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My Big Fat Greek Vacation

By Gina Pallios, Reporter

During the summer break, my family and I went on a heritage trip to Greece for two weeks. We moved around quite a bit, managing to visit many different places including: Athens, Mykonos, Santorini, Rhodes, and Crete just to name a few. But before I get into what I did and what I saw I’d like to note that this was the longest flight I’ve ever taken. It was probably the most uncomfortable as well. My seat itself was not necessarily bad. However, I did have to deal with the person behind me kicking the back of my seat on and off for about 15 hours. The food was surprisingly okay though so at least I had that.
Anyway, we spent two days in Athens, Greece’s capital city. Honestly, I do not think these guys have any driving laws. Thank goodness we never had to actually drive in Athens because they were crazy drivers. I’m pretty sure I saw someone, with a car, drive on the sidewalk. As you can imagine, this made walking on the streets very fun. I guess you can equate it to a game of chicken. Despite having a heart attack every single time we got on the road, Athens was probably one of my favorite parts of my trip. The food there was some of the best Greek food I’ve ever had; though still not as good as my Yiayia’s cooking (yiayia is Greek for grandma). My absolute favorite part, however, was hiking up to the Acropolis and seeing the Parthenon for the first time. The thing is absolutely massive. When I was in 6th grade, I made a small model of the Parthenon for a school project, but seeing the actual structure in real life was absolutely amazing. For the last two days in Athens I wanted to go back up, but there was not enough time to visit it again.
Moving on from Athens, we ended up going on a cruise ship to some of the Greek islands. These islands really do live up to their reputation. My personal favorite was Rhodes because we were able to walk through a medieval castle. Who knew there were castles in Greece? Mykonos and Santorini were amazing as well. The buildings were so white; I almost went blind from the reflection of the sun off the walls.
The last part of my trip was Chania, Crete. My family actually comes from the island of Crete. I even have some family that lives there; however, we did not get to visit them. For this part of the trip, we had to drive ourselves everywhere. We ended up having to take a 9 person van for 5 people because in Greece they apparently don’t rent out minivans. About an hour after we received the van, we became lost and accidentally found ourselves in some guy’s yard and he ended up driving us out onto the main road. Nice guy, but yes, we let a total stranger, who did not speak any English, drive our rented 9 passenger van back onto the main road so we could find our hotel. Fun stories about driving in Greece aside, Crete was very fun and very beautiful. We drove through a few of the villages that my family is from, walked around Oldtown Chania, saw a few WWII museums, and hiked the Samaria gorge. We stayed in a hotel right next to the harbor, which allowed us to have dinner every night right next to the water.
One thing I learned from this experience is to stop and take in the moment. The Greeks, as well as most of Europe, generally take life a little slower. I think we should all apply this lesson and take in a moment to enjoy life.Though, we might not want to take them up on any driving lessons anytime soon.

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Gina Pallios, Reporter

Gina Pallios is a current senior in the International Baccalaureate program at Modesto High school. She has been involved in Water polo all four years...

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My Big Fat Greek Vacation