After my run, I woke Conner up; we packed our bags, and loaded up on the quad (which looked as ridiculous as you might imagine!) We dropped off our rental quad and set out to soak up as much of Fira as we could before we had to catch our ferry at 3:30. We weren’t able to go to the Volcano and hot springs because it overlapped with our departure time, but that just gives us an excuse to come back! Besides that, we literally experienced everything we could on the island during our visit to Santorini!
We started off with an awesome breakfast of waffles at a little place in town. Conner’s was nutella and orange and mine was fresh sliced apples with honey and cinnamon. It was delicious! Then we walked down to the old port, which you take long winding stairs set into the side of the mountain to get down to. Sitting with my feet off the docks and the sun on my face I never felt more content. It has been an incredible journey I’ve been on these past four months and I could’ve never imagined being where I am now when it all started. We took the cable car up back up the mountain to avoid aggravating our sore legs and bum knees. After we got to the top, we went and got coffee and chilled out in the sun since it was another perfectly sunny day in the middle of the Mediterranean. We grabbed some lunch from our favorite place again since we wanted our last gyro to be from there! It was the best place because the owner doesn’t have a set recipe for the way he prepares his gyros, he changes it up every day and it was always a delightful surprise! The day flew by, just like the rest of our trip has done, and just like that it was time to get on a bus to head to the ferry. We took the local bus across the island and down the side of the mountain on very narrow twisty roads. It’s a lot scarier traveling the island in a gigantic bus that could tip off the side of the mountain than the quad I was used to, but it was an adventure to say the least!
We boarded the ferry at 3:15 and were setting off from the island by 3:30. I was so sad to be leaving, but I know our time had come to an end. It definitely is not a goodbye, just a see you later! The ferry was an 8 hour trip to Piraeus from Santorini, but the ship was like a small cruise ship with couches, cafes, and decks that Conner and I took advantage of by watching the island fade into the distance and watching the sunset from. It was a neat way to travel from one place to the other and definitely a good change of pace from the amount of air travel we have been doing!
Arriving at the port in Piraeus at 11:30 pm, we headed straight to our hotel a few blocks away to get some sleep before our long day of travel on Sunday.
Sunday, we woke up at around 8 and packed up our belongings for the last time on our holiday trip! I can’t believe it’s already been nearly 10 days since we embarked on our adventure. We got on the metro from Piraeus into Athens, found our luggage lockers in the midst of the city center, and set off to explore as much of Athens as possible! We first made our way to the Acropolis. It was unfortunately closed yesterday, but we were still able to see it pretty well from the base of the ancient ruins of the city and we were still able to visit the museum. It was so cool seeing all the ancient artifacts from up to a thousand years BC. There were hundreds of statues depicting mythological creatures and all the Greek gods and goddesses. I love Greek mythology and was so excited to see this all in real life and not from a book! I know one day I’ll have to make it back to Paris to the Louvre to see the real statue of the Greek Goddess of Victory, because that is my favorite! Europe has some astounding history and I am so lucky to have gotten a tiny glimpse of it while I studied here. I can now say that I have been to some of the most historical places in the world!
After the museum, we grabbed a lunch at a little café nearby. We had traditional Greek cheese pies and of course I had an Espresso Freddo (I don’t get why Greece is the only place that makes their coffee like this- it is amazing!) The weather was great and we sat outside enjoying our surroundings. Next, we visited the Temple of Olympian Zeus. It was so weird to see the temple ruin smack dab in the middle of the city with high-rise buildings all around it. It’s hard to picture a Greek God reigning here with what it is surrounded by now. Again though, it was so cool to see, and I have a pretty good imagination!
We walked through the park right beside it for a long time since it was so nice out. Everyone and their families were out yesterday as well. People were roller blading around, there were many runners, and there were several old men playing poker at tables throughout the park. Making our way back to the streets with markets on them, we ran into a huge crowd. Literally from all directions people were pouring onto this one street. All of the outdoor restaurants were swarmed and you couldn’t even make out where the sidewalks were. Soon, I wasn’t even walking anymore because I was just being pushed along with the crowd. We were stuck in this for nearly fifteen minutes before making it into a square where there were street performers and people selling things all around. It was mad! We decided it was probably best to stay put for a little bit on a bench we found, but the crowd never died down. So instead, we walked out of this part of town and found ourselves at the tomb of the Unknown Soldier during the guard change! It was really neat to watch and compare to the other ones we have seen.
We spent the afternoon in the National Gardens exploring through the orange trees and flowers until we stumbled upon a random zoo in the middle. It had bunnies and goats in one pen, chickens in another, and then another with doves. It was quite an odd site, especially since those were the only animals in this “zoo.” For dinner, we found a cool little brewery where we had the best burgers and potatoes alongside some craft beer. It was a great last meal before we had to go grab our luggage. The office that held our luggage gave customers free homemade baklava (which was to die for) and a taste of homemade Ouzo (which is basically like moonshine), they are must tries while in Greece! After, it was sadly time to head to the metro to go to the airport. It was an hour-long ride to the airport and once arriving, we checked in and waited for our departure. We had a three and a half hour flight to Copenhagen where we arrived at nearly midnight.
Now, we are waiting for our flight to Dublin that leaves this morning at 10 am after spending the night sleeping on a couple benches in the airport. (We are young, so we can handle it right? My sore neck says otherwise.) At least we have a couple days in Dublin to relax and enjoy the end of our time there before heading back to the US! I’ll be home in only 2 days!