Greetings from Greece!
We began our Greek Isles adventure on a ferry to Naxos. As we docked, the crystal clear water and cliffs was the perfect on this small island for all the adventures we had in store for our group. We dropped our stuff and changed to head towards the small beach that was a five-minute walk from our hotel for lunch and our first taste of Greek Island beach time. It did not disappoint! Our trip members played in the water, sun tanned with their favorite books and sipped on fresh fruit smoothies. It was a relaxing day and the perfect introduction to Naxos. That evening, we traveled into the heart of downtown and separated into our groups for dinner. Claire, Sabrina and Annie all enjoyed fruit filled crepes made fresh while many of the others sampled a trip favorite-gelato with freshly made waffle cones.
Our first full day in Naxos was full of adventure. Our group went on a bike tour around the island. The small coastal streets and local eateries whizzed by as we pedaled our way around the island taking in all that Naxos had to offer. Tess and Leila both earned a perseverance shout out for their resiliency during the ride. That evening after dinner, we visited a “disco”. Ben and Josh showed off their dancing skills while the other trip members grooved to the music. As the clock struck midnight, our group sang “Happy Birthday” to trip member Annie and helped her usher in her new year!
Our second day in Naxos, our group got to go Scuba Diving, something many of them had been looking forward to since the trip began. Bluefin divers gave our trip members an introductory course on SCUBA and our trip members were then given the opportunity to dive into the depths of the Mediterranean. Octopi, fish and even a deserted toilet in the middle of the cove in which we dove were all seen from our underwater experience.
Our last day in Naxos started with a ride into the countryside for a Greek cooking lesson. We watched and learned how to make moussaka, tzatziki and explored the freshly planted garden that made our fresh Greek salads. We traveled back to the hotel where we played pool games and relaxed in the Greek sunshine. It was the perfect ending to our time in the small island.
The next morning, we arose early to catch a ferry that would take us to the island of Santorini. The blue domes and island filled with volcanic black rocks was the most anticipated stop of the trip and it did not disappoint! Once we settled into our hotel and had some time to enjoy the pools of the resort, we took a short walk to the town of Fira. Small shops lined the streets and trip members were given time to explore the city. We ended our first day with a sunset in the Caldera with a truly breathtaking view. The next day we set out on a day-tour aboard a pirate-looking boat. We first stopped at the active volcano in the center of the circular set of islands. We climbed the hike taking in some of the best vantage points of the islands. Our boat, then, took us to a small cove where many of our trip members took a dive into the hot springs make by that active volcano that sits at the center. After returning to the hotel, we made our way to the small village of Oia where the famed blue domed churches reside. We enjoyed a famous sunset and snapped some of the most dramatic shots of the trip with the volcano, churches and cliffs with the Mediterranean Sea in the background.
Our last day in Santorini began with an Archeological wonder-the ancient city of Akrotiri. It is rumored that this ancient city from 3,600 years ago could be the famed city of Atlantis. Our trip members were able to explore the city’s center, peek into the “Admiral House” where modern day plumbing was present and see the destruction of the last volcanic explosion that took place thousands of years ago. Our group, then, made their way to “Black Sand Beach” for some sea kayaking, paddle boarding and snorkeling time. Our last night in Santorini was in true backpacker fashion-some trip members wanted to have more time to explore the city of Fira while others wanted more time with the blue domes of Oia. We separated our group and allowed for our trip members to explore their respective cities and take in their last Greek sunset in the islands within the city of their choice.
As we head back to the mainland of Greece, we are sad to say goodbye to our new friends. A nighttime view of the Acropolis awaits us for our banquet dinner and will set the stage for our final goodbyes. We have solidified old friendships, made amazing new friends and explored the world as if was our oyster together. We will never forget this summer!
The Westcoast Blogger
Are you ready for this experience? On our 25-day tour to Greece and Italy, you will discover all wonders of these summer destinations, including the greek islands.