In this blog, I’ll share a couple lessons and things that surprised me about Greece and Croatia.
1. Traveling right now requires extraordinary flexibility and patience. Guidelines are changing daily. I recommend keeping a loose eye on the changing requirements. About 10 days before your trip is a good time to really start paying attention to the testing and entry requirements for the country you are visiting and the cruise line you are sailing on if you are cruising. I do not recommend booking travel at this time if you are not vaccinated. The requirements are changing too quickly.
2. Be prepared to test and test and test again even if you are vaccinated. For our Greece trip, we took a test before we left for peace of mind. We took a test before we boarded cruise ship. We took a test at the end of the first week. We took a second test at the end of the second week both to re-enter Greece and so that we could fly back to the USA.
Now, the good surprises. Athens, Greece – One of the “must see” sites in Athens in the Parthenon. Did you know the reason enough of the structure remained to reconstruct is because it was used as a church and the a mosque and then a munitions depot? If you do visit, I recommend entering from the South entrance so you can view the two theaters. We visited just before sunset to capture that gorgeous glow on the buildings.
Dubrovnik, Croatia – What struck me most about Dubrovnik was how recent the war was. The old city of Dubrovnik was occupied in the late 1990s. War wasn’t just something our guides had read about in a book. They lived it. We toured the vineyard in southern Croatia. One vineyard owner’s daughter shared with us the extraordinary lengths her father went to find any remaining grape plants after the fields had all been burned. It’s a beautiful area- definitely a must see.
Rhodes, Greece – Rhodes surprised me since I didn’t know what to expect. We had a gorgeous beach day there in the shadow of some hills. We also explored the walled Medieval city that sits right at the port. Of all the ports, Rhodes reminded me most of Athens on a smaller scale. In both cities, history sits right next to modern life.
Mykonos, Greece – We skipped the infamous beach clubs at this stop. We took a ferry over to Delos. Delos is one of the best sets of ruins I’ve seen. This ancient city was burned to the ground and then left mostly alone. You can walk the streets where vendors, homes and temples were constructed and get a great sense of life when Delos was one of the largest trading ports in the world in 166 BC.