Greetings! And welcome (or welcome back) to my little corner of the world.
Today, we will continue our journey through Greece with part two of my blog series on this amazing country. If by chance you missed part one, please view the post directly before this one, as it covers our journey there, and our experience in the great city of Athens.
Like I mentioned in Part One of this series, Greece was never anywhere that I thought I would travel, but after taking the plunge to take my daughter there, I was totally enamored and would return in a heartbeat.
As we departed Athens, both my daughter and I were unaware of what we would experience. We traveled by journey coach (large luxury liner type bus) throughout the country side which was truly beautiful. I wasn’t sure what I expected, but I can assure you that what we saw and experienced, exceeded all expectations.
The first destination we stopped at was the great City of Olympia – the site of the very first Olympic Games, which was held in 776BC.
The grounds were beautiful and peppered with artifacts of history throughout. The area was very large, with remnants of the original stadium and tons to learn, such as where the dignitaries would sit, what the Olympic events were (some have lasted the test of time) etc.
This was the tunnel that the athletes would run out of at the beginning of the celebration of the Olympic Games.
We were shown to the infamous and original Olympic track. It had been raining the days prior to our visit, so there were puddles, but we didn’t care. B and I lined up on the starting line and ran it anyway!
Traveling the Coast
Our travels on the Coach took us to coastal towns. The architecture was aged, the people were friendly the coffee (or tea) was hot, and the scenery was breathtaking.
Traveling the Countryside
A stop on our tour was a small village type location where we got to take part in a Greek cooking class. Bethany volunteered and I believe she helped out with the Tiropsomo, which is a baked bread filled with cheese. Feta of course!
We also learned to Greek dance, which involved dancing on top of tables, I will spare Bethany the photos (you’re welcome!) and we learned to love to yell out OOMPAH!! It was truly a unique experience that included delicious food that was made on site, greek music and dancing, and enough laughs to last for days!
Olives and Olive Oil
I was unaware until this Greece trip just how many uses for Olive Oil there was and just how important it is to this country. Also how it is made, pressed and valued along with the many different types and flavors of both Olives and Oil. It was fascinating and loved the many displays and samples we got to partake in!
Delphi and Visiting the Oracle
Delphi was and is a very important ancient Greek location known for it religious significance. It was a sanctuary sacred to the God Apollo. Located on the beautiful mountainside of Mt. Parnassus and very near to the Gulf of Corinth.
When we climbed up the narrow and steep walkways, the mood definitely fit the place. It was cloudy and moody and very silent. It was quite evident that it was a most spiritual place. It was in this place that advice, guidance and predictions were given to both city-states and individual leaders by the Oracle of Apollo.
There were also buildings that have stood the test of time that were banking institutions (2nd photo down from left) and places where citizens could and would sell their wares, this was explained as the “first mall” (photo bottom right)
No matter your spiritual beliefs or ideologies, there was something truly mystical and spiritual about this magical place tucked away on the mountainside.
I wanted to make the most out of this trip, as it just might have been the only time we ever get to go to this magical place. So after some thought and some research, I decided to add on a few days to experience a Greek Island.
Now everyone goes to Santorini and Mykonos. They are very expensive and riddled with tourists and to be quite honest? I wasn’t interested. I wanted someplace peaceful and beautiful that we could end this glorious trip with. I was heading back to a busy FNP practice and Bethany was heading back to her Grad program. To complicate it, we were also getting back two days before Christmas……
I decided to go to Hydra Island. From what I read, it seemed very interesting, beautiful, and cost effective. So why not? What appealed to me most was there was no automotive machines allowed. No trucks, automobiles, etc for transportation. The only modes of transportation were donkeys, carts, or your feet. Period. This was due to a noise order. It was important to the people permanently living here to keep their island slow paced and above all; peaceful. How interesting is that!!
Arriving and the Dock
It was a ferry ride over to the island which took about an hour and a half. We were both very much looking forward to having a few days to wind down, absorb all that we had experienced over these past ten days or so, and to relax so that we could return to our very busy lives somewhat rested. Not too much to ask, right?
Our Air BnB
This amazing place was two stories, with a full kitchen and living room. Nice large bedrooms with two bathrooms, fully stocked with everything. The best part was the outside space with furniture, where we spent every evening with a bottle of wine and authentic Greek finger foods. Heaven!
Cats! Cats! Cats!
There were cats everywhere but they were so chill! Just hanging out and not bothering anyone. Very friendly and docile.
Life here was quiet and slow. No one was in any kind of a hurry here! Couples or friends would be sharing a beer or a coffee and playing chess somewhere along the docks. The shoppes and eating establishments along the dock were all at a slow pace, no hurry at all, and invited you to stay for as long as you like. Prices were reasonable. There were a couple small markets if you wanted to cook at home and not eat out, the water was crystal clear, and the boats were plentiful.
I’m not sure much could equal the peace and beauty of just enjoying a cup of hot coffee specially made for you and looking out into a Harbor while you’re staying on a Greek Island with your daughter.
Im sure some would prefer Santorini or Mykonos islands. But for the money you spend there compared to here, and the personalized experience, I would highly recommend Hydra Island, and if I ever were to return to Greece, I would repeat my visit here as well. Highly recommend!! Its a very well kept Greek Island Secret!!
Greece in a word was FANTASTIC. I simply cannot say enough about how wonderful this country truly is. From the people to the food to the history to the architecture to the surprises around every corner, all sprinkled with just a little bit of random.
I probably sound like a broken record, but I highly recommend traveling here. The most expensive part is the airfare, but considering this country went bankrupt in ’09, and they are still recovering, prices are extremely reasonable and in some circumstances, downright cheap! The people here welcome tourists with friendliness. You can always ask someone for directions or help, and you will be greeted with kindness. These people are very proud and truly love their country. It was certainly a breath of fresh air!
Thank you for visiting my blog and leave a comment if you would on your opinion of Greece or what I have presented in my two part series.
Also leave a comment with with your guess of the cost of this trip, for two people, round trip airfare from Phoenix Arizona to and from Athens, all transportation, approximately 50% of meals, and all extras including museums, cooking and dancing class for 10 days. If there are enough of you, I may do a drawing FOR A PRIZE!!!
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Until next time……..be kind…….always,