Greece - The Potato Chick

Mykonos, Greece

In a sentence...it’s starting to feel like Summer.

Food we loved...octopus salad.

Mykonos was the perfect place for us to end our time in the Greek islands. Like Paros, the main town is right on the water which makes for easy access and a lovely waterfront vibe.

We spent a very lazy two nights here trying (and failing) to arrange bus tickets to Albania, strolling the many back streets and soaking up the glorious sunshine whilst enjoying a few drinks on our private roof top terrace.

Next stop...Saranda, Albania (via Athens).

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Paros, Greece

In a sentence...this beats Santorini.

Food we loved...snickers ice cream.

Unlike Santorini, I had a good feeling about the island of Paros as soon as we stepped off the boat.

The breeze was warm, it felt like Summer was in the air and it took us only five minutes to find our accommodation where we were greeted by the very friendly Rena. We strolled along the waterfront looking for dinner and enjoying the surprisingly balmy weather. We breathed a sigh of relief – this was what we had come to Greece for.

Most of the road around the island is right at sea level so we spent the next day exploring the island’s many beautiful beaches on an ATV. We had our first (freezing) dip in European waters and topped off the day with the best gyros we have had so far in Greece (in my opinion).

Paros was the perfect antidote to the slightly disappointing start to our Greek islands adventure.

Next stop...Mykonos.

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Santorini, Greece

In a sentence...a mixed bag.

Food we loved...roasted eggplant dip and “special” octopus pasta on Good Friday.

I’m sorry to say that my initial feeling upon arriving in Santorini was...underwhelmed.

We had chosen to spend our first few nights in the beachside town of Perissa. This place must be amazing in Summer. A black beach lined with restaurants and bars, guesthouses down all the side streets, a 24 hour bakery...it’s basically got everything you need. Unfortunately, as we were not visiting in Summer, Perissa felt more like Radiator Springs in the movie “Cars”. We ate at the same restaurant two nights in a row. Yes, the food was delicious but it was also virtually the only place open.

After a wonderful day cruising around the island on an ATV, desperately clinging to one another for warmth, we began to think that perhaps we would like Santorini – if we gave it a chance. We moved to the much more bustling main town of Fira. While there were more dining options here, we still were not blown away.

But on day three the sun came out and the wind disappeared. We walked from Fira to Oia (the little town where all those fabulous sunset shots are taken). Approaching Oia along the coastline, by foot, was a fantastic way to see a large chunk of the island. We walked through little towns with meandering back streets and luxury cliff top accommodation, past blue-roofed churches and through large patches of flowers growing along the roadside.

As we ate dinner on our final night in a roof top restaurant with fabulous views, including a small glimpse of the sunset, we concluded that perhaps we might like Santorini after all.

Next stop...Paros.

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The view from our balcony in Fira. Not bad...

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Athens, Greece

In a sentence...exceeded expectations.

Food we loved...gyros and mousakka.

We arrived in Athens with some trepidation.

Far less frequented by our friends than say, London, it had been difficult to get accurate reports as to what the city was really like. What little information we had received had not been particularly favourable.  We planned to get out of there (and onwards to the Greek Islands) as soon as possible.

We were surprised to discover a city which we really liked. Despite having spent about 28 hours in transit, we were able to get from the airport to our accommodation via public transport with only one wrong turn. Even better, we were staying in the perfect location – in the heart of a fabulous area of cute little backstreets, interesting graffiti and restaurants serving cheap delicious food. And all within easy walking distance of the Acropolis.

We spent only one full day in Athens ticking off the “required” ruins. As you will see from the photos, it’s almost impossible to get a shot of the Parthenon without scaffolding or enormous amounts of people obscuring the view. We did our best.

Even more enjoyable than the Acropolis was just wandering through the streets getting totally lost and imagining what the city must have been like both before and during the Olympics. While Nick scoffed at my outrageous suggestion that any scruffy locals would have been “ethnic cleansed” out of the area prior to the big event, it’s clear that a large scale clean-up took place. We couldn’t help but feel that visitors to Athens are now being presented with a sanitised version of the city.

Sanitised or not, we’re glad we stopped in Athens.

Next stop...Santorini.

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