Greece in 9 days

I love Greece.

I love everything about this country.  I freaking love it.

You can’t go wrong when you travel to Greece.  Seriously, I have been to a couple countries and thinking “Not a second time.”  But to Greece, I keep asking myself “When am I coming back?” (…soon)

Now I am writing about my last trip to Greece which was way back in 2016 (yup, I used “way back” cause it feels like for-ever).  We spent 9 days total in this lovely country and I literally left my heart there for a good year.

First, we flew from Rome to Athens.  I believed we flew with Ryan Air, they required to check-in 2 hours before boarding and I did not know.  A careless-self with an American mind thinking they were going to print out boarding passes and checked us in at the counter but against the odd, nope.  We were two minutes late (check-in time), and had to buy new tickets.  Thank you Ryan Air for expensive lessons.

DAY 1: 

We stayed in Athens for the first two days.  His cousin Lena and her husband George picked us up at the airport.  Then they decided to take us to a-kinda-fancy-restaurant by the port.  TGIF was a beautiful restaurant right by the harbor of Athena port.  And this was my first time meeting his Greek side of family after two years of marriage.

Quick tip: A toast is grilled cheese here. And cappuccino came as one shot.

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We spent the whole first day visiting museums and checked out Athens by night. Words couldn’t express my feeling at that moment when I, word by word, lived between two worlds.

Our first night was a nightmare.  No for real, a nightmare.

I booked a room in booking.com.  For some reasons, I couldn’t find that booking anymore, however, it was totally false advertising.  It looked so good in pictures but the room was just a cleaner pig cage.  We had no hot shower, the bed was unstable to sleep on, and we were right in the heart of downtown where all the parties happened.  To my husband, it was great.  He spent hours just to look out from the balcony observing the lifestyle.  I, on the other hand, wasted 8 hours of my life complaining about the situation.  Nevertheless, the night went on, I passed out crankily.

DAY 2:

First thing first, coffee.

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First time ever, I heard Mike communicate in Greek only.  Mesmerizing.

We invested the whole morning to explore Athens.  From ruins to modern shops.  From Taxi Beat to walking for miles.  I still couldn’t have enough of Athens.

We had lunch with my Greek family, of course, Greek style – shots first.

It was the best Greek food I ever had.  Home-cook is never out of style.  It was also the first time I got introduced to Loukoumi (a combination of starch and sugar).  I liked it so much ’till the points I was stocking it in my luggage and brought it back to the States like treasure.  Still, no other brands could compare to Thea Sofia’s candies.

You know how I ended day two in Athens?  With Dinner in the Sky.

It was my best dining experience by far.  Ah, I also booked another room on airbnb to stay in Athens.  My day two was well-spent.

Tip:  They have their own version of Uber called TAXI BEAT.  Save change for tips, they don’t make much here.

DAY 3:

We took off for Santorini.  An island of everybody’s dream.  Or at least was mine for a long time since I saw Mama Mia.

We stayed in the south of the island. Akrotini.  Our hotel was Apanemo.  Breath taking location and away from the crowd.

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We did walk/hike to every where for food and museum.  Unforgettable day.

And I had traditional way yogurt with dried grapes and honey.  At that moment, all the so-called Greek yogurts in the States became a big joke.  Did I tell you I love everything about Greece?  The restaurant’s owner was too nice to give me a pack of jam to bring back to the States.  We, unfortunately, could not.

We walked from the beaches to museums, from stairs to mountains.  It was a productive day with a lot of walking involved.

Apanemo’s review:

  • Staff was very nice and helpful.  They offered free ride to near by restaurants and museums.
  • The room we stayed at was very clean and well-decorated.
  • Shower took a long time to get hot water.  And if you like long shower, the drain was not fast enough to drain all the water, it could make the bathroom flooded.
  • Windows were well-designed.  They were my favorite.
  • 4/5 – the location was kinda far from all the attractions.

DAY 4:

Mike woke up early to catch the sunrise.  It was very windy and chilly at the same time, but worth every second of it.

Packed up and ready to hop to the other island.  Crete.

Originally, we did not have plan to visit Crete but last minute, Crete was on the our travel map for couple reason.  Mike wanted to visit where his family came from.

As the result of last minute planning, we had to flight back to Athens from Santorini and from Athens caught another flight to Crete.  Long-tiring-transit-flight.

In as much as last minute planning, we rent a car and drove three hours to THE BLUE PALACE. Mike saw it online somewhere so we booked the hotel without further research of the location.  It was far from the center, located between the coast of Elounda and the relics of Spinalonga Island.  Beautiful place, luxury experience.

I was being away from Asian food for so long, so I insisted Mike to go fine dining at their Thai Restaurant.  My regret, it was worse than my noodle cups at home, even they claimed to have Asian chiefs.  Lesson: DO NOT TRUST THE ADVERTISES.

BLUE PALACE’s Review:

  • Very roomy.
  • Not that clean for a high-end resort.
  • Be aware for worms.  It freaked me out but they wouldn’t do anything cause “It’s normal here.”
  • Fine dining was not worth it.  It was tasteless experience.
  • Staff was okay.
  • 2.5/5 – I would not come back

DAY 5,6,7:

We spent the next 3 days exploring the island and visited where the Kanterakis came from.  It was emotional.

We stopped by HERAKLION ARCHAEOLOGICAL MUSEUM in Knossos on the way back to the airport.  Many paid parking lots near by.  Easy access.

Amazing museum experience.  From ruins to historical stories.  A must visit.

We had lunch right outside of the museum, on the side walk.  You think Greek people are big on lamb?  Haha, don’t let “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” fools you.  They don’t.  So this was my 5th day in this country and also my first lamb chop I had since it was so hard to find.

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Visited his dad’s town.  Car got returned.  Bye bye Crete.

DAY 8,9:

We used the last two days for museums and explored Athens.

My personal-must-see:

  • Acropolis + Museum
  • Parthenon
  • Plaka ( please practice your bargain skill when you visit Plaka.  They can tell you’re tourist even my husband speaks Greek.)
  • Temple of Olympian Zeus
  • Changing guards (be there early, like half an hour early to have good spot)
  • Flee Market.  It was like 5 minutes walk from the government house.

Time in Greece was fascinating.  I never thought I would have a chance to relate to this country this way, and fell in love with it deeply.

Wholeheartedly,

Ngan & Michaek Kanterakis.

 

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