It's All Greek to Me!
By Emma Chennault
Yasas! My name is Emma Chennault, and I am the Integrated Media Manager here at YOUR Williamson. About two years ago, my sister, Jessica, decided she wanted to go to Greece...and in younger sister fashion, I convinced her she had to take me along. Our trip was booked and planned through EF Tours, so everything was preplanned for us and all we had to do was show up at the airport. One of the major draws to these tours is the gift of a tour director. Our group was BLESSED with what we came to learn was the best possible guide we could have ever imagined. Artin, a native Grecian, made our time in Greece so special. He was always going above and beyond to make sure we were having the most awe-inspiring vacation of our lives. I cannot recommend this company or itinerary enough and you should consider taking this trip, and maybe you can be lucky enough to meet Artin. So, come along with us on a tour of Athens, Mykonos and Santorini!
Day 1 & 2
On day one, we landed in Athens, the birthplace of democracy. We left the airport and immediately went to our hotel, where we all relaxed for a little while and prepared for our welcome dinner. The dinner consisted of wine and traditional Greek cuisine that excited us for what was to come! Our night ended on the roof of our hotel having cocktails and admiring the view of the Acropolis. Day two started with a lovely breakfast on the rooftop of our hotel, which had a fantastic view of the Acropolis, which is where we were headed next. After breakfast, we met up with the most amazing tour director, Artin, and took buses to the base of the Acropolis.
When we arrived, I immediately thought, “Are we really going to have to hike up this mountain?” And…oh boy, did we! The combination of the heat, the hike and the massive amount of people made the trek to the top an interesting experience. However, once we reached the top, it was all worth it.
The Acropolis sits on the second-highest peak in the city and is home to the Parthenon, Temple of Athena Nike, the Erechtheion and the Propylaia. Obviously, the Parthenon stole the show and has inspired me to plan a trip to the replica in Nashville to see what it would have been like in its original state. A fun fact about this site is that they are constantly doing upkeep. They will never renovate the site, they will only restore it with original pieces found or with marble from the same mountain. After leaving the Acropolis, we drove by the stadium that held the first modern Olympics, walked through a beautiful historic church that stands in the middle of a bustling pedestrian area and ended our sightseeing day by visiting the National Historical Museum.
Day 4 & 5
Day three started off very early. We woke up at around 4:30 a.m. to make it to the 7:00 a.m. ferry from Athens to Mykonos. The ferry experience was unique because of how fast it traveled. We took what is known as a ‘Sea Jet,’ and it only took us about two and a half hours to arrive in the island of Mykonos.
Once we arrived in Mykonos, we set off on a walking tour of the city. We strolled through the magical streets and tasted some of the freshest seafood. Our tour director told us, “If you’re going to get lost in a city, Mykonos is the best one for it to happen in.” This statement rang true. Although, it was relatively easy to navigate the city - wandering through the narrow, tucked-away streets was one of the most glorious experiences of my life. The shopping, the flowers, the food and the atmosphere made for the perfect combination a city should have.
That night, we decided to get a taste of the famous Mykonos nightlife; let me say, it did not disappoint.
Our second day in Mykonos started off with a much-deserved late start. We had a ‘free day’ built into our itinerary, so my sister, her boyfriend and I decided to venture back into town to eat lunch and shop. We ate lunch at this cute place called Katerina’s Restaurant, which was in “Little Venice,” and it offered breathtaking views of the Aegean Sea. That night was spent taking in all that we could of the Island before we had to depart.
Day 5 & 6
Day five started with another ferry ride to the island of Thira, also known as Santorini. The first thing we did when we arrived was take a bus to the highest point on the island, which proved to have breathtaking views in every direction. After that, we took a bus to the town of Oia, which is known for its authentic beauty, whitewashed houses, labyrinth-like alleys and its magical sunset. After a short walking tour, we went to lunch and had a front-row seat to the blue domes and white buildings that make up the town. That night, we wandered from our hotel to the black sand beaches of Kamari for dinner.
Our final day in Santorini was spent touring the buried city of Akrotiri and boating through the Aegean Sea on a catamaran. Akrotiri, which is nicknamed Santorini’s Pompeii, is similar to Pompeii in that both cities are important archaeological sites buried by a volcanic eruption. Akrotiri was home to the ancient Minoans over 4,000 years before Pompeii was founded and has been preserved just as it would have been in 1500 BC.
The catamaran cruise offered views of the island from the sea and the chance to watch the Grecian sunset without fighting the crowds. We ate, we drank and we danced the night away and overall had a very lovely experience.
Day 7 & 8
Day seven was spent flying from Santorini back to Athens and saying goodbye to Greece. We attended a group farewell dinner, where our tour director gave us our own piece of marble from the same mountain that the Acropolis is built from that we could take home.
The next morning, we flew from Athens to New York and then finally made our journey back to Nashville. This trip was truly once in a lifetime. If you ever have the chance to go to Greece, take it!
Thanks, Mom and Dad, for the best gift.