Exploring Greece!

What a trip! Here’s a report from our family vacation to Greece. Fun fact: Ben Blair and I used to lived in Greece — it was many years ago when I was pregnant with our first baby, Ralph. We loved living and working there but despite our best plans, we’ve never been able to get back. So getting to be there again was dreamy. And getting to be here with ALL the kids — they’ve never been! — was over the moon fantastic.

As the kids get older and have independent lives, it’s harder and harder to spend time together like this (even when it’s not a pandemic). So I tried hard to soak up every moment.

We spent a couple of days in Mykonos, a couple of days in Santorini, and a couple of days in Athens. Find reports about all three locations below.

First up, Mykonos:

We paced ourselves. We typically did one lengthy outing each day, and one big meal out, and then spent time resting and swimming and reading and movie watching and snacking at the apartment/hotel.

Something extra fun: getting to hear Ben speak Greek! He first learned Greek as a missionary (he lived in Greece for two years before I knew him), and then he studied Greek further during grad school, and he’s been practicing again daily for the last year. He’s not fluent but he’s conversational and it’s lovely to see people’s faces light up when they expect to hear English and he engages in Greek instead.

From Mykonos, we also took a ferry to Delos for a short visit:

The next section of our trip was in Santorini. When we got to Santorini, there was a 30 minute drive through the back of the island to the tiny cliffside town where we were staying (the town is called Oia). The drive was kind of lackluster and the kids were thinking Santorini was going to be a bummer after Mykonos (we all loved Mykonos(. And then they saw the famous views!

One thing I remembered fondly about living in Greece (23!) years ago is the huge variety of juices they have at every kiosk and grocery store. Instead of just the usual apple and orange, in Greece they have strawberry juice, banana juice, cherry juice, peach juice, sanguini juice, and a dozen other varieties. We stopped at a market to pick some up — I like mixing them with sparking water if they’re too sweet.

I LOVE going to the grocery store when traveling. It might be my favorite part. It gives such a good picture of the local culture. What do you like to do while traveling?

After Santorini, we headed to Athens:

One of the best things we did? We ate classic Greek food for every meal and we always ordered family style and passed things around. Oh my. Greek food is so good! We tried a variety of things, but also ordered favorites at every meal if they were available: saganaki, moussaka, Greek salad, tzatziki, and pita.

And here’s a little bonus for anyone who is curious — some Q&A about the trip:

And that’s the full report. Is Greece on your travel wishlist? We loved it so much. The kids are saying this might be the best family trip ever!

7 thoughts on “Exploring Greece!”

  1. It certainly looks like the best trip EVER! I just wanted to comment, I wasn’t sure what sanguini was, so I googled it, having a nagging feeling it was the name of a character of some sort. Turns out, it was the name of the vampire that comes to the Slug Club Christmas party in the Half Blood Prince; and apparently, is aka BLOOD ORANGE. So clever ;)

    1. “Sanguis” is the latin root for “blood,” so Sanguini is a particularly good name for a vampire. I love learning about the etymology of words. I didn’t know blood oranges were called sanguinis but it makes perfect sense. Like”sang-froid” (a cool composure in the face of stress or danger) literally means cold-blood in French (again, from the Latin sanguis root). Sanguine (calm/positive/optimistic outlook, especially in the face of an apparently bad or difficult situation) is also related, and has roots in the ancient “four humors” (blood/sanguine, yellow bile/choleric, black bile/melancholy, and phlegm) that were seen to be the root of health and emotions in ancient times. Words are cool. (Sorry for geeking out!)

  2. We spent our honeymoon in Italy and Greece, on Santorini specifically! I’d give anything to go back. We stayed in an old wine cave in Pyrgos (opposite side of the island than Oia) and walked to the winery overlooking the caldera for snacks and drinks, saw a movie at Kamari Cinema, and swam every day. I have never in my life been so sun-drenched and happy.

    Also came here to say that I love how kind your family is to each other. The videos where they are cheering you all on as you jump off the cliff is #parentinggoals. I only have two kids, but the idea that we’re all on the same team is something I aspire to daily. We’ll just be a much smaller team, haha :)

  3. Looks like a fabulous time! I just got back from Nashville and saw the full-size replica of the Parthenon. Now I need to visit the original!

  4. What a fabulous trip! So much fun to see your pictures and videos. Definitely inspiring for those of us with littles!

  5. The Acropolis Museum is spectacular, and definitely worth a visit. It’s a gorgeous new building with many of the metopes and frieze sculptures that needed to be removed to prevent their further deterioration. It also has a spectacularly-situated balcony cafe and excellent gift shop.

    I also recommend the island of Sifnos, as well as Naplion and other areas in Peloponnese. I’d go back to all of those places!

  6. This looks like the trip of a lifetime! What a great family time! I’m curious about costs when traveling with such a big family— it seems like every meal would be $200-300, and that’s not counting the ice cream for dessert xD. Do you have a set budget for these trips? Or do you kind of just wing it?

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