It started with a tweet.
About a year ago my sister, Jessica, was browsing Twitter. She is a much better travel hacker than I am and she was smartly following many of the airlines (See below). She saw a deal from US Airlines for $99.00 roundtrip tickets from Philadelphia to Tel Aviv. Even though she was in Nashville at the time, she immediately knew an adventure was about to start.
Airline Twitter Accounts You Should Be Following:
Jessica called me and in an excited voice said that I had five minutes to decide if I wanted to buy tickets from Philadelphia to Israel (I was in Seattle at the time). She knew that the tickets would sell out fast. I told her absolutely as long as we could do some life list items along the way. We both knew that wouldn’t be a problem.
That trip we visited Israel, Turkey, Egypt and Greece. For the sake of keeping a short post, I am only going to talk about the last country.
We landed in Athens tired but full of excitement. We had grown up hearing about Greek mythology and were excited to experience it from the source. It was a long but beautiful ride from the airport to the city. True to the hype, Athens was full of color and rich with detailed architecture. It was also ridiculously big.
We checked-in to our hotel and immediately left to explore the city. It was not quite as exciting as we had hoped. The general attitude was gloomy (they were about a year away from their economic collapse) and the city wasn’t bustling like we had expected. We enjoyed some good (but not great) Greek food and sampled the various local wines. They made up for their food with their wine :-)
We found it odd that the epicenter of so much of the ancient world’s culture lacked vibrant culture in modern times. It is important to point out that we only visited a small sampling of the enormous city. Even still, we were disappointed by the lack of flair.
The next day we woke up early and went to the site of the Acropolis. The ancient structures made up for the rather remorse modern city. It was vibrant, detailed and full of evidence of extreme passion.
The Acropolis and the surrounding site were fantastically interesting and awesome. We loved it.
The next day we hopped on a boat to go explore the famous Greek islands. I had low expectations but was eager to get on the water (I like boats :-p). The boat ride lasted all day and was much too short. The Greek Islands ended up being phenomenal. They completely made up for the dryness of Non-Acropolis Athens.
It was while sailing around the islands that I realized why Greece is called one of the most beautiful places on earth. As far as aesthetics, it really is a step above other European countries. Combine this with delicious food (we ate wonderfully on the islands) and a rich heritage and you have the Greece that has prevailed through the generations.
Best of all, I got to share the experience with a family member.
I was in Pasadena, CA as I wrote this post. If you find yourself there, I highly recommend checking out the tea bar I was at. I’ll be in the States for a bit as I prep for both launching a business as well as the first half of the European tour of my list list. Stay tuned! My most sketchy list item thus far is coming up in less than a month!