See ya later Athens! We wound through the Peloponnese past mountains and beautiful greenery to go take a look at the very, very deep man-made Corinth Canal where we made a pit stop for pictures and to enjoy a lovely iced coffee, much needed after the early wake-up call. We head over to Mycenae, what used to be a military stronghold. We hiked up a small hill to admire the beauty and the history of the ruins of Agamemnon’s Palace where we took some beautiful photos of the citrus fields in the distance and the rolling hills around us. We kept our journey going with a stop in Nafplio, a small town square where some of the girls and I feasted on our new favourite food – gyros. The town was beautiful. It looked like classic European towns with narrow cobble stone streets, big town square, colourful flowers everywhere. It was a dream come true for me. After a lunch stop we hopped back on the coach bus and headed off to our hotel for the night the Amalia Olympia Hotel. That night we took part in a cooking class where we learned how to make tzatziki, greek style hamburgers, and a dessert pastry that we later ate ourselves! After that it was time for bed to get a goodnight’s rest before our early day the next morning.
After a much needed rest we headed off to the Greek National Tourism Organization to watch members and directors of the organization talk about the different aspects of tourism in Greece such as who their targeted audience is, what brings people in to Greece, and future plans for tourism in Greece. After that we were taken to the town square for some free time. We were taught how to accurately pronounce Gyros (pronounced yeeros) and time to do some shopping where I ate a magnificent lunch on a rooftop patio restaurant. We headed to the first modern olympic stadium to snap some photos and were joined by a lovely guide to talk to us about the history of Greece and specifically the Acropolis which we later went to visit. It has always been a dream of mine to experience the Acropolis in real life, not just in pictures, and when I was able to see it in person and discover the history behind it, it truly made this trip worthwhile.
After a long and strenuous delay of 2 hours in Montreal we finally set off to Athens, Greece. The greek god Hermes, messenger of the gods also known as the bringer of good luck, was on my side during the flight as I got bumped to business class unexpectedly! What are the chances? With that I was given a free three course meal which included a nice simple salad, veal stew with cheesy potatoes, and raspberry cheesecake for dessert, not to mention the free beer! I got an iPad to watch any movies and the leg space was phenomenal. Flash forward to landing, we landed at around 2:10 pm Greece time at the Athens International Airport where we met our Contiki tour guide, Tom. From the airport we headed on the coach bus to our first hotel in Greece, the Poseidon Hotel. Very beautiful hotel right on the beach and I would definitely recommend this hotel to anyone going to Athens as the rooms were very clean and it has a gorgeous sky bar that lets you overlook the ocean and the city while enjoying a nice Mythos beer. All in all, day one in Greece set the bar high for the rest of this trip.
My day today started bright and early with a wake up time of 3:30 am. For those of you who don’t know, I am not a morning person in the slightest so the early morning was not ideal for me but I was elated that the day had finally come! Around 5:30 am we went through security and it was smooth sailing from then on. Finally after a wait that seemed like forever we finally boarded Flight 316 with Air Canada from Calgary to Montreal. As of right now I am currently waiting in the Pierre Trudeau International Airport for 6 hours waiting to board Flight 1902 to Athens. I could not be more eager to finally reach the country of my dreams. I will keep you all updated on how my second flight will go!
Bon voyage from Quebec!
SANTA FE, NEW MEXICO 2013