Last week, from March 3rd-11th, the students at IAU had March break to travel, explore, and taste the world! One of our social media bloggers, Jordan, travelled to Greece for the week and documented her experience tasting the wines of the Mediterranean – just in time for our wine tasting at IAU this coming Friday! Check out her travel journey below:
I spent March break exploring the sites, smells and tastes (of wine!) of Greece. As a college student on a budget, I was definitely interested in finding the best Greek wine that didn’t break the bank. So, my first night, after settling into my airbnb on the outskirts of Athens, I headed over to a grocery store where I picked up a small bottle of Amotino white wine, which was super affordable at only 1.60 euros. It was dry and not super flavourful, but paired nicely with a homemade omelet and salad for dinner. Overall it wasn’t a bad option for the price, though I wouldn’t drink it by itself.
The next day I headed up to Kalabaka, a small town in Trikala, northern Greece. There, I spent two days hiking Meteora, enormous natural cliffs with six ancient monasteries nestled into their rocky peaks. Despite the rain on my second day there, the views were incredible. We decided to bring personal-sized bottles of white wine with us on our hike which, while convenient, weren’t the best. Dry, and with not much flavor, they were a bargain at 1.20 euros each, but not quite worth it. The views, however, were breathtaking, and I definitely recommend a trip to Kalabaka/Meteora on your agenda when travelling to Greece! To find out more about the area, check out this site: https://www.visitmeteora.travel/
After two days spent in Kalabaka and an unfortunate cancelling of our train back to Athens due to a worker’s strike, we headed back to the city on Monday night and woke up bright and early for a full day of sight-seeing on the 6th. Luckily for us, March 6th just happens to be a national Greek holiday of-sorts (in memory of Melina Mercouri) and so all of the main sites of the city were free to enter – including the Parthenon and Acropolis! Word to the wise, do your research ahead of time, because a free admission day might just be happening during your stay. The following days are free entrance days, according to the Acropolis website:
- March 6th
- April 18th
- May 18th
- The last weekend of September
- October 28th
- Every first Sunday from November 1st to March 31st
So, with our luck, we packed the day full of sight-seeing, and hit most of our major destinations: The Acropolis, the Parthenon (both of which give you an amazing view of the city of Athens as well), The Temple of Zeus (pictured here), The first modern-day Olympic Stadium, Hadrian’s Arch, the Acropolis Museum, Zappeion Exhibition Hall, and a couple of the main parks in the area.
After getting our fill of Athens, we headed to Aegina island, the closest island to the Greek mainland, and only an hour-long ferry ride away from Piraeus port. There we spent a few days travelling around the island by motor bike, exploring small towns, attempting to swim in some pretty cold water (March is still very much Greece’s “winter” season) and rode horses. There were some pretty amazing sunsets each night, which paired perfectly with my favorite wine of the week, which I found in a small local grocery store at Pireaus port before boarding our ferry. Light, bubbly, and fruity, it was the perfect prosecco imported from Moldova for a spring night. And, at only five euros, it was also the perfect wine for college students on a budget!
Overall, Greece was amazing place to explore for a week, and I highly recommend experiencing not only Athens, but Northern Greece (Kalabaka for sure, and Delphi if you have time) as well as the islands off the coast of Peloponnese.