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September 7, 2018

Our Trip to Greece

I could talk about this trip forever and ever, but I will keep this as short as I can! There aren’t words for how beautiful this country is and how friendly and accommodating it’s people are! I still feel like it was all a dream!
I had a lot of questions about our itinerary, how we found our hotels, transportation, etc. and as much as I’d like to pretend I’m a world traveler who’s capable of planning a trip all organically… I’m not and we actually booked a vacation package through Virgin Vacations! (There are three different plans — we chose B) I cannot explain how incredibly glad we are that we did this.  People tend to think that you don’t get to experience and enjoy the culture through these package deals, but we found the exact opposite to be true! We took an “Independent Tour” which meant Virgin Vacations arranged ALL of our transfers and accommodations, but we had the days to add optional tours or explore on our own. Because of this we were able to fully enjoy our time without worrying about trying to figure out how to arrange for a taxi to get from airports to hotels or worrying about our reservations getting mixed up.   For anyone who’s visited Greece you know how crazy the driving is and how limited taxis are. (FYI there are only 3 taxis on the whole island of Mykonos and Santorini) We simply looked for the guy with our sign at every place and he’d grab our bags and take us exactly where we needed to go! They also gave us briefings on the culture and what we should expect (how to pay for the bill, tipping customs, etc.) It took all of the stress of logistics off of us without limiting our experience!  So in a brief summary:

Top Five Favorite Things we did in Greece:

Catamaran Cruise in Santorini
Santo Winery (for sunset)
Ornos Beach
Plaka and Monastiraki
Mykonos Town

Day 1: Athens
We first arrived in Athens for one night before heading to Mykonos.  I was expecting much out of Athens and I didn’t plan too much for our first day because with a 7 hour time difference and coming off a 10 hour flight I figured we’d be exhausted.  So we checked into our hotel and napped.  Around dinner time we decided to explore and find somewhere to eat.  Plaka was the one thing I had on our Athens checklist and to our surprise it was less than a half-mile from our hotel.  We ended up at a cute little restaurant on the streets of Plaka then headed back to our hotel, had some wine on the streets of our hotel bar, and headed to bed.
Day 2: Travel to Mykonos
On our second day we took the four hour ferry ride from Athens to Mykonos (also so thankful for our guide navigating the port and ferry system for us!).  We had been warned about the nightlife and crazy party scenes in Mykonos so honestly, I don’t think our expectations were super high (I really just wanted to be in Santorini TBH), BUT Mykonos ended up being our favorite spot!  When we checked in to the hotel the man told us we had the best room in all of the hotel and he was NOT lying.  It had French doors that opened to a little patio that overlooked the pool and Ornos Bay.  It’s the most beautiful place we’ve ever stayed.
Day 3: Explore Mykonos Town
Our first day we spent some time at the hotel pool then headed into town to watch the sunset and navigate the maze of white walls, stone paths, and blue doors, had dinner at the cutest little place, then grabbed a bottle of wine and ended the day on our little patio at the hotel.
Day 4: Ornos Beach

The second day we walked down the little path to the beach and rented two lounge chairs on the beach (Pro Tip: reserving lounge chairs is common practice on Greek beaches and apparently you can reserve these somewhere), had dinner at a spot recommended by our beach bartender haha, then again, finished our day with wine on the patio.
Day 5: Back to Mykonos Town
Our final day, we headed into town early and explored a little more.  We saw the windmills and tried to navigate through the maze again (more successful this time)
Day 6: Travel to Santorini
Santorini was the stop I was looking forward to the most so you can imagine my disappointment when our ferry from Mykonos was 4 hours late and we missed out on a full day there, but we made it there just in time for sunset and even got to see fireworks over the cliffs as we were eating dinner so I guess that made up for it!
Day 7: All-day guided tour of Santorini
Because we didn’t have a car and there was a lot that we wanted to see, we decided to take an all-day guided tour.  We knew we wanted to see the picturesque town of Oia and the tour ended there at sunset… perfect right?  WRONG.  The tour was exhausting, we had to claim our spot two hours before the sunset because of the MASSIVE crowds, and we had to run back to the tour bus after so we missed out on dinner, I was hangry to the max.  At this point we were exhausted and loosing hope in Santorini.  We had a catamaran cruise booked the next day and honestly, we weren’t excited, but it ended up turning the whole trip around!
Day 8: Catamaran Cruise and Santos Winery
It was by far the BEST day we had on the trip (maybe best day ever?).  We cruised the Aegean Sea, making stops along the way to stop and swim in the crystal blue (shark free) waters.  Our fellow boat mates found out we were newly engaged and threw us an impromptu engagement party and became our newest best friends!  After that we headed back to the hotel and opted for a low key night at the local winery.  We got a table right on the cliff, had dinner, and drank wine until after the sun went down… the most perfect night and ending to our island adventures.
Day 9 & 10: Travel Back to Athens
On day 9 we flew back to Athens to wrap up the trip.  We saved these days for sight seeing.  We climbed the Acropolis and visited the old town and dove into the history of Ancient Greece. We did some more shopping in Monastiraki and tasted real gyros. We wrapped up the trip with dinner and drinks on a roof.

I told myself I wasn’t going to spend this trip seeing everything through a lens, but here are a few pictures I was able to capture 🙂
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