Thousands of years old, a cruise ship, and 39 friends. That was our trip in a nutshell: a whirlwind visit to a really interesting country with an amazing group of people…all to celebrate our friend Patty’s 70th birthday. Here are the highlights, including my travel video 🙂

-Walking the old marble pedestrian streets in the Plaka neighborhood of Athens and visiting the Parthenon.

-Spontaneously deciding to rent ATV’s on Mykonos to escape the crowds of people visiting from 3 cruise ships. We rode across the island, found a tiny beach community, and had the most amazing fresh seafood lunch.

-Renting a car in Milos, a small island much less populated and less visited by tourists. While there, driving along narrow winding roads and visiting the moonscape rocks at Sarakiniko… continuing on to Firopotamos, a cute fishing village, where colorful garages for boats line the base of cliffs, and where Susan Swezy and I jumped off a 30-foot pier. And lastly, watching the sunset from the quaint town of Plaka.

-Enjoying many laughs at the expense of our cruise ship which had terrible food, a 6 person hot tub (for a 1000+ passenger ship), and a host of other quirky things that were very funny.

-The many delicious meals eaten off the boat with friends. I’ve discovered how amazing Greek food is!

-Despite the hordes of people (and I mean HORDES), I enjoyed Santorini’s winding pedestrian paths lined with shops and white houses built into the cliffs.

-Visiting Knossos on the island of Crete. It was hard to grasp that the buildings were four thousand years old. While the ruins were interesting enough, the highlight of the day was spending the afternoon having a leisurely, delicious lunch at a beach club with 20 other people from our group.

-Lastly, visiting Ephesus in the town of Kusadasi in Turkey. As someone not that into history and ruins, even I was impressed by the buildings and their history. We bought a Turkish runner rug, which I have no doubt we paid too much for (their sales tactics were brutal!) but that we will enjoy for years to come.

We have returned with a new appreciation for all things Greek and with shared experiences had with our group of 39.