by WTN host Angela Dacey
When you bring 10 women together with a common goal of travelling to Greece, you get newfound friendships, laughter, great conversation and tons of shopping to say the least!
After visiting Athens, Rhodes, Crete, Santorini and Mykonos with the Women’s Travel Network this past May 2022, it feels refreshing to finally be able to travel and explore the world once again. With travel opening up globally, we still wore masks when we needed to. We felt safe with wearing masks on the plane, in excursions and walking in small spaces. People were very respectful. With this having been a global pandemic, there was a commonality between us all, even if we didn’t speak the language.
Thoughts of the pandemic were cast aside during this trip. Instead, the beauty of the islands, the history learned in each excursion and tasting delicious food every meal took precedence.
Walking onto the Acropolis site in Athens was surreal. It’s difficult to believe you are standing on ground that was inhabited 4000 years B.C. Then to visit the stunning museum and see artifacts found on the property, transports you back in time.
Each island in Greece is very different and Rhodes proved to be a favourite for the group. The old medieval city is surrounded by a 4km wall and lined inside with white, grey and black stones marking the pathways. Occupied by Italy, Turkey, Israel, Rome, this island has remnants of many diverse ancestors.
Travelling next to Crete brought the group to a family-owned olive oil farm where taste testing and oil making education created a whole new world and understanding. Participating in a cooking class and eating the delicious lunch – of course drizzle in flavourful vinegars and spicy olive oils, made for each lady to go home purchasing a selection of oils for their suitcase. Even one lady had to buy another suitcase to handle the weight!
Taking a high-speed ferry across the Aegean turquoise sea brought us to white and blue painted villages sitting high on top steep cliffs in gorgeous Santorini. Just like we see in magazines, this island boasts clear skies, anchored cruise ships, honeymooners and a multitude of quaint shops filled with designer clothing, jewellery, souvenirs and colourful gelato of every flavour.
The sunsets were beyond stunning, with sunset tropical drinks to match, while you watched the sun sink into the ocean after another day in paradise.
Our group experienced another side of Santorini too that many tourists don’t often explore.In Akrotiri, Santorini remains the hidden lost city of Atlantis. Buried in volcanic ash, the settlement was preserved from 17th century B.C. Remains excavated since 1967 shows us the people of that time were very advanced. From working toilets and water systems to fully equipped ships for transportation to designer jewellery and clothing worn by the women, the people of the 17th century lived full abundance lives.
A few steps away from this amazing discovery you can find the locals offering boat tours and drop offs to the red beach, white beach and black beach. For only $10 Euros per person, we all enjoyed a sun filled day on the volcanic black beach swimming in the saltwater sea and eating a delicious lunch at a local restaurant on the water. A hidden treasure – just like the archaeology site!
Finally landing on the “Windy Island” of Mykonos, beachfront restaurants had the hustle and bustle of people ready to socialize eat and drink Greek wine. However, with a change of scenery, taking a boat to the Roman island of Delos just a short distance away, led the group to the mythological birthplace of Apollo – the Greek God of Sun and Light. The island was inhabited by the Romans in 3rd millennium B.C. and is left empty and standing after a large massacre by the King Minos of Crete. Luckily that information was saved until the end of the tour as we all felt sadness hearing that news. However, the buildings displayed a vibrant community of theatre, trading as a main port and temples which remain there for us to imagine how life really existed all those years ago.
Flying back on Air Canada was a simple, easy process although we all wished we had a little more time.
2.5 weeks proved to be filled with amazing experiences after only visiting 5 islands out of the 9000 Greeks islands. It’s difficult to choose a favourite island. Each place had its own essence. A few pieces remain the same. The people are extremely welcoming and friendly. The food is organic, fresh and delicious. The sea is even more brilliant in person. However, most of all…the most laughs and best friendships were developed.
Thank you to the Women’s Travel Network and World Wide Quest for a “Kalisti” (most beautiful) trip.
Angela Dacey, Tour Host WTN
and founder of Live Life Colourfully