First thing I do when I walk through my door, ditch the bags on the floor and head straight for my hairbrush (I travel light and havent brushed my hair in 3 weeks!) Then turn my heat up because brrrr!! Its a lot colder here than 8898 kilometers away (5585 miles).
So everyone now asks me: "What was the best part about your trip?"
And I have to say- the food. The Mediterranean food is phenomenal. Nothing is processed, nothing has added chemicals and preservatives (well some of the packaged foods do but they are not pushed as a part of a normal diet as in the way of the United States), no added hormones in the milk, yogurt and cheeses, the grocery stores dont have to label anything "organic" because most of it IS organic! They produce their own wines, traditional greek ouzo, bread, various vegetables and yummy fresh fruit, honey, and of course the olives! Olives fresh, olive tapenade(a topping for bread), olives on pizza, olives with wine, olives to accompany everything and anything and especially the much anticipated olive oil, as fresh as you can get it.
There is a special way of life here- a way of life I could definatly get used to!! Instead the presence of the place most on my mind continues to be Alaska. Where we ship all our produce and goods in, makes me question myself to why I DO love it so much here. (Especially while visiting a pretty much self sufficient country.)
Greeks dont know entirely what Diabetes is. Not so strange if you think about it, they eat enough non processed foods(see above paragraphs) so explaining this auto immune disease to them was a little bit like just rambling on about green eggs and ham. They nod their heads and say they understand.....but I just dont think they see the same types of health related problems there. Which made me a bit worried about my bloodsugars (especially the first week I was there, terrible jetlag) adjusting to the time change (example when it was day time in Greece, it was night time in Alaska) so getting onto an eating, exercise pattern was a bit difficult for me and I could feel it in the rollercoastering sugar levels for sure.
I wore a medic alert but was even more worried that if I was found unconscious, how would a situation like that be handled? Luckily nothing serious happened. Its a risk I choose to take to be able to travel. I am a prepared traveler. And I would not have it any other way.
The constant sunshine aided my hair into turning 2 shades lighter! Plus I got a fantastic head start on my summer tan. I think I forgot what rain was, it rained ONLY once for about 20 minutes while I was there, and it soaked up so fast into the thirsty ground that it seemed like it never even happened.
Each individual island has its very own pace, beauty, and charm. I only got to visit 5, but once I got going on the proverbial "island hopping" experience I knew I could easily adapt to more of this lifestyle. I saw 5 out of 227 inhabited islands, it just wasnt enough!! Plus the other 1,400 or so uninhabited ones are still out there waiting patiently.....
One thing that really surprised me about this country that thrives near its radiant ocean; is the litter. There is too much litter here. And not enough effort going into stopping the litter from collecting in the cities or on (and IN) the beautiful beaches.
The ferry tickets were by far the most expensive part of my entire trip. Okay not including my international plane ticket. But thanks to couchsurfing.org and the option of cheaper backpacking hostels and decently priced fresh local food, I am so thrilled to report that I spent less than $2,000.00 on my entire trip. Thats right my ENTIRE trip. And that IS including airfare there! You can be a budget conscious traveler too if you want to!
Not only was this was my first time to Europe, but also my first time traveling alone. I met so many wonderful people throughout this trip, made new friends and represented Alaska, oh yeah! I was thinking it was going to be a challenge for me. But it was a challenge I fully embraced and can positively say I WOULD do it over again!
I will never be able to say the quote "its all greek to me" in the same way ever again, because woot woot Ive been there!! Its a completely alternate way of life, to the diet they live on, the crazy driving skills it takes to survive on the roads, the architecture and expressive art that has survived hundreds of years, their proud culture, and the attitudes that are essentially: greek.
To see ALL the photos from this trip go to: http://picasaweb.google.com/sitkakoala/Greece201002#