Gawking at Greece
Updated: Aug 8, 2021
Greece was the final country on our trip, a reality that we did not mention until our final city. We started out in Athens, hitting all of the major tourist attractions. We did a free walking tour on our first day, an awesome way to learn so much about the city. The amount of history that was within the city was quite incredible. Coming from Canada, which just celebrated it’s 150th year of confederation, in 2017, our country’s history does not include ruins or massive structures that are breath-taking in a sense that is incomparable to the scenic mountains and ocean that surround us. I constantly found myself in awe of the labour it would have taken to create these structures, appreciating the century in which I was born.
The hospitality of the locals was by far the most noticed throughout Greece compared to the other European countries I visited (Italy, Croatia, and France). In Santorini we stayed in Perissa, a quaint city right on the black sand beach. After seeing the same workers multiple days in a row at all times of the day as we came and went, we finally decided to ask what their schedules were like. Some will work six months straight, six days a week twelve hour days, and then have one month of vacation before starting the cycle again. Others choose to work twelve months of the year, five days a week, 8 hour days. Despite the lack of appearance of a work-life balance, every worker we came across was genuinely happy to serve us each and every day, provide us tips on what to do and where to eat, despite the long hours they work. The work ethic was honestly incredible.
In Santorini, we did a mixture of exploring, but also relaxing as this was our final destination. Being only 100 meters from the beach, you can be certain we made our way out there each day. We also went to two “Greek nights,” where live music played, traditional dancers came, plates were smashed, the whole deal. You could tell these were actually authentic, the locals enjoying these just as much as the tourists, hence why we went to a second one. We hiked from Fira to Oia, starting early in the morning, so we could cool off in Ammoudi Bay afterwards, and make our way back up the seemingly never ending staircase from the ocean, just in time to catch the famous sunset. The hike was beautiful, not nearly as difficult as I had anticipated. We even stopped in at a little church along the way, the keeper offered us apricots, to which the picky eater in me graciously accepted, took a bite of, and then flogged off on one of my friends and soon as he looked away. The hospitality by everyone we met in Greece was just none other. We also took a boat tour to a volcanic island and some hot springs just off of Santorini, spending as much time just embracing all that was offered.
Greece was full of recognizing the trials and tribulations of our trip, but coming to realize the are closeness of our friendship, as three dysfunctional frolicks, we took advantage of every beach, and every sunset we could get.