This isn’t a travel guide. Will we write one? Oh yes. In fact, it should have been done long ago and we apologize for that. This is the story of how Athens changed my life forever. The photos are rough, at best. We weren’t professionals at the time but we still want to share this story with you, dearest blog readers, because it really did set us on a trajectory that’s completely altered the course of our lives.
OUR FIRST TRIP TOGETHER
When we announced, after dating just a few short months that we were taking a trip together to Europe our friends and family were skeptical at best. To date, the majority of my travel had been to all inclusive resorts or in the safety of large groups (like that time I went to Hawaii with Joints In Motion or to Iceland with the First Baptists Girls Choir). Yes, I sang in a choir… but that’s a story for another day. When we followed that up with our location of choice, Athens Greece, they were downright horrified.
“Athens”!!!!!, the said “Why Athens?!!!!!! Isn’t it dangerous?!”
From the moment we booked that trip to Athens, the comments kept rolling in. Why weren’t we going to one of the islands, like the oh-so popular Santorini? Isn’t Athens a falling down, dirty city? Why would we want to spend a whole week there? There’s no way we were going to enjoy ourselves. We couldn’t believe how many naysayers were rearing their ugly heads about our destination choice. But, we’d done our research and we were confident.
We were bright eyed, newly in love, and vibrating with excitement about our first big adventure together so we packed our bags and hopped on that plane without a care in the world.
My “it’ll be fine” mentality came crashing down when we arrived in the Athens airport. Hell-bent on taking public transit to our hotel (because we refused to pay the crazy prices of taxis) we found ourselves alone with our bags, in the middle of the night, on a subway that was (quite literally) all Greek to us! We turned simultaneously to each other and said, “do you think this was a bad idea?” and prayed that we’d figure out (by sight) which stop was ours.
HOW ATHENS CHANGED MY LIFE
It all sounds very dramatic, I know. But it’s no exaggeration when I tell you that the moment we stepped off the subway and climbed the staircase to the main drag in the heart of Athens every doubt I had melted away. I looked up (it was 2am now) and saw the Parthenon, lit up like a castle, and my reaction was uncharacteristically emotional to say the least!
I’d never seen anything so beautiful in my entire life. The age of the city, the history here, the memories. The city was so alive you could almost feel it breathing! In that moment I felt more enlightened than I’d ever felt before. I realized right then and there that I wanted to spend my life learning and growing and exploring the world. I also realized how small my own world had been to date. The little things I had been so worried about back home (you know those trivial things we get worked up about) just didn’t matter because the world was so huge and just waiting for us to get out and experience it.
The days that followed were spent exploring every bit of Athens we could get our hands on. We averaged 12km a day on foot (we did the math – dorks, I know) soaking in every ounce we could. We met some amazing people, took some day trips to a few islands, visited Ancient Corinth, Myceana, and of course, Nafplia (wine country).
We visited the first Olympic Stadium, drank the “blood of Hercules” (it was really wine but hey, it was cool), witness the changing of the guard at the Parliament building, climbed countless marble stairs in countless amphitheatres and ate. Boy, did we eat! The streets are lined with cafes and eateries, the food is to die for, and everything comes topped with the most delicious olive oils you’ve ever tasted. They call it “liquid gold” and we were told by everyone that, in Greece, they give olive oil as medicine for it’s incredible health properties.
This post is long overdue and I can’t believe it’s taken me this long to write anything about this first trip, before “Dashboard Living” was even a dream. When Yellow Zebra Safaris put out a call for bloggers to write about their favourite holiday ever, this was a no-brainer for me. In fact, I really can’t thank them enough for inspiring this post and for the incredible opportunity to win another trip of a lifetime to go on a Tanzanian safari simply by sharing our story.
We hope this story inspires you, as it did us. And we would love to hear about your favourite trip you’ve ever taken. Please share it with us in the comments!