Today we finally leave Mykonos and head back to Athens. Topdeck arranged an earlier ferry so that we would have time to look around in Athens.
We are all feeling a little nervous about heading to Athens. The news is flooded with stories on the state of Greece’s financial state. Supposedly banks are closed, ATM’s are running dry and riots in the streets have begun. Though the full extent of this will be seen once we arrive.
Tonight will be our last night with Topdeck and I have mixed emotions. This trip has made me appreciate how blessed I am to be living where I do and I’m excited to go home though the thought of a normal life pains me.
After a bumpy fairy ride and some serious cases of sea sicknesses we arrive in Athens. Noticing the media have over exaggerated tourists safety in Athens we feel comfortable to look around. I’m glad we did! We saw some beautiful sights including the Parthenon and the Acropolis.
One more night and we are on our own again.
We woke up to have yoghurt, fruit and honey for breakfast and it was so yum! I didn’t realise how much I loved honey.
After breakfast we caught the extremely full shuttle bus to the main part of town. White buildings, narrow streets and blue doors – this is Greece.
Later we saw the old windmills which are no longer running but still impressive.
After spending the day in town I finally put my new one piece on and went down to the beach for some sun. Turns out the beach was actually a nudist beach.
I have never seen so many naked old people in my life.
After spending what seemed like forever travelling from Rome to Athens via ferry we finally arrived. We didn’t get to see much as we arrived at 7:30pm and left at 5am for Mykonos but not to worry we will be back here shortly.
My first impression of Mykonos was the dry land. I expected to see an island littered with white shacks but from the port all we could see were enough shacks to count on one hand. It was quiet, there weren’t many people other than those from the ferry. In comparison to the rest of Europe is was kind of scary being surrounded by open space rather than bodies on more bodies. The roads are extremely narrow, every time our bus went around the corner I held my breath praying nobody was on the other side.
Our hotel was next to Paradise beach which is considered party central. I’m not kidding when I say the clubs don’t close until 7am. If you’re a light sleeper bring your ear plugs!
Today was an early start. First on the agenda – Vatican City. Vatican City is the smallest country in the world and is full of nuns as you would imagine. We were lucky enough to have a tour through the Sistine Chapel, where photos are prohibited. The paintings on the roof are astounding! It’s a must see if you are in Italy.
After the Sistine Chapel the guide took us to St Peters Basilica where we saw Pope Francis himself. There was a marching band and thousands of people hoping to catch a glimpse of the man in white.
Last on the Roman agenda was of course the Colosseum. As we headed to the Colosseum we first saw Palatine Hill and the Roman ruins. It’s so impressive considering people were believed to be 120cm tall and did not have power tools.
We got tickets down the street for the Colosseum which meant we didn’t have to wait in the two hour line! It was AMAZING. It was mind blowing. The stairs are huge and so steep but it isn’t hard to imagine how it would have been many years ago.
24 hours on a ferry tomorrow and then we will arrive in Greece.
After finishing up in Florence we jumped on the bus to head for Rome. As soon as we arrived we began a four hour walking tour. That’s right FOUR HOURS of walking!!
First off the list of must sees was the famous Spanish Steps. These were really cool to see, they kind of reminded me of the steps in Gossip Girl only a million times more crowded and their was no Blair Waldorf telling everyone where to go, just a sea of people wandering.
Next on this list was the Trevi Fountain. I was so incredibly upset. This was on my bucket list but while we were there it was all scaffold and no water. It was covered by a glass barrier and looked nothing like what movies let me fantasize. I guess it just means I will have to go back one day. I still threw my coin in though, over the barrier, into a pool of concrete… I had to.
So far we had walked 6 kilometres in 2 hours and by this point my unfit legs are broken shoes are begging me to stop. We had a quick half hour to sit down but instead of resting Blake and I quickly grabbed some pizza and discovered the Pantheon, which is free! It was really beautiful and helped me to appreciate the rich European history. I found it interesting that a hole was left in the dome meaning draining systems needed to be installed in case of rain.
We also visited Piazza Navona and Piazza Venezia though we didn’t stay due to protests. More excitingly we caught our first glimpse of the colosseum but that’s a story for next time.
We moved on from Pisa and headed to Florence. Florence is a beautiful city one day I hope to go back there and spend more time. There is so much to see in the city and out of the six countries I visited in Europe and numerous cities I have to say this is one of my favourites.
Our very few hours in Florence began by our very talented driver literally trying to squeeze the bus into the hotel drive way which was blocked by several cars that had to be moved. Not only did he manage to manoeuvre a crazy tight corner but he reversed it!
Once we jumped off the bus we began a quick walking tour of the city. Our guide was very entertaining he walked fasted and loved to say ‘Chunky monkey’ and ‘the dome.’ I guarantee any Florence residents will know exactly who I am talking about.
The tour showed us how beautiful the city is.
Later that night we returned to our hotel. This was one of few places where I was bunked with others from our tour and not Blake. Unfortunately our toilet stopped working and unlike the other girls I was not willing to go knowing it wouldn’t flush, the smell in our room was already bad enough. So luckily I had enough connection on my phone to ask Blake where his room was.
The next day our very long wait began. We managed to negotiate with our Topdeck hosts to leave the hotel earlier so we could line up at the Acadamia Gallery to see the statue of David. We waited in line for over 3 hours!!! By the time we got in we had fifteen minutes to find the statue, walk back to our hotel and be on the bus. It was probably the most intense fifteen minutes of my life. I had a vision of this trip being very relaxing and peaceful but Europe is like someone threw chaos into a blender and never pressed stop. In a good way though!
Today we left Venice and headed to Pisa. For some reason I expected to see the leaning tower from a distance but it wasn’t quite visible until entering the square. I was surprised to see a cathedral next to the tower and luscious green grass surrounding.
Of course we had to take a typical tourist photo!