Written by Grace Gordon-McGlone, Endless Travel Student Intern
All around me I see the faces of naked men and women staring back at me. Some look heroic, others appear modest and young. Some have broken fingers, others have no ears. I see some with no heads at all. Each statue looks graceful, beautifully crafted long ago by the same hands that built the marble temples holding so much history. Greece is a perfect balance of history and modernity, a mix of art and culture. I loved it all.
I came to Greece on a school trip, with a group of eight girls from my high school as well as students from four other schools around the U.S. It had been planned for a year, and when the trip came I was beyond pleased.
In the twelve short days spent exploring all the country has to offer, every puzzle piece and every story I’d learned came together and felt very real. I saw in person king Minos’ infamous labyrinth where the Minotaur was kept, the temple from which king Aegeus threw himself into the sea after mistakenly believing his son was devoured by the Minotaur, the helmet of Achilles, and the Oracle of Delphi. The history coming together with the ancient religious myths was stunningly flawless. Everything made sense; there was no question of real or fake because everything was seamlessly blended.
Greece wasn’t only old crumbling buildings and artifacts. Uniform white buildings with blue accents, gorgeous calm beaches, and delicious street food made the trip exciting, rather than simply educational. On Mykonos, we got terribly lost as we ate crepes and watched the sun set behind the famed windmills. In Oia, Santorini, we walked the rooftops in search of the best view, and watched street artists sell paintings of the well-known island. In Athens, we roamed the Acropolis and looked over the ancient city, then explored the street vendors and town squares in the Plaka, soaking in the bustling activity.
We traveled for 12 full days. In the tour group, everything was perfectly organized down to every hour. With the trip completely planned out, the group did not need to worry about the next activity, or getting lost, or missing out on anything. We traveled a lot by bus, but the long hours were split up by visiting new towns and palaces and temples. The trip was packed full, with only two free days to roam. However, the lack of freedom was made up for by the constant sightseeing that I’m glad we didn’t miss. Finally, the last five days consisted of deporting our luxury ship and arriving at a new island every morning, and we spent the majority of each day learning and exploring each new destination. We explored popular restaurants and beaches, and at night we spent drinking milkshakes on the cruise ship learning traditional Greek dances.
The people in Greece were incredible. Everyone was lovely, and most men were named Costa. There was not a single person we met who didn’t treat us kindly and weren’t more than willing to offer any help they could. The friendliness was amazing, and so was every moment. As I learned, danced, and ate, I fell in love with a country.