Our around the world trip was about to take a decadent turn. We were on to the land of mountains and sea, sailing into the Greek Isles. In search of the perfect island escape, that was our task and on visits to five different islands, we certainly fulfilled our duty.
In this honeymooners’ paradise, on the playground celebs and jet-setting wannabes, these two budget travelers found their own slice of heaven.
On the road for 10 months, I think we had our travel egos overwhelmingly high, thinking there was little that could really knock our socks off. Stumbling upon the kind of beauty that makes your heart leap, we grew more than smitten with the jewel of the Mediterranean on a two-week visit to the wondrous Greek Isles.
What sets the Greek Isles apart from other tropical paradises (and yes, we’ve done our homework!), are the warm colors that abound. An afternoon light sets on a maze of pure, white-walled streets and impossibly preserved villages. Abundant sunshine reflects off midnight blue waters and mint green shorelines. The shadows of handsomely-rich, wooden ships hover over the sea in a harbor lined with dazzling blue and whites and pastel-colored sea captain homes.
But with the passing of each day, we began to realize the draw of the islands is more than what meets the eye. It’s what meets the spirit. There’s an energy to Greece, perhaps emanating from the people that have occupied the land for thousands of years. They are a convivial, gregarious and hospitable bunch with boundless energy. They go out of their way to make you feel welcome and keep you well-entertained with their cheeky sense of humor and candid spirit.
The Greeks (at least those of the islands) are all about life, love and the pursuit of happiness. They value lingering over long seafood lunches with every member of the extended family. They make morning dips in the sea and afternoon siestas part of their daily regimen. They eat baklava by the kilo, ice cream by the carton and wine by the jug. They cherish those hours each day spent on the stoop of their front doorstep, chatting with friends and watching the world go by.
This way of life can only be described as one thing: contagious.
We knew there was enough sun on the 1,400 islands to guarantee a deep tan and probably enough feta and taziki to keep us well-fed, but what we didn’t realize was that we’d be captivated by oh so much more than the dramatic landscapes of the country. Yep, Greece knocked our socks off.
For more on our Greek Isle hopping adventure check out: