The next stop on my Contiki tour was Greece. We caught an overnight ferry to Athens, which was an interesting experience. Hearing all about Greece's poor economy, I didn't think about how real it was until I actually saw it for myself. Stray animals, abandoned cars, beggars and an overall rundown city, it really made me grateful for my home. I still enjoyed my time in Athens though with amazing local food (I could live off tzatziki dip!) and getting to watch traditional Greek dancing in the evening.
On the tour, you could either choose to spend four nights in Mykonos or do a Greek Island cruise for four nights. My best friend and I opted to do the Greek Island cruise as we thought this way we'd get to see more of the country. It was a totally new experience being on a cruise ship and whilst it wasn't super luxurious, it was more than nice enough. The staff were so friendly and we were in awe of the translator who could speak six languages! We may have gotten a little too drunk on our Contiki cocktail party night and told her how much we admired her! It was €90 for all you can drink for four nights and we had to take advantage!
The cruise ship stopped at various Greek Islands including Mykonos, Kuşadasi in Turkey (we only spent a few hours there, but it's still another country to add to the list!), Lindos in Rhodes and Santorini, to name a few. Those are the places we chose to visit, anyway. As you can probably tell by the photos, by far, my favourite islands were Mykonos and Santorini. We had an amazing seafood platter dinner overlooking the water at sunset in Mykonos and in Santorini, we got to explore the town while ending the evening on a cable car ride watching the sun come down. It was so amazing to see those white buildings contrasting so beautifully against those rounded blue roofs and fuchsia flowers in real life. Mykonos and Santorini were my favourite places to buy jewellery too. So much turquoise and opal! Another highlight was getting to ride a donkey in Rhodes!
It was a shame we didn't get time to see more of the islands or experience the Mykonos nightlife, but it was so nice to unwind on the cruise and sleep in after so many early mornings. After four nights, the cruise made its way back to Athens and we got to see the Metropolis and first Olympic stadium. We later met up with the rest of the Contiki crew and stopped off at Preveza for the night. Next stop, Croatia!