Χαίρετε “Chaírete” (Hello) my friend, thank you for watching this vlog. We had an amazing time in Greece and I recommend anybody to go visit.
It’s a beautiful place and we were lucky to spend 15 days there. With enough time to wrap my little head around some of the Greek culture, I thought I’d add in today’s blog post some overall thoughts about what we’ve seen, things that stood out and some general recommendations.
Happy reading :)
– Terraces are extremely popular and just about everywhere. That’s definitely something very European.
– Food portions are huge! I thought they were humongous when I moved to the US, so I was surprised to see how much bigger they were in Greece. Even if you’re super hungry, don’t order a lot; one portion will be PLENTY!
– Wooden dicks are everywhere. That’s no joke, I’ve seen racks of penis-shaped wooden accessories in every part of Greece that we’ve been to. Wooden-dick bottle openers are especially popular and many sellers told us they’re there at the request of tourists. Who those tourists were, inquiring about penis bottle openers, I don’t know!
– There are wild cats and kittens everywhere. As cute and cuddly as they may seem though, don’t touch them! Most of them have not been vaccinated and just about all of them have flies and ticks. Nobody had issues with us feeding them though.
– The Tzatziki served in America does not hold a candle to the one from Greece. It’s much more creamy there, chunkier and drizzled with the most amazing olive oil. Definitely order that, chance you get!
– Regular water is labeled as Mineral water on bottles. The water in the showers is also pretty harsh, so be prepared with your hair and body care.
– To our surprise, gyros (or Souvlakis as they’re called there) are more-of an Americanized thing. They have them everywhere (for tourists of course) but one of the most popular dishes in Greece is actually pasta.
– Lastly, I kept being told that the gelato in Greece is even better than the one in Italy. Having not been to Italy I can’t compare the two, but what I can tell you is that I had the absolute best gelato I’ve had in my entire life – in Greece.
Some things that stood out in ATHENS:
– Graffiti walls are everywhere. I don’t remember if I’ve seen A wall without any spray paint on it. It may seem “ghetto” to some. To me, every wall told a story and made for a great insta shot.
– Plaka is a must visit! It’s an area of Athens close to the Acropolis that’s so quaint and extremely charming. Lots of terraces everywhere, adorned in the sweetest flower pots… (A little) more traditional flavors in the dishes, the flea market is right there too… It’s just perfect!
– Lots of bikers. Street bikes, Vespas… and that makes sense, because the city is pretty cluttered and it’s easiest to travel that way.
– Lots of shoe stores. Literally, 3 out of 5 stores in Athens were shoes-only.
– Felt safe for tourists, at least within a 3-4 mile radius of the Parliament building which is central. That’s where it’s more “touristy” and we felt safe the entire time.
– First time seeing a man emptying his catheter in public was in that central Parliament area and as disgusting as it may sound (and let’s be honest – it was), there was also a weird element of intrigue there as well, given that we were seeing that for the very first time AND in a foreign country.
– It was a lot hotter than I thought it would be – we went middle of May and had around 80 degrees every day. In a city that’s smoggy and busy, that can definitely get uncomfortable. And that’s another thing – lots of smog in Athens.
– When visiting the Acropolis, make sure to wear shoes that have a good bottom grip. You’ll be walking on a lot of marble roads that have been walked on so much for so long, the marble has become pretty “glassy” and it’s very slippery.
– This island stole my heart. Most people talked about going to Mykonos and Santorini because they’re the most “popular”. Naxos may not be as trendy, but it’s the biggest island and has the perfect blend of traditional life with some modern amenities. There are far more things to do and they also have lovely beaches as well. The beaches in Santorini for example are so rocky, you can’t lay out.
– There are no traffic lights anywhere on the island. That to me is so cool!
– Rent a car and go explore. It will be the best way to go about visiting Naxos, but whatever you do, make sure it’s a compact car; many of the roads and streets are so narrow, it can sometimes be a challenge for two Fiats to go through in the same time.
– Best gelato I’ve had in all of Greece was in Naxos Town.
– I was told that Naxos is one of the best places in the world to go wind surfing.
– There’s a constant breeze on the island which is magical, but that also means often days, the wind can be pretty powerful. On the second and fifth days there, the wind was so strong, I thought I’d tip over a few times.
– I recommend staying in Oia, that’s where the blue domes are! When you Google “Santorini”, the large majority of the pictures will show beautiful blue domes and views of the Aegean sea, worthy of envy. That’s where those domes are located and it’s the only part of the island where you’ll have that experience.
– Like when visiting the Acropolis in Athens, here it will be best to wear shoes with a good grip. Don’t even think you can wear stilettos, that will be nuts! In the part of Oia where most of the restaurants and stores are located, you’ll be walking a lot on the “pedestrian” how it’s called, the road that intertwines and takes you from store to store… Well that pedestrian is in large part made of marble; which after MANY years and millions of tourists walking on it has become pretty slippery.
– We kept wondering how older folks and folks with disabilities can visit Oia. They can’t! There are so many (steep) stairs and slippery roads; you have to be in relative decent shape to be able to sightsee there. Be ready to get a little exercise from your hotel room to the restaurant for dinner.
– Beware of the donkey rides. They may look like fun, but everybody we spoke with that did it, said it felt dangerous, unpleasant and the donkeys smelled very bad. (Insert sad face).
– Everything is double the price. Ok maybe not everything, but over 90% of the things in Oia (and most tourist areas in Santorini) will be very expensive. A trinket bracelet with little beads and metal parts that will turn orange after 1 contact with water might cost 5 dollars at the Santa Monica pier, but 8 euros ($9.06 at the time I’m writing this) in Santorini. And it’s like that with just about everything.
– Count your change. On multiple occasions, different vendors would “miscalculate” the change they owed us and “forget” 1 or 2 euros. Always count your change back.
– Wear SPF and take it with you. The sun there burns! It gets so hot, you should reapply it every 2 hrs and always carry a bottle of water with you. There’s so much walking up hill in the sun, you’ll get dehydrated real quick.n
– Lolita’s is the best gelato place on the Island and right next to it wed had the best wrapped Gyros we’ve eaten in Greece. P.S. can you tell how obsessed I was with the gelato? :)
P.S. While at the hotel pool bar in Santorini (Andronis Luxury Suites) we ran into Tim Gunn of Project Runway. He was so nice and so friendly, and he was telling us that he hasn't been on a vacation in 15 years (I said WHAA? but then later I checked his instagram and sure enough he posted a pic saying the same thing). He was there with a significantly, much younger man, and as nice as Tim was his partner came off as a very entitled queen honey! He had quite the little snarky attitude and was talking about how they're taking a helicopter here, there, everywhere, that always turns me off and when I see people bragging like that, I typically see lots of insecurities. Anyway, Tim Gunn gets a 10 in my book for being a very nice, very cordial, friendly and engaging public figure.
FAVORITE OUTFITS IN ORDER:
asos leather jacket & booties
asos jogger pants
jacket from eBay
asos army pants
Ralph Lauren aviators
Dress & sandals – asos
River Island sandals
Bathing suit and hat Forever21
sandals – asos
Skirt from Macy’s
Pants, green top & sandals from Target
White shirt from Macy’s
asos pants & sandals
Forever 21 white top
White shirt from Macy’s
Dress from asos
River Island sandals
Clutch from lulus.com