Sunday, 14 October 2012

Greece ... amazing and yet underwhelming

It was with much excitement that I boarded my flight to Athens. Not only I was headed to the Greek islands, I was spending this time with fabulous friends.

The first island on our adventure was Paros. What a place, it is just postcard perfect. And not overrun with tourists. We took the small shuttled boat into town and wandered the cobbled streets with locals.

We swam in the crystal clear ocean and we might have had a cocktail or two on our hotel verandah, once or twice.

After days of relaxing in paradise we boarded a ferry for the much photographed island of Santorini. Our home for the next few days was the beachside town of Kamari. We lounged on the beach, dined beachside and soaked up all that an island paradise has to offer.

Santorini is famed for its sunsets. This I wanted to see. We boarded the local bus and headed for Ioa ... just like everyone else on the island it seemed.

We nabbed ourselves a good spot, just near a cafe serving very cold beer, and settled in. And we weren't disappointed. Watching the golden sun set over the crystal clear waters, sitting with friends and sipping a beer or two was just perfect. Oh, and we had a load of laughs as well.

Our ferry trips so far had been fun. Great big boats with comfy seats showing crazy greek dramas, loads of outside areas to walk around and many food options. Our trip back to Athens was a different story. The so called fast ferry was late, was very small and very stuffy. We all crowded in like sardines for what would be quite an horrendous 7.5 hours. Yes thats right, the five hour trip took so much ltook due to the huge swells. We were surrounded by people vomitting in a small cabin with no airflow, and to top it off we had a very smelly priest. Could things get any worse? Well it seems they could. Due to the delayed arrival my friend missed her flight back to London. But there is an upside ... she got to spend a night with us in Athens drinking cocktails with us with a view of the Acropolis.

The next day we headed out to see what the city had to offer. On first glance all was good. We saw the major sites and wandered the streets of the Plaka area.... but when I started to dig into the city a bit deeper, I was very underwhelmed.

Unlike any other city I have explored, Athens left me wanting so much more. I'm not sure whether I had unrealistic expectations, but I thought a city with such a deep and rich history would amaze and delight me. It didn't. It underwhelmed me.

I visited sites, I wandered the tourist areas and off the beaten track but couldn't find that something that filled me with excitement.

Was it the graffiti lined streets, the Parthenon & Acropolis, the animals in the pet stores, the demonstration I wandered across? Nope, it was none of these. Maybe the last six years of recession has ripped the heart and soul out of this city? Or maybe I was missing something. Either way, Athens just didn't do it for me.


  1. Maybe they sold off all the good stuff to pay their debts!

  2. OMG, it is so beautiful! Who knew Greece was so beautiful!

    Maybe you're getting a bit tired, so all the excitement of new places is wearing off a bit? I think you should have a bit of a rest.

    And dude, I'm sure I warned you about pissing off Poseidon.

  3. I posted way too many pics on that post ... which is probably why you liked it. Don't get me wrong, I liked Athens but I was expecting a whole lot more.

    I was wondering if I was getting a bit jaded and so getting harsh in my judgement of places, but I got to Vienna and fell in love with the city and went digging in every corner so I wouldn't miss anything.

    Rest, 2 weeks in morocco moving every day, 2 weeks in Portugal (might make one of this on the agarve) then non stop moving from Mexico city to panama city. I feel tired just thinking about it. Oh and a bit excited too.