-59AB-43CC-BDC0-8ACD3A7272BA.jpegD908933A-556B-4E00-B072-2099AE859258.jpeg096DD561-32B6-428A-A719-6962195F8863.jpeg00FB323B-54B5-4479-9199-2B957E059A33.jpeg

We pulled up anchor and were on the move to our second swim stop. Along the way, we came in close to shore a few times to see some interesting rock formations and cliffs. There was one spot where people from another boat were jumping off the cliffs. Ashley totally would’ve done it, but Pascale said oh no…not possible!!

97E6001F-4EAD-4EA6-BED6-E33742293749.jpeg55EC8F76-F938-40D7-82C8-14BAB65539B6.jpeg

Swim number two was similar to the first stop, with I think even less people getting into the water. Although I did see a few colorful fish here. And well the crystal clear water alone with its vibrant blues and greens was a draw all its own. From there it was time to head for the beach and our bbq picnic (how very Below Deck of us as Angela and I remarked). There was a whole setup with chairs and tables and a little area where the crew could grill up our kebabs. There was also wine to be had as we waited to eat and a lovely stretch of beach to walk along. They started pulling out giant bowls of a beautiful looking Greek salad and in no time we were ready to eat. Grilled pita and tzatziki was definitely the perfect little addition. I had a view of the sea with Pascale to chat with and it was a highlight meal for me.

C73DB884-E98D-48A1-A3FC-23CEC8667615.jpeg815D2855-35B3-476D-A12A-0C8D9AC52E5F.jpeg9E7A267E-4384-4726-AB64-9CA3EC410B1A.jpeg

After having mainly dried off and warmed up,I was not about to get back in the water at stop three. By that point, the number of swimmers had dwindled significantly. From there we just had the ride back to the port. We spotted a bunch of kite surfers off in the distance and that was pretty fascinating to watch. It was a lovely afternoon and I am oh so glad I signed up. The only drawback being no time to hang out on my gorgeous patio or partake in all the hotel and surrounding beach amenities.

1AF41369-5965-45B7-9A82-BED7333BF39D.jpeg6ECFE37F-B21B-436C-A554-60B0CCCA2570.jpeg
33008EEF-34A8-4EDC-AD69-BAFCBB58AE3B.jpeg

Once we returned to the hotel, Pascale arranged with the desk for 10 of us to get a transfer into town a few hours later. So after getting cleaned up and enjoying my room a bit,it was time for some more browsing, shopping, and a little dinner and dessert with my fabulous travel companions. I bought a few things, snapped some more photos (how could I not?!) and then we were off to find dinner.

After going the opposite direction from where the majority of the restaurants are located along the beach, we did find a nice little spot to eat. It was a tad chilly to be outside, but we had the inside practically to ourselves. Well aside from the occasional stray cats who opted to come on in and make themselves at home. I blame Ashley, aka Snow White, the Cats of Greece Whisperer, for magical drawing them all to us 🤣 The best was watching the adorable waiter carry one such kitty out like it was a bomb about to explode (gripped under the front paw pits with his arms extended).

What better way to begin dinner than with a new found favorite: aperol spritz?! I finally decided I wanted to try the stuffed tomatoes and peppers, only to find out they did not have them. So instead I ended up with the meatballs and rice - which I was not at all mad about as they were delicious. It’s just we had meatballs yesterday, and I was hoping to try something new. During (or maybe even before) dinner the talk turned to gelato for dessert. Someone said they didn’t think they had any room for that. Mariane (the lone Canadian) had the perfect response, which I foresee myself using for years to come: there is always room for gelato as it does not go into your stomach but into your heart 🥰

FB7633FE-E6D9-4179-8484-B71B9315AF0A.jpeg

Who can argue with that logic, so back into the old town we went to find a gelateria. I was trying to order speedy like and messed it up. My favorite is almost always banana and I must have at least one every trip. I didn’t see it, so ordered pistachio, which was fine but which in my opinion didn’t have all that much flavor. Then Elfie or someone walked out with banana caramel and I couldn’t believe it. They let me try a little taste and I regretted my mistake immediately. But alas, I survived and will find banana gelato another day!!

98EE3E26-53DB-4A98-B6D8-EE7544525B12.jpeg

And just like that, it was almost 10pm and time to get to the hotel pickup spot. I never imagined being in town that long a second night in a row, but it was a fun time for sure. Now to sleep and get ready for yet another busy day ahead.

Posted by JackiesJourneys 18:04 Archived in Greece Tagged greece paros Comments (0)

Welcome to the Islands

See you later Athens…Paros here we come


View Greece 2022 on JackiesJourneys's travel map.

Tuesday, October 11

I am currently sitting on the upper deck of the ferry as we are on our way to Paros…and I am oh so excited! Athens was great, but I am ready to soak in all the scenery these two little islands have to offer.

Right now is the great debate: do I continue attempting to type, or do I head inside and try to nap? Yet again I did not get anywhere near a great night of sleep, and I am really hoping this next hotel can help deliver that. Last night I conked out right away (although not until 11:30 when I finally shut the light off). Then after what felt like hours, but in reality was less than an hour, my shower decided to spontaneously start dripping and woke me up 🤦🏽‍♀️ There went another hour of my life spent not sleeping. Ah yes, and this is all made harsher by the fact that my alarm was set for 4:20. I most certainly feel a vacation from my vacation may be in order when I get home. But enough of that crazy talk of home!

The minibus was loaded and we were on the way to the Port of Piraeus around 6. When I envisioned us taking a “ferry” to the islands, my mind went to all the books I’ve read and movies I’ve seen where they hop on some smaller little over packed boat. But then yesterday Pascale started talking about our assigned seats….hmmmm?? And then we got to the port and ummmm…this is like a full on cruise ship where they were driving trucks onto it. 🤯🤯

After dumping my bag at my seat, I opted to head to the upper deck to watch the sunrise as we were leaving - best decision!! It was so beautiful and I am looking even more forward to sunrises and sunsets on the islands. But alas I am starting to freeze out here, and I am in need of food (somehow that banana and granola bar aren’t really doing anything for me). So time to go….I’ll catch ya from Paros 😀

3F6D1751-04C7-4DFF-B6AE-4047B6B4E02E.jpeg

Well sadly I did not catch ya from Paros as I am currently on the ferry leaving and heading to Naxos (and subsequently in my room in Naxos later that night). It has been a busy whirlwind of fabulous Greek Isle sights with no time to type about it.

Anyhoo, our ferry arrived without incident. Oh wait, that is inaccurate. There was some sort of medical event where they eventually called for a doctor on board, but we never did hear what exactly happened. Our group arrived without incident though, so really, that’s all that matters.

But the ferry trip was nothing compared to the arrival into port. Let’s just say that is an experience that will not soon be forgotten. Pascale made sure all of our luggage was contained together as it can be kinda chaotic when getting off. Ummm…chaotic is one way to describe it. It’s not even busy season so I cannot imagine what that looks like! I think the best description was someone referring to it as we may have been storming the beaches of Normandy or getting ready to go save private Ryan.

It started with us each trying to claim our bags and keep everyone else out of our little cluster. I felt bad for the poor kid who had Pascale on one side telling him to back up and his mom on the other yelling to get in there and quit letting people in front of him. From there we stood in front of the giant ramp doors waiting for them to be lowered. I couldn’t figure out why people were pulling out cellphones to film this arrival. That is until the buzzers and horns started going off and it was just loud and crazy everywhere. As the doors lowered, I thought we were parked and there was a boat ahead of us moving. Oh no, our back end was still being swung into place. I think I still have PTSD from that scene that I cannot even begin to fully describe.

After we got off, it became a game of ‘what did you see coming off the ferry?’ The semis, the backhoe, the produce truck? Just crazy. Our mini bus was ready and waiting to whisk us off to Paros Agnati, the gorgeous hotel which would be our home for the next two nights.

B24D14B5-5C4A-4792-BD24-D785647E0510.jpeg

Pulling up, it looked just like all the whitewashed buildings with blue roofs and accents everyone expects to see in Greece. But as there are building restrictions, it is not some giant high rise, but more of a complex with buildings spread out and every room having a patio with a gorgeous view overlooking the Sea. By the time we arrived, most all of the rooms were ready. And wouldn’t ya know it, my number 67 was thee absolute last one to be finished up 🤦🏽‍♀️😢 I was able to admire the view and walk around the lobby and restaurant patio area, but all I wanted to do was get those sneakers off, change into my bathing costume, and head to the sunshine! When finally at long last it was done, I hopped on the golfcart with the luggage deliverer, none other than the dreamy looking Greek Thanos.

I think I gasped and almost fell over when I saw the view from the patio. The room itself was pretty nice too. But alas there was sunshine calling my name! Bathing costume in place, I walked to the pool and found some people to walk down to the Aegean Sea with. The water was pretty chilly so no swimming, just walking along with our feet in. Then back to hang by the pool for a bit. But again too chilly to swim.

6AA19EC6-4D3F-4F53-9028-9326FDBCD226.jpeg

Then it was time to get ready as we were all heading to Moraitis family vineyard for a tour and wine tasting. With the extensive winds the island gets, they have had to adapt their growing. From the moment you arrive to the island and see the trees half bent over in one direction, it’s clear where the harshest winds come from. So in the vineyards, grapes are planted with that in mind. From the direction the rows are planted in to growing them low to the ground instead of on trellised vines, it’s quite the process. The vineyard we were at has 37 acres of certified organic produce (besides grapes there are pomegranates and lemons and limes). The grape varietal is one that is pretty much only grown on Naxos. The tour was very interesting, but better still was sitting down for the tasting.

33EBC5E8-7EBD-40E4-87B5-584423CD03B1.jpeg
16EF66D4-33A5-4434-AC0A-57B018724958.jpeg20BBDB8D-65F7-4F12-BFDF-7C31ED5559A0.jpeg

So many delicious bites and all worked to enhance the tasty wines we tried. The room was filled with conversation and laughter, and I would venture to say a fabulous time was had by all. There was a charcuterie board, a bruschetta with sardines (which most of my table chose to have swim off our bread - way to go Chris for eating yours!), roasted chick peas, souvlaki, and a chocolate nut dessert. And I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention Leela - the dog next door that somehow shows up every time there is a tasting and goes table to table begging. She’s adorable, albeit rather on the portly side 🤣

F1F96C08-A839-4A55-8D1A-BC7B5C15A441.jpeg
228893DB-B5E1-4AB9-99C8-FF02C7C8F929.jpeg46610F16-A6CA-4958-B0B0-21C9730919FE.jpegD71CC83B-B254-4990-AA74-987A8F8539B9.jpeg

From the winery, a lot of us decided to be dropped off in the center of town. Pascale gave us a quick tour around some of the major sites, then set us free to roam. These were the twisty little whitewashed and cobblestone streets of Greek fantasies. We did some wandering and shopping and photo snapping, making our way til 10:15 when the hotel shuttle made its last pickup. As we were standing around waiting, the consensus was that our sunrise over Athens that morning felt like it was about 6 weeks ago. Yet another exhaustingly wonderful day.

FCC9FADF-0F56-466A-A0FB-745AC67E37AB.jpeg57E6C4E6-DD73-4076-B5B5-34F051E647C6.jpeg9814E148-E7B2-4E5D-8170-C944EEC0978A.jpeg
5B5956AB-05AE-4FA4-AA59-F8A5C6C0AD72.jpeg

Posted by JackiesJourneys 19:25 Archived in Greece Tagged greece athens paros Comments (0)

(Entries 1 - 5 of 28) Page [1] 2 3 4 5 6 » Next