From Crete, we took an overnight ferry back to Athens. These ferries are no joke; I was expecting something like the Staten Island Ferry, but the boats we took in Greece are more like cruise ships. Because the trip was overnight, we decided to splurge- the difference was not so great- on a private cabin, which, as you can see, was decently sized with two beds. There was even a HOT shower (we had water trouble at our hotel in Chania). The only problem with the room was that we didn’t realize there was a thermostat, and the person who’d had the room before us had set the air conditioner to the lowest setting. I didn’t get very much sleep because I was absolutely FREEZING with my thin little blanket!
We woke up as the ferry was docking in Athens. Using a map, we made our way to our next hotel. I was very proud of us for only taking three taxis throughout our whole trip, and one of those was getting us to the airport! We were early for check-in, so we stopped for coffee and read a little. (This is one of my favorite books of the year… I couldn’t put it down for four days! As I always suggest: do not read the summary.) Because we traveled around so much, we got really used to lugging all our stuff with us.
We wandered around Athens, finding more politically-charged graffiti.
And, because we were traipsing through an ancient civilization, after all, there were ruins everywhere.
We just happened to stumble upon the old agora! Ain’t no thang.
We wanted to find a nice, quiet spot for dinner that would have good food and wasn’t overrun with tourists. This happened to be B’s actual birthday, so the atmosphere had to be just right! We found a really lovely restaurant that served food on four different levels; it was light, open, and very charming. Our table overlooked a happy wedding party!
Our view was beautiful as the sun set.
We celebrated B’s day with a wonderful last night in Athens, with good wine, grilled cheese + vegetables, and delicious fish.
We spent most of the next day at the airport and on a plane going to Brussels. We’d stopped in Brussels for a six hour layover at the start of our trip, but decided to extend our time in Belgium to 12 hours on the way home so we could experience a little of the city. I’d been to Brussels back in 2008 on a weekend trip while studying abroad in Paris, and was excited to go back!
There was a live drawing contest going on in one of the main squares downtown, which was fun to watch. The task: draw a garbage can (aka une poubelle). Belgium is home to comics like Tintin, Astérix and The Smurfs; I went to a fun comic book museum on my last visit.
Because Belgium is known for its beer, it was quite fortuitous that we happened to stumble upon Café Leffe, home to Leffe beer (which is sold all over here in the States).
I abstained, but B enjoyed a big ole glass. We split a giant seafood salad loaded with smoked salmon, scallops, shrimp + vegetables.
Belgium is an interesting place because locals speak either Flemish or French, and there’s not much overlap. I speak French, but I’ve gotten rusty! I guess I’ll just have to do more francophone travel in the near future .
We bid our European vacation farewell and prepared ourselves for the hustle and bustle of city life.
We loved our time in Greece. I’m not sure if I’d want to go back, because there are so many places I want to see in my life. Turkey, Israel, Romania, Japan, parts of Italy I haven’t been to…. Not to mention all of the places in the US I am dying to see! New Orleans, Seattle, Portland (OR), Asheville… the list is endless. I feel lucky to have already done so much travel.
Where have you been that you loved? Where would you like to go?