For most people in Spain, Semana Santa (or Holy Easter Week) is a time to be with family, enjoy the holiday, and (according to the kids I tutor at the elementary school) eat lots of food. For study abroad students, it’s a time to travel. In the week after Semana Santa, I heard stories from Madrid, Barcelona, Paris, Rome, and even Amsterdam and Berlin. My classmates took Semana Santa as an opportunity to see places in Europe that they had been wanting to see for forever, and my friends and I decided to do the same. We spent our 10 days of Semana Santa in Athens and Santorini Greece, and we had an absolutely incredible time!
There were, of course, minor hiccups along the way on our vacation. I ended up getting sick the very first day and I completely lost my voice for seven of the ten days (that made checking into our Santorini hotel especially interesting, as everything was in my name). However, despite the seemingly constant search for cough drops and Kleenex (thank you for the help, Maddie and Emily!), the trip really was wonderful 🙂
We started off in Athens, and we saw everything from Acropolis Hill and the Parthenon, to the Panathenaic Stadium and the National Gardens. I truly believe that half of our trip was spent enjoying Athens, and the other half was spent just turning to each other and saying in amazement “We’re in Greece!”.
From Athens we took an eight-hour ferry ride (like a mini cruise ship, but without the free food) to Santorini. We were staying in Fira (the central hub of the island) which gave us access to the main bus station and the ability to travel all over the island. We spent our first day in Oia, the part of the island with the iconic white buildings and blue dome roofs. That was definitely the first time it hit us that we were really there! The next day, we made our way to Akrotiri to check out the red sand beach. We had beautiful weather the entire time in Santorini, and it was pretty awesome being able to hang out in the Mediterranean in March! Our last full day, we headed to Perissa to see the largest beach on the island. Because tourist season doesn’t really start on the island until April and we were there in March, we had the place to ourselves – or at least mostly to ourselves 🙂 – for the entire day. In between trips to all of these beaches, we explored Fira, tested the local cuisine (read: gyros and ice cream every single day), and found my favorite spot on the island to watch the sunset.
After Santorni, we got back on the ferry to Athens, and returned home to Oviedo. Grand totals for our trip: 7 bus rides, 4 flights, 2 ferry rides, 4 taxi rides, 2 hotels, 15+ times I tried to talk before I remembered that I didn’t have a voice, 10+ monuments that were absolutely stunning to see, and 6 (7?) cones of ice cream. All in all, I think I’d call our trip a success 🙂
Until next time,