It was my second time in Athens, and it was more spectacular than the first time. Perhaps the pause in travel because of the pandemic made it seem like every experience was brand new again. As I am writing this five days after my return to U.S. soil, it already seems like my whole trip was a dream. The weather today in Chicago is 68º whereas the weather in Athens was well over 90º when we were there. I can still feel the heat in my mind, and I already have a longing to go back immediately. I had the great pleasure and fortune of staying at the Hotel Grande Bretagne. The central location was great, but the best part of the hotel was the rooftop restaurant with the spectacular view of the Acropolis. 🙌 It was truly mesmerizing, and to have breakfast there was decadent. The breakfast itself was exceptional with their fresh juices (especially the green juice!) and the rest of the spread along with the view of the Acropolis was truly a once in a lifetime experience. And to see a stranger’s face light up in awe for their first time upon seeing the wonder when they walked in gave me such joy.
I did a lot of shopping in Athens but my favorite store was The Naxos Apothecary because it was local. Please check them out. I can’t wait to return as I wanted to buy everything.
My travel buddy and I also took a weekend trip to Malta from Athens. The island country of Malta is beautiful and dates back to around 5900 B.C. Aside from the beauty of the island, my favorite experience was seeing the two Caravaggio paintings inside the St. John’s Co-Cathedral. Seeing The Beheading of Saint John the Baptist, especially, was stunning. In addition, another experience my friend and I loved was dining at the restaurant, Aki. There were numerous good meals all around however.
We returned to Athens to ready ourselves to fly back home. This was when we had one of the best meals of our lives, at a restaurant called Theta with a night time view of the Acropolis. A bottle of wine, 2 large bottles of water, one cocktail, a salad, an appetizer, and the most beautiful spread of fresh grilled seafood only cost $135 Euros!!! It was crazy good. A picture of this dinner is shown on my Instagram, fyi.
Although there were too many great moments that I experienced in Athens, the absolute best experience for me was the early evening Acropolis tour. To catch the sunset was a magical experience so if you do go to Athens, I encourage you to do one tour in the morning and one in the evening a few days apart. There is way too much to take everything in so seeing the Acropolis in two different lights gives you ample time to perfect your photos. We toured the Acropolis on our first full day there and the last night there. This wasn’t planned but I suggest everyone try to do the same. It leaves a beautiful, lasting impression of Athens in your mind and heart.
I am sad to say that I probably won’t travel again internationally until early next year. As I reviewed all my photos while writing this post, I realize what a great privilege it is to travel. To see the world, taste the different foods, and experience different cultures…these are the greatest highs for me. I can’t wait to see where in the world I will travel to next.