Ten days, three islands, and one trip of a lifetime. My Greece Island hopping adventure has officially come to an end, so I thought it would only be fitting to post my latest travel experience with all of you.
I used a student travel company that I have mentioned previously, Bus2Alps, which did all of the heavy lifting for this trip. They organized the travel and much of the itinerary. Usually, I would follow everyone else’s advice to travel on my own because travel companies can charge you more, but due to not knowing anyone who I would want to travel to Greece with when I booked this trip prior to leaving for Italy in August, I decided I didn’t want to travel alone. There are pros and cons to traveling with any student travel company which will become evident throughout the rest of this post.
Our trip started with a bus ride from Florence to Ancona where we got on a ferry for 24 hours. Personally, I didn’t mind the “ferry” which was more realistically a small cruise ship. It was a long day of travel, but I did upgrade to a cabin where I could sleep for the majority of the trip if I so chose. This ferry was the first place that I truly started to get to know the other students traveling with me. This is by far the best part of traveling with a student travel company because you get to meet so many different people. From the ferry, we had a short bus ride to our first hostel in Athens.
I absolutely loved Athens. We got to do some shopping as well as historical stops. The Acropolis and the Ancient Agora. I was able to get into both of these sites for free with my international student I.D. Nothing was cooler to me than the thought of stepping on land that people from thousands of years ago, before Christ, had also stood on. I was literally touching columns that I had once seen as a little girl in my history books. It was a truly humbling and surreal moment to be able to experience these places and this city first hand. I also got my first taste of authentic Greek gyros in Athens as well as my first ever bubble waffle cone. Both are to die for, and I surely will never forget them.
After a couple days in Athens, it was time to catch another ferry to the island of Santorini. Santorini is most commonly recognized by the eye-catching white buildings and blue roofs, and not to mention, Oía which is home to the most photographed sunset ever. Santorini was right out of a movie. Everything seemed so dreamlike. This island is also known for being one of the most luxurious vacation spots in the world, so I was thankful for my opportunity to see its Red and Black Sand Beaches as well as its famous sunset as a student. I was also able to visit the highest point on the island, at an ancient Monastery where I repped my home university, CMU. Aside from loving the sunset, I enjoyed Santorini’s other views and, of course, more gyros. We stayed in a town called Fira while in Santorini which was where a couple of my new friends and I found our favorite gyro spot that we visited four separate times in two days as well as a nice cliff bistro that featured an unforgettable view.
Our final destination for our trip was the island of Corfu. Of course, we had another day of travel to get there due to the distance from Santorini to Corfu, but it was totally worth it. Corfu was a completely different island than the other two. We stayed at the famous Pink Palace hostel. They were not joking when they say it’s pink- it looked like Barbie’s beach getaway. Here we got to relax under the sun on a very cool rock beach, make it to Corfu town, and experience the famous toga party offered at Pink Palace. This was definitely something I had yet to experience in life. Due to tourist season ending, the island seemed empty which I liked, but I would love to see this place at the height of the tourist season when the hostel alone can hold over 700 guests. My favorite part of this island was the rocky beach where I sat for hours searching for new rocks. It was eye-opening to see boulders that made up the beach becoming sand firsthand. No two rocks were the same. Nothing was more peaceful to me than looking for rocks with my new friends, stopping every so often to show off a new one or try to skip a flat one.
By the end of the ten days, I was beaten. It was a lot of traveling to islands that are not that close to one another. This is where Bus2Alps gets much criticism, and although there were extra costs (just like any another vacation), I give this trip a huge thumbs up. I loved the people I met, including the guides, and I can’t imagine trying to book these three islands on my own. This truly was an amazing experience that I will never be able to forget. I am truly blessed to have met such awesome people whom I hope to connect back in the states with.
Krystal, With a “K”