Photography by Brianne Lee

Photography by Brianne Lee

Going Greek

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

This past week we had our Spring Break here in Florence. Two of my roommates and I opted to swap the ancient streets and bridges of Florence for the crumbling temples and picturesque beaches of Greece. We set off bright and early to catch a 14 hour ferry ride to the beautiful island of Corfu, Greece! The daunting 14+ hours we were antsy about were quickly diminished with a great view of the turquoise water all around us, a fun night of Uno with new friends, and stargazing on top of the boat.

From the moment we arrived at the Northern Greek island of Corfu, we were greeted with the blue and white stripes of the Greek flag and the illegible Greek alphabet sprawled across every sign.

Bright pink buses were waiting for us at the port and took us to the one and only Pink Palace: a beachside hostel that is (you guessed it) pink. Every building that is part of the massive property is coated in a bright, bubble-gum pink.

 Along with a place to stay that is within hearing distance of the waves, the Pink Palace provided us with plenty to do – everything from sea kayaking and toga parties to ATV and bus tours of the island. But, if you’re anything like me, after the chaos that is midterms and papers, calmly exploring the beachfront and leisurely exploring seemed like a good way to spend our first day!

 The next couple days were spent relaxing on the beach, discovering abandoned ships washed up on the shore, lots of card playing, toga parties, Greek food and sea kayaking on the Ionian Sea.

 Leaving the picturesque quaintness of Corfu, we made the 8-hour trek across Greece to the bustling city of Athens. What struck me most about the famous city is just how industrial it has become. Scattered with shops, busy paved streets, and modernly designed buildings, it felt almost as if I was in Rome again.

It was only after a hike to the edge of the city that you stumbled across the scarce remnants of Athens' past, or climbed the Acropolis to view more scattered columns and crumbling temples.

Our time in Athens was a whirlwind where we only had a mere 24 hours to soak in as much of the culture and gyros as possible. And after getting my phone stolen, I was ready to leave the busyness of Athens behind and board our ferry to the postcard island of Santorini. 

In Santorini, we did a tour of all the island had to offer – starting with the various beaches. We hiked through Santorini’s famous red sand beach, which in reality can barely be called a beach. In order to get to the beach we first had to climb over steep hills and rocks, but the view was worth every second.

On our second night, we made our way to the town of Oia just in time for the sunset – the town most famous for being the face of Santorini postcards and the filming location for Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. It is also a popular spot for tourists from all over the island to gather to watch the sun set, with hundreds of people climbing on railings and rooftops, bottles of wine in hand, to get a perfect view.

After packing together our belongings, we witnessed one last Santorini sunset from the bus as we made our way to the main Ferry port for a 24+ hour ride back to Italy!

As much as I loved the Greek atmosphere, by day 10 I found myself getting Florence-homesick for the first time. I missed the patchwork of the Italian cobblestone, the homemade pasta and gelato, and the familiarity of an alphabet I knew how to pronounce. While nothing may ever top a Santorini sunset, the familiar feeling of my bed in Florence after over 30 hours of travel came pretty darn close!


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