Ever since I was a little girl, my family and I have traveled to different countries around the world. Over the course of my 18 years so far, I have been to 20+ countries, some of my favorites including Singapore, Cambodia, New Zealand, China, Japan, and Thailand. After I graduated high school in June of 2018, my parents told me to decide where we would go on vacation that summer as a "graduation trip." I chose Greece and it is now on my list of favorite countries.
When we first arrived in Santorini and were driving to the hotel from the airport, it looked pretty deserted. There were just fields everywhere with no sight of civilization–kind of weird. Little did I know at the time, but everything in Santorini is built on the side of a cliff. So as we were nearing said cliff, there were white structures everywhere; It was the most beautiful sight I had ever seen.
We spent two full days in Santorini. The first day, we took a boat tour of three islands. The first island consisted of inactive volcanoes with dark black lava rock everywhere. We hiked on this island for about a mile round-trip. The second island, we didn't set foot on, but my father and I jumped off of the boat and swam to the hot spring there; My skin and swimsuit turned all orange-ish for a bit from the clay in the water. And on the last island, there were a few restaurants to eat at, so we ate lunch and then went back on the boat, which pretty much sums up day one.
On the second day in Santorini, my family and I rode donkeys down the side of a cliff (which was actually quite funny, since everyone else rode up the cliff). We then took a cable car back up. After that, we ate authentic gyros at a local restaurant and then spent the next few hours on a black sand beach. That night, the sunset was incredible and we departed for Athens the next morning. I made a video from my experience in Santorini, so you can check that out here:
We spent about three days in Athens, not including our travel days. On the first day, we took a three-hour bus ride to Olympia, where the first ancient Olympics were held. If you ask me, it wasn't really worth it–there were a lot of ruins, but by that, I mean demolished stones littering the ground; There were not that many statues or structures to look at. On the second day, we toured the Acropolis, which is the hill that the Parthenon sits on. And on the third day, we visited Delphi, housing the Temple of Apollo.
On all of these trips, I learned much more about Greek Mythology. Mythology is very interesting to me, but I think what was most interesting was learning about Greece's current financial situation. The unemployment rate is at 37%, salaries were cut by 30%, and the criminality rate is increasing due to riots against the government and others. And the majority of Greece's income stems from tourism, which is an unreliable source of income.
Despite Greece's many financial troubles, the history and culture of Athens is incredible and the views in Santorini were absolutely breathtaking. I highly recommend booking a trip to Greece on your next vacation.