I needed/wanted a vacation from my life in DC so I started looking into something I could do solo. I stumbled upon Topdeck, a company very similar to Contiki, geared toward 18- 30somethings. I’d never heard of Topdeck before and I like to do my research, so I googled until the cows came home and the only real difference I could find was that Topdeck seemed to be a little less party oriented. Perfect, because I’m 26 now and so mature and wouldn’t be caught dead hanging around and partying with 18 year olds…HAAA!!!!!!
So I booked the trip, called Greek Island Hopper! Once in Athens, I figured I would take the metro. I found a stop that was very close to our hotel and managed to find my way there! That was a great option since it was only 8 Euro.The group met up later that night and I was pleased with the variety of ages and people there… although there was 25 of us: 23 Aussies, 1 Kiwi, and the token American- Me. Oh, and where are all the cute men at? Sigh. But that’s okay, I didn’t come here for that anyway 😉 We went to a nice outdoor restaurant where we sat draped under canopies of olive trees, and acclimated to the heat as fans sprayed us with mist as they continuously oscillated. I had Moussaka for the first time and what a delight it was!
Nothing exciting for me that night but word on the street was “the 18 year olds” went and partied til 6am…typical… (spoiler alert: little did I know, that would soon be me). Next day we did a walking tour of Athens and the Acropolis as our tour guide, Nikki (Nike?), told us various historical facts and stories. Later that night was “Greek Night”, where we went to a traditional Greek restaurant and ate amazing food and watched traditional Greek dancing (very energetic!). Next morning, we woke up super early and took the ferry to Mykonos, the party island! If I could remember much from this island, I’m sure they would be extremely fond memories. 🙂 Nikki told us to go do whatever we wanted once we arrived and then we all met up in the town center that night for a group dinner and what Nikki liked to call “Tequila Night”. We did a walking tour of Mykonos and it was so picturesque…everything is white and blue. We ate in a portion of the town center called “Little Venice” because of the way the town is built right up against the water. As the waves crash against the wall, and with the legendary windmills in the distance- it makes for a very beautiful sunset. As we ate, I sat with “the 18 year olds” who turned out to be quite a hoot! We all consumed too much (is there such a thing?) wine and were on our way to a good time. Nikki steered us to the bar after dinner- where Tequila Night ensued. If it’s not already obvious, this consisted of round after round of free tequila. After I got a good “tactical vomit” out of the way, I was ready for more. And that’s where my night ends, but not because my night actually ended…just because the next thing I remember is waking up in the morning with only vague memory patches of stroking an annoyed taxi drivers arm and possible skinny dipping. In the morning I roused and was ready to hit the beach with some of my comrades. After group dinner that night, everyone was in more of a chill mood and since it was Sunday evening, not much was going on and some of us bought wine and say on the beach and drank it while chatting. The next morning (after missing breakfast once again), we were off to Paros- the chill island. We had a couple hour ride on the ferry again and received a walking tour of Paros town by Nikki. We made our way to the hotel and went our separate ways until dinner- then out to a hookah lounge after dinner and the bar after. We found a nice little place that was owned by Americans and had quite a good time…
Next day was another full day in Paros… my friends and I hit the beach a little and got some delicious and cheap gyros down the road, followed by gelato! I also started drinking wine. Why is wine so cheap there? I mean, I’m not complaining but it just makes me want to drink loads of it! Then I stumbled upon a liter plastic jug of wine for 4 euro and that was where my afternoon went… I woke up hours later not remembering a good chunk of time- and I managed to throw myself together and make it down to the barbecue/buffet at the hotel lobby…to a round of applause! I am pretty sure I am the only person on the tour who got a round of applause just for making it to dinner… my parents would be so proud. 😉 Another night at that same bar ensued, where we met a creepy Canadian named Leo who tried to prey on all the women in our group. My room mate later told me that a few of them took a dip in the ocean, where Leo managed to invite himself along and proceeded to ask her… “What would you do if you only had 10 minutes left?” and also classic Leo lines like when asked what he did, he replied “I eat. I sleep. I defecate.” Yeah. That happened.
Next morning- off to Santorini! This was a long ferry ride, but SO WORTH IT! Most beautiful island ever! Santorini is a remnant of a volcanic caldera (collapsed land after a volcanic eruption). The white and blue houses/buildings are all built on the dramatic cliffs, and the ocean is the deepest, most beautiful blue. Sigh. We stayed in a hotel in Fira, which is a town in the middle of the crescent shaped island. The majority of the group paid for the optional activity and it was worth every penny. We split it up in 2 parts- tour of Oia, and donkey ride/hike/hot springs visit. The first night we had dinner and a walking tour of Oia (pronounced ee-ah), beautiful but bustling with too many people. We viewed the sunset, which wasn’t as magnificent as I had hoped, and then had dinner. The next day we went to the cliffs and took a trolley-ski chalet type thing down and got in a boat and cruised on over to the volcano. We had a nice little hike in the hot sun, then took a swim in the nearby hot springs. It was hot and stinky and burned your wounds and eyes. I enjoyed it though! Some of the girls painted themselves in the sulfuric mud from the springs. We had lunch on the boat and then took donkeys up the cliffs back to Fira. What a wonderful day! Group dinner and a chill night for most of us, and in the morning, we caught the ferry back for an 8 hour ride to Athens. The next morning, people left at varying intervals. What a great trip! It ended too soon, but I made some great new friends whom I hope to see again, and have so many fun memories…many of which I will not post on here to protect the innocent. 🙂