Greece has been on our bucket list for at least 25 years. So, when my husband Ray and I started talking to Liz Matassa at Pique Travel about finally traveling there, we were extremely excited.
There are so many ways to see this beautiful country. We decided to do a combination of land and cruise. We started our journey in Athens, flying in a few days before our cruise was to depart.
Athens was such a pleasant surprise to us. We stayed at the King George Hotel, which was a great property and the views were stunning. The first day we had a guided tour of the city. We walked around town, saw a lot of smaller artifacts that many don’t get to see and were really able to get an idea of what Greece was centuries ago. It was fascinating.
During our time in Athens we also visited the Acropolis and the Acropolis Museum. I can’t emphasize enough how key the Museum was to the overall experience. We were able to see original pieces of the Acropolis that are now being preserved in the Museum, learn more about the purpose of it and better understand the monuments in general. I feel like if we would have walked up to the Acropolis without that insight and knowledge, we wouldn’t have enjoyed it (or appreciated it) nearly as much as we did.
After a couple days in Athens, we ventured to the port to join our cruise. The Wind Star would be our home for the next eight days. We chose The Wind Star intentionally. It’s a smaller vessel (148 total guests) and is a sailing yacht with four huge, beautiful masts. It feels like we stepped back in time, yet had all of today’s comforts and amenities.
We set sail to various seaside villages and islands within Greece, including Nafplio, Mykonos, Patmos, Monemvasia and Santorini. We viewed a Greek Orthodox service in Patmos, loved walking the village streets, marveled at the old windmills set within the hillsides and enjoyed all the food! (Including our new favorite Greek Salad, which unlike the Americanized version does not include lettuce!)
Our itinerary also took us to Kusadasi, Turkey where we did a full day in Ephesus. This was truly one of the highlights for us. Because of the investments made in that archaeological area, more artifacts have been discovered there than many other areas in the region. It was amazing. Plus, we had a very unique dining experience that evening. We dined at Celsus Library of Ephesus where we enjoyed our meal outside on white linen table clothes and covered chairs. It was beautiful. Three members of the local symphony placed for us while we ate. Truly something we’ll never forget.
The ship, crew, food and service on board The Wind Star made the experience for us so memorable. In fact, one of our favorite evenings was the night we were able to sit at the Captain’s Table for dinner. She shared her story with us about how this young, black female knew early in life that she wanted to captain a ship. Here she was, first in command of The Wind Star sailing us through the islands of Greece. We realized that our dream of 25 years was coming true, while hers had already come true. One of the most inspiring people we met a long the way!
Want to learn more about sailing the islands of Greece, or other itineraries in the Mediterranean? Email Liz at LizM@PiqueTravel.com.