Αγαπώ την Ελλάδα…I love Greece!
I have been a HUGE fan of Greece ever since I watched “My Big Fat Greek Wedding.” I fell in love with the passionate culture, delicious foods, and the Greek attitude. I always enjoyed going to my favorite Greek hotspot located in Florida, Taverna Opa, for big celebrations and events. However, growing up in the US, I felt that I did not have many opportunities to emerge myself in the Greek culture.
When I lived in London for my Masters degree my whole idea of Greece changed.
Half of the students in my program were Greek. Since the UK is part of the EU, Greeks are able to come freely to work, study, and live there. I was so excited to speak to them and learn more about the country I have always dreamed about going to, but I noticed they kept to themselves. I saw them sit together, eat together, study together, and I didn’t see them socialize too much with people from other cultures.
I remember having a silent meltdown one day, missing my home, my family and friends. I was exhausted from sitting on the computer all day in the library, I wanted to quit. I was about to break down in tears in my university’s lobby, and that’s when I saw my soon to be first Greek friend.
She was on the phone speaking somewhat frantically in Greek. I couldn’t understand a single word she was saying verbally, but I knew by looking at her she was feeling similar to how I was. I didn’t want to be rude by intruding on her conversation, but I felt like she needed a friend just as much as I did.
When she hung up the phone, I decided to ask her, “Are you okay?”
She stopped and looked at me for a moment, and then her answer described exactly how I was feeling. I then asked her if she would like to take a break from the library and have lunch with me and another international student from New Jersey. On the way to lunch she told me she didn’t think her English was too good but she really wanted to improve.
I told her I always wanted to talk to the Greek students in class, but I felt like they were keeping to themselves. She told me she felt the same way about me and the other American students!
I hadn’t thought about it from her perspective, but it was true! I always sat with a few students from America. I guess we just felt like it was easier to sit with someone we already had something in common with.
From that day on, the Greeks and the Americans became great friends, the British students too! We all sat together, went to Greek restaurants in London together, and enjoyed exploring British culture together.
Over spring break, my friend invited me to stay with her and her family in Athens, Greece. I was SO excited! I could not wait to see if life was similar to, “My Big Fat Greek Wedding.”
I was welcomed into her home with Ouzo shots!
Why visit Greece this Spring?
According to National Geographic Traveler Magazine, spring is one of the best times of the year to visit gorgeous Greece. It’s the time of year when you’ll find magical blooming wildflowers, wonderful weather, great options for hotel accommodations, and not too many crowds.
I can attest that the sun and sky will be brighter than any other place you’ve ever been, especially during spring months! You can enjoy exploring this vibrant country comfortably by foot or car during this time of year. The temperature will feel JUST RIGHT!
With “My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2” coming out in theaters this spring, and the memory of my HAPPIEST spring break of all time, here are my 4 favorite things to do during spring in Greece, and why my heart is in Greece for spring break:
1. Visit the Parthenon and the Acropolis Museum.
The Parthenon is one of the most magnificent creations in the world and the “finest monument on the Acropolis,” dedicated by the Athenians to the Greek goddess Athena Parthenos. Walking up to the top of the hill, you will find the best views of Athens and feel the history all around you.
The Acropolis Museum focuses on the findings of the archaeological site of the Acropolis of Athens. The Museum consists of 4,000 objects, each an impressive artifact found on the rock.
2. Walk around Pláka.
After exploring the Parthenon and the Acropolis Museum, take a stroll back down the hill to Pláka, a historical neighborhood of Athens. This is found on the Northern and Eastern slopes of the Acropolis.
Pláka looks like a rustic, antique like village. It is full of LIFE. You will find beautiful tiny side streets with outdoor seating, surrounded by unbelievably good Greek cuisine, and packed with locals. The buildings make perfect photos for photographer lovers and the shops are interesting to pop in and out of for any type of traveler.
3. Drink an iced Frappé Coffee.
As a non-coffee drinker and an “anti-drinking coffee every day” kind of person, I am telling you personally that you MUST drink Greece’s most popular coffee, Frappé coffee.
This coffee was accidentally invented by a Nescafe representative in Thessaloniki, and it is now known for being “the most popular coffee among Greek youth and foreign tourists.” I recommend having it at least once a day, because when you leave you will miss it dearly!
4. Take a day trip to Cape Sounion (Sounio) to see Poseidon’s temple.
Sounion is known for it’s world-renowned archaeological site and was one of my favorite half-day excursions. The smooth drive from central Athens takes you through hills alongside the Mediterranean and Aegean Seas, and will absolutely stun you with some of Greece’s most beautiful views.
Cape Sounion is home to the ancient Greek temple of Poseidon, also known as the god of the sea in classical mythology. It was constructed on a cliff and it’s ruins are now overlooking the Aegean Sea as well as upscale Greek summer homes.
After visiting this breathtaking site, make sure to have a ouzo lemonade at a local seaside restaurant. The food will impress you each and every time!
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