Departed from Singapore on 20 June 2016

Day 1: Athens

21/06/2016. We arrived in Athens International Airport, placed our luggage in the luggage locker and began our adventure. Rode a bus to Syntagma Square, grabbed some lunch at a nice cafe, got our SIM card at Vodafone and then head to Acropolis Museum. We bought a hat as a ripped-off price, but that’s only because the sun was so unforgiving. The museum was huge and filled with many artefacts, and I can just imagine seeing them in their full glory. Oh what a beauty they would be! By then, we were so tired from all the travelling, we headed back to Syntagma square for dinner at KFC (haha, ikr). I was so amazed at how the sun didn’t set until like 8.30pm! After dinner, sat by the Old Royal Palace and watched the change of guard and just chilled there for a bit. We sat bus X95 back to the airport (tip: do buy the bus ticket early, cause once the shops are closed, you won’t be able to get them, and there were people who were unable to ride the bus because of that) Back at the airport, we washed up like hobos in the toilet and just found somewhere to crash.

Day 2: Mykonos

Got on our flight to Mykonos! It was at like 5:35 AM, crazy early. When we arrived at Mykonos, it was only 6ish AM, and this wind was SO crazy. Can you imagine, it was as if we were by the beach at night, and it was just so different from the super hot weather in Athens. This random lady even said to me: “Welcome to windy Mykonos” when she heard our exclamation about the wind! So it was still really early, and we decided had a nice breakfast at some cafe. After which, we dropped our luggage off at our hostel’s reception and headed for our day’s itinerary, Delos. While we were walking to the ferry terminal, we were so marvelled by the pretty streets and we kept stopping to take photos and admire the streets that we almost missed the ferry!

The first thing that came into my mind when we arrived at Delos was “this is a friggin’ barren land”, which was true! There were nothing but ruins on this small island, but it was an amazing sight. We followed the guide whereby she told us some history about the island and the ruins, and then we had to explore it ourselves. We trekked up to the highest point of the island in slippers. Can you imagine? It was crazy tired but so worth it. When we were on the way down, we kind got lost. But the fun kind of lost, haha. Headed back to Mykonos where our night activity was to party, but was so tired from the previous days and we just crashed for the whole night.

Day 3: Mykonos

Woke up early after some adequate rest from the early night, and visited The Windmills and Little Venice before we left the main square of Mykonos. I love how pretty Mykonos is, every turn is shades of white and blue. So beautiful I can’t even tell you enough. Afterwards we checked-out of our hostel and head to our next hostel: Paraga Beach Camping, and it was by the beach! Wasn’t time to check-in yet when we reached, so we chilled by the pool side where we met Hartley, this really nice Aussie that chatted with us and told us about his travel stories. Anyway, our hostel there was a mini tent which was kinda cute, but really hot. Our shared toilet was really clean, which I was so thankful for. We continued our day by heading to Paraga beach. The beach was really nice!!!! It has the clearest water I’ve ever seen and I was just so awed by it. Vania went snorkelling while I enjoyed my afternoon on the sun under the umbrella. At night, Hartley brought us to the neighbouring Paradise Beach. Party freaking starts at 10PM omg. It was SO WILD!!! I totally underestimated how people in Mykonos love to party! AT about 12:30AM, Vania was so high and we stumbled back to our hostel across this like a small road along the rocky cliff without any street lights. Next day, we were kinda amazed how we actually made it back. Thank god, haha.

Day 4: Naxos

We took a ferry from Mykonos to Naxos, and arrived shortly at 10.30AM. I think Vania’s and my first thought about Naxos was “where is everybody?” Seriously! It was a 180 degrees change of environment because there was literally less than 100 people on the streets. We then came to realised that Naxos is not a “popular” island for foreigners and thus free from the touristy crowds. Also, shops are only open early in the morning and late at night. In the afternoon, locals would be either by the beach or sleeping.

Anyho, we deposited our stuff in our hostel and headed to walk around. Had lunch at ‘Pizzadelia’ which sold really really awesome gluten-free food! We visited the castle, which was just an old street of Naxos. Very beautiful architecture but because of the long walk and crazy night at Mykonos, we were like too tired to appreciate it’s beauty 😦 We continued to walk around but there were no shops open, so we gave up and head to the beach near our hostel. The beach was very very quiet and it was just so different from Mykonos. Yup, we spent the afternoon complaining about how we missed Mykonos already haha. Near dusk, we chanced upon a super breath-taking sunset by the pier before dinner. The crazy us also actually climbed a small hill to visit Temple of Apollo after dinner (we were too early for the bars). It was a pretty nerve-wrecking experience! The walk to the hill was a stretch of road with the ocean by the sides. It was high tide then! We grabbed on each other like we were holding on for our lives hahaha. It was so pretty there at night, we just laid on the rocks to watch the stars. When we were heading back down, Vania sprained her ankle so we decided to call it a night.

Day 5: Naxos

We signed up for a day-tour which brought us around. Some sights were: Sanctuary of Apollo and Demeter, the incomplete statue of Dionysos. We also visited the local winery which offers Ouzo (a kind of citrus alcohol), pottery, the olive press museum which served super duper delicious Olive Oil cake and the Chalki (an old town). At night, we wanted to experience their night life, but was wayyyy too early again! We finished dinner (at Pizzadelia!!!) and pre-drinks and it was only 12AM, but the hype doesn’t start till about 2.30AM. Crazy right? Their bars are actually opened till 9AM!!! We gave up waiting as we were dead tired from the day tour, bought a crepe (best crepe we’ve ever eaten) and laughed all the way back to our hostel hahahaha.

If you’d ask me, I love Naxos because it’s so peaceful and quiet here. Very relaxing. 2 days here really helped me to be more laid back from the hectic city life. Not to mention that the streets of  the island is gorgeous as well. Food and accommodation is also more affordable compared to the touristy places.

Day 6: Santorini

We bid our goodbye to the hostel owner’s adorable dog and made our way to the ferry terminal to Santorini. Our accommodation at Santorini was downtown of Santorini at the Beach area. As we were on the bus to our Airbnb, my thoughts were “where’s the pretty Santorini we see in pictures?”, because along the way were all barren land and abandoned/rundown building. After checking in, we had a rather late lunch at Tranquilo (the bar owned by the same Airbnb owner). Food there was cheap and fantastic. I had a really big portion of Balsamic Chicken Rice. Currently drooling as I’m typing this hahah. So it was pretty late after that, and we decided not to head to town. We chilled by Perissa Beach, which is also known as the ‘Black Sand Beach’.

Day 7: Santorini

Vania signed up for diving while I made my way to the town (Fira). It took me really long to catch the bus, argh. As I reached the town, it was so populated with tourist, really. There was nothing much at Fira too, just expensive shops. I decided to have a nice lunch first as crowd is really not my thing. Had this plate of really good beef covered in tomato sauce! After lunch, I was being adventurous and trekked my way to the next town, Imerovigli. On my map, it says half an hour walk, but I think I took about an hour HAHA. It was uphill all the way, which was really tiring. View there is much better than Fira, but there was nothing there. Just expensive and pretty hotels. Admired the view for awhile and made my way back to Perissa beach for dinner with Vania and her diving instructor (Gareth). Gareth was really nice, he gave me a volcanic stone that he found underwater. Vania picked one up for herself too. We asked a lady that sells necklace to string it for us. Ahhh, so precious. Gareth’s such a crazy guy; lived as a fighter in Russia, a MMA fighter, travelled 64 countries by busking, got shot and got into many car accidents before omg. Somehow, his way of living really inspires me. He’s really free-spirited and does what he enjoys. Money cannot buy the vast experience he’s lived through. “Live in the moments”, he says.

Day 8: Santorini

We signed up for a day tour which brought us to: volcano, hot spring at Agios Nikolaos, island of Thirassia and Oia for sunset. The hike up the volcano was gruelling for us. Firstly, the tour group was so huge that we lost them several times. Secondly, the sun was super unforgiving. The volcano is dormant, thus we got to smell sulphur along the way. Honestly, I thought that it wasn’t a very good experience, as the view at the top was not very nice either…. we were like zombies when we returned back to the boat. Next was hot spring (which I didn’t go down, but Vania say the water wasn’t hot) and followed by lunch at a small island of Thirassia. We were then ferried to Oia, where we rode a donkey up to the cliff. The donkey person was so rude and I didn’t even manage to get a nice picture with the donkey 😦 Anyway, Oia is a more traditional town in Santorini, which is also the prettiest. However, it was still only filled with shops, hotels and a countless of tourist. Vania went to cliff-jump, while I spent my time in a cafe (lady was so unfriendly). We ended the trip by catching the sunset with a gorgeous view of Oia.

An item ticked off my Bucket list: Sunset in Santorini.

If you ask me, I would say Santorini is too overrated. Not as dreamy as what people say or in pictures. Just marketing gimmicks I would say. Naxos and Mykonos was comparable. Except that they are not caldera. Perhaps I would stay a day in Santorini just to catch the sunset in Oia, but 3 days was definitely too long, unless you’ll like to chill on the beaches like us. Vania did mentioned that the dive was good though.

Anyhow, I would just like to say that Santorini did show me something important: that destruction can create a beautiful mess too. Santorini is a remnant of the volcanic caldera, after an enormous volcanic eruption that destroyed the earliest settlements on a formerly single island for the last about 360,000 years ago.

Day 9: Athens

So we had this long search for our AirBnB. The apartment was damn far from the metro and we were lugging our luggage under the freaking hot sun. Can you imagine our frustration? After we final-freakingly reached our Airbnb, we just collapsed and had the sweetest nap till dinner. Shisha-ed and just talked and chilled by the streets at night. (sg y u ban shisha :(!!!) Streets at Athens are not as safe as the islands though.

Day 10: Athens

It’s our last day here in Greece, and I must have been really tired because I overslept for our walking tour oops. We made our way to a street with lots of cafe, we kinda happened to pass by this gem while going to the Acropolis Museum on the first day. Since it was our last day, we wanted to have a good meal. Sat down at Estia (we were completely sold by the guy after he mentioned all the awards they received from TripAdvisor) and ordered sooooo much food. We had Feta cheese, vegetable soup, Hummus, pita bread, Salmon and gyro (main course) and Baklava. Baklava is their signature dessert here in Greece, and it’s so good!!! I think we spent a total of about 60ish Euros just for lunch. Continued our day by shopping for souvenirs. I bought my very own pair of greek sandals from The Poet, the famous sandal-maker, woohooo!!! Damage was 40 euros though.

Our last activity was to visit the Acropolis –  Parthenon, the Propylaia, the Erechtheion and the Temple of Athena Nike, but was swiftly chased down after awhile cause we went in kinda late. Before the climb, we were like saying our prayers because we had so much legs day for the past few days. Thank god it wasn’t hard to climb! We saw the Theatre of Dionysos on our way up too. We also saw other archeological sites, like the Arch of Hadrian, but only from bus passing by there hahahah fml. Again, Acropolis was really overrated to us. As it was pretty much destroyed during the war, it’s now under a major reconstruction. I feel that they kinda put too much emphasis on the reconstruction, that people could not enjoy the history of it instead. Also, there were barricades everywhere and we can’t go near the buildings. We ended the day by having our final dinner in Greece at the same street where we had lunch at. So emotional :((((

Departed from Athens on 1 July 2016

I can’t believe we made this insane 5-minute decision to go to Greece. By far the craziest and best decision I’ve ever made. It was like a dream-come-true. Eucharist polý Greece, you have been an amazing experience, one that I will not ever forget and will always hold closely to my heart. Thankful for the really nice and helpful people we met along our journey and thank you God for keeping us safe throughout this journey.

I hope my next getaway will be another incredible one. Let’s see where my wanderlust brings me. I do hope I will get more chances to travel to Europe though.

Till then.

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