I was 8 years old when I watched Mamma Mia for the very first time. I watched in awe as the songs of ABBA came to life, and since that day in 2008, I have been singing every song and patiently waiting for the day when I could go to Greece and pretend I was in a musical.
When my family decided to go to Greece after my high school graduation, I lit up with joy. Was my dream finally coming true? Little did I know that Greece is much more than the musical, and I discovered a beautiful way of life that I will keep with me forever.
Our trip commenced with a 24-hour stay in Athens. Though not on everyone’s “hit list,” the bustling city has so much to offer. Don’t miss out on the Parthenon. Don’t worry if history isn’t your thing because climbing up to the Parthenon will amaze you and offer a perfect Instagram story. When you’re in Athens, make sure to walk down all the small side streets with vendors and cute shops where you can buy all the Greek delicacies (the dried fruit was my favorite).
My next stop was Mykonos. This island exceeded all my expectations and had something for every type of vacationer. On one hand, there is a lively, upbeat culture that you’ll find at beach clubs. On the flip side, you can relax on the beach and take in the beautiful island on a boat ride. If you do anything in Greece, you must go for a boat ride. The water is an absolute dream, and the islands really do take your breath away.
Lastly, I finished my trip in the picture-perfect town of Oia, Santorini. I truly felt like I had reached paradise upon arrival to the mountainside village. The people welcome you with love and affection, making you feel at home. I spent my days exploring the windy cobblestone streets and stopping in many of the small shops. Taking a sunset tour is a rite of passage, because the Santorini sunsets are something you can’t find anywhere else.
Unfortunately, nobody broke into song and began dancing like they show in Mamma Mia, but the movie does shed light on a beautiful country and culture. On the other side of the world, I saw people who took time for themselves and appreciate all life has to offer.
From witnessing their culture, I have learned it’s okay to take five minutes to just breathe. I saw the importance of sitting down with a large group of people to enjoy meal because that is how food is supposed to be eaten. I found a new appreciation for Mother Nature as I witnessed some of the most beautiful views of my life. So, for anyone looking to buy a ticket to Greece, I recommend that you take time to explore, swim in the crystal blue water, talk to the locals, eat all the baklava and immerse yourself in the Greek culture (and maybe have a Mamma Mia dance party for old times’ sake).