The last leg of our epic three week trip to Europe was Greece. It’s kind of a strange addition to a trip to England, but I’ve always dreamed of sitting on a beach in the Mediterranean and Jenny agreed to indulge me. Luckily, most of the areas we visited in Athens and one of the Greek islands, Poros, were very tourist-friendly and we ended up having no trouble navigating.
Our trip to Greece was pretty epic. After taking a coach bus from Bath back to London, Jenny and I spent the evening at a hotel near Heathrow Airport. We were up about 6 a.m. the next morning for a long day of travel that included a shuttle bus to the airport, a puddle-jumper flight to Paris, a multi-hour layover in Charles de Gaulle airport, a flight to Athens, an hour-long bus ride to Syntagma Square, and a short walk to our hotel. We didn’t get to our beds until nearly 1 a.m. Couple that with the cold I picked up in Bath, and you can imagine how exhausting that day ended up being.
We slept in the next morning, but couldn’t waste too much time because we only had a single day in Athens. Unfortunately, our day in Athens was incredibly hot… nearly 100 degrees in the middle of the afternoon. But, we were going to see the Parthenon, come hell or hellish temperatures, so off we went.
Our first stop was the Acropolis Museum, a really impressive new museum highlighting the long history of this site. I have no pictures from the museum because I was, honestly, pretty worn out and just wanted to absorb what I was seeing. We started the hike up to the Acropolis at about 4 p.m.
We relied heavily on Rick Steves’ guide to Greece when planning this portion of our trip. One of the cool things Steves offers is audio guides to some popular sites in the country. He also has an app you can download with audio tours of various sites — Jenny and I both listened to one while we were walking around the Acropolis.
We were so hot and sweaty. Seeing a site this significant was amazing, but between the weather and my cold and just generally being exhausted, it was hard to appreciate everything.
We almost didn’t pose for this picture because I was being a grump about the heat, but I’m glad Jenny pushed to make sure we did. You don’t get a chance to take a photo with your sister in front of the Parthenon every day.
The next day was another day of travel, from downtown Athens to the port of Piraeus via the metro, then from Piraeus to the island of Poros. We got to the port really early for our ferry, so we grabbed some food and I snuck in a few pages of the book I was reading at the time, Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walters.
We arrived on Poros in the early afternoon. It was another incredibly hot day, and our plan was to walk from where we were dropped off to our hotel. The website said the walk was only about 20 minutes, but we were dropped off in a different place than expected so the walk ended up being more like 45 minutes. I can’t even imagine how miserable Jenny and I looked, trekking along this road with our enormous backpacks and purses when it’s almost 100 degrees. By the time we arrived at the New Aegli Hotel I was seriously questioning why we even bothered to come to Greece in the first place.
Then we walked into our room and saw the view from our porch.
Oh yeah, that’s why.
We spent the next two days sitting on the beach. We didn’t stray from our hotel or visit any other sites on the island. We just sat on the beach. And it truly was perfect.
Our final morning on Poros, Jenny and I got up to take a walk along the beach. We weren’t planning to go swimming — we had to check out of the hotel by noon — but the weather was so perfect we couldn’t resist. We ran back up to our room, got out suits on, and got a final morning of swimming in before taking a taxi back to the port.
The rest of the trip flew by. We spent the night in Athens, then flew back to London with a layover in Rome. We had one final brief day in London, then flew home on Saturday. Sept. 12.
Whew. That felt like a lot, and I didn’t even cover everything we did. It was truly the trip of a lifetime and I’m so grateful for all the people in my life that made it possible for me to go. And I’m especially thankful for my amazing sister, Jenny, who did a ton of the planning, put up with my weird social anxiety, and still likes me after three weeks in very close quarters. You’re the best J!