After a week in Greece I have come to the conclusion that it really wasn't long enough. Of course I say that about everywhere I go, and its true by far, but I really liked Greece.
We sailed from Italy to Greece by ferry – on my birthday actually – over an almost 28 hour period in which our entire crew ran rampart across the ship. We had some dinner and drinks to celebrate the fact that I'm now 24, but the thing everyone was the most looking forward to was of course the extended sleep in we got to have on board. And trust me when I say we took advantage.
We had one night in Athens before taking to the seas again through the Greek Islands en route to Mykonos for what had been highly anticipated as the party central halfway through our trip. And it actually kind of was; the pool bar area was gorgeous and right on the beach, something that even I could adore despite not being too keen on beaches or much to do with them. Our actual accommodation wasn't grand – they were pretty much just tents with some beds in them like something out of the bunkers of the Western Front – but once the party got started no one really cared all that much.
Let me just interject here, however, and explain how very torn I was on my opinion of Mykonos by the end of our long weekend. During the day it was great: there was quad-biking, swimming, exploring, pampering, cocktails and the cutest little town to wander through. But when night fell the island became a very different place and a lot of drama went down in more ways than one. There is something so loose about the island that it seemed like nothing was too far and the three nights we were there saw screaming matches, hookups, dangerous midnight jaunts along treacherous cliff edges, potential rapes and thefts, and a lot of hurt feelings. I'm saddened to say that I myself was one of the unfortunate bearers of some very hurt feelings which stay with me even now although I know deep down its not a big deal and the fact that I am still in Europe will actually fix that on its own.
Feelings aside, the darker side of Mykonos did not sour my opinion of Greece even after some of the bad things the Island brought about. For me it was never really about the party Island anyway, and the white-washed buildings of the set-like town was more of a stage for me to belt out songs from Mamma Mia and wander around like I'm in some sort of movie. I accepted a long time ago that I was never going to be the party animal of the group much less in life in general, and once I reminded myself that it was easier to just immerse myself into the gorgeous surroundings, hidden pelicans and very epic jewellery. I didn't need more than a couple pina coladas to enjoy Mykonos.
Greece has always been, in my world, so amazing as one of the birthplaces of modern civilisation. Just think about it: famous philosophers and mathematicians and storytellers and early scientists have all emerged from the splendour of the Ancient Greek world. Figures like Aristotle, Socrates, Plato, Pythagoras, Homer, and Alexander the Great. Such an amazingly progressive place within the ancient world was obviously way up there with Egypt in terms of wanting to get there to see stuff like the Acropolis and Temple of Zeus – crack for archaeologists addicted to ruins such as myself, especially when I couldn't make it to the site of Delos on Mykonos on any of the three days we were there.
Arriving back in Athens after the hectic nature of the Mykonos leg was over, I was very much cheered up by the approaching quality time that I had coming up with some very old pieces of architecture. I desperately wanted to sit at the Temple of Zeus or the Temple of Athena-Nike and pray to some of the gods that maybe would still be sympathetic enough to listen. It's not every day that you get to visit the ancient temples and sacred places dedicated to a spirituality and belief system that well out-dates Christianity or Islam.
Mythology and folklore is my total forte. Hashing out the names, meanings, representations and histories behind so many gods, goddesses, fairytales and all sorts of other similar stuff is an area of study that I am so very passionate about. Sitting in front of the Acropolis and looking up at the ruins of what was once a great civilisation I can't describe the feeling that it gave me to be apart of it all. Like in Rome, Egypt, and England its such a heady feeling to know that right where I may be standing something miraculous happened, someone famous stood, separated by centuries in one spot on the same ground. Obviously I don't mean the gods right then, or the fairy tales, but the world isn't that huge a place that there is so far you can go, at least in the Old World, that holds no history. Athens was just one of the better places that held that kind of feeling for me.
I'm a total nerd for my history, myth and fairy stories – excuse me whilst I gush a little about the Acropolis.
On a side note, has anyone else realised how great Greek food actually is? If you haven't, then you need to get on that.
All in all, I loved Greece. I want to go back to explore the rest of the country – most notably Mycenae, Crete, Santorini and Sparta, but I'll take it as it comes. The jury is still out about a possible return to Mykonos, however I won't lie and pretend that I wouldn't make the entire trip back to the Island of Anarchy just to visit the ruins of Delos. Let's face it – I would endure some more crazy cliffs to get back to the archaeological site and it wouldn't even be the first time that I have.
Greece was relatively good to me in the end. And it gave me the Evil Eye to protect me, an owl to bring me wisdom, and knowledge to guide me further.
Until next time then, Greece. Efharisto.