The Mrs. and I recently got to mark an item off our bucket list that had been there since we got together. We went to Greece for our ten-year anniversary! With both of us being fascinated by classical mythology, we had been wanting to visit Greece and see all of the ancient ruins and museums for as long as we could remember.
We originally planned to take this trip at the beginning of June, but the morning we were scheduled to fly out she tested positive for Covid and it was clear I had also caught it soon after. After getting over our disappointment we quickly rebooked for August.
We got lucky with our flights and I was able to book us on the Boeing 787 Dreamliner for the longest legs of our trip. I've wanted to fly on a Dreamliner since it was introduced, especially since they are supposed to offer a better long haul experience compared to other planes due to their better cabin environment. Happy to report that other than a lack of sleep, the plane ride was a pretty good one.
Our first stop was Athens for a few days to visit the Acropolis and other ancient Greek cultural sites. When we arrived in Athens we checked into the hotel, took a nap, grabbed some food, and then visited The Temple of Olympian Zeus before wandering around the Plaka neighborhood shopping district.
Day two saw us being some of the first to enter the Acropolis. We were able to skip the ticket line, having bought multi-passes the day before. The Acropolis was everything I hoped it would be, minus the construction and restoration efforts. After wandering around the top and side of the Acropolis for a while (and another nap) we spent the afternoon wandering the Acropolis Museum and the excavation underneath.
We spent the second morning exploring the National Gardens to shoot some portraits before visiting the Roman Agora, Hadrian’s Library, and the Ancient Agora. The Temple of Hephaestus in the Ancient Agora was by far one of our favorite sites, with it being the most intact temple still found in Greece. A recurring encounter while we were in Athens and really all of Greece was finding stray cats hanging out everywhere.
Finding a Hard Rock Cafe in Athens was a special surprise! On our honeymoon in Gatlinburg we started a tradition of hitting up Hard Rock Cafes and collecting the glasses on our trips.
On our last day in Athens we booked a tour to Delphi. As well as being able to explore the ruins of the Temple of Apollo, during this trip we also got to spend a couple hours snuggled on the bus learning about some of Greece’s history, agriculture, and myths. One thing I came to have a better appreciation of during this trip was just how mountainous Greece really is. While the mountains may not be very tall they are certainly steep. On the way back we stopped off at the town of Arachova for a bathroom band shopping break.
If you decide to visit Greece one day, we can highly recommend the Athens Gate hotel. The room was a little small with a great view of the alley, but you can’t beat the location for walk-ability or the rooftop restaurant. Not to mention the food was fantastic!
After a few days on the mainland we hopped on a short flight to Crete for the next leg of our adventure. We got a surprise at the airport when we went to pick up our rental car, them being all out of the small manuals I had booked, they upgraded us to a BMW!
For our first night in Chania (pronounced “hahn-yah”), we spent an evening exploring the old Venetian port. After a nice dinner at a place called Faros, where they threw in shots of Raki at the end, we went out onto the sea wall and enjoyed the breeze while watching the sunset.
The next day we drove down to Kedrodasos Beach. Let me say this about the roads in the mountains of Crete. They are nuts! Very narrow with lots of blind corners and plenty of crazy drivers. It was great weather for lying out on the beach and wading out into the ocean. Not to mention the views were fantastic!
One of the activities we love to do is hiking and thankfully for us there was a great one just south of Chania. Samaria Gorge is a 12mi (16km) hike through the longest gorge in Europe. It was hands down one of the most beautiful hikes we have ever done. It was a long day, but we made it in the end and got to dip our feet into the Libyan Sea. Our legs weren’t too happy with us over the next few days though!
On our 8th day in Greece we made our way to Heraklion (pronounced “i’raklio”) where I splurged a little and booked us at the Megaron Hotel. Here we got the best views of the trip.
The main reason we came to Heraklion was to visit the ruins of Knossos, which was the seat of the Minoan empire. We also got to visit the museum where they had a ton of artifacts found throughout Crete not only from the Minoan period but from the Greek and Roman periods also.
After visiting Knossos and the museum we headed back to Athens the next day and spent the night near the airport so we could catch an early flight the following morning.
Overall it was an amazing and exhausting trip. Greece is a wonderful place and I know we would love to go back some day. I especially want to climb Mt Olympus and maybe visit Santorini. We did manage to shoot a few boudoir photos while there, but I will be doing another post about that as I have some thoughts that I took away from it that I would like to share.