5 Days in Greece | Athens & Santorini

My sister and I watched My Big Fat Greek Wedding approximately 742 times when we were growing up, so it might be fair to say that sparked my love of all things Greek. Add in a viewing or two of Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, and Greece was added to my travel bucket list. Mind you, this was in the early 2000’s, long before travel bloggers were a thing–I didn’t need the stunning Grecian views constantly popping up on my instagram feed to sell me on a trip, but believe me it only added to the drive that someday I would get there.

That someday finally, unbelievably, came on mine and my husband’s fifth anniversary European Holiday. I still find it hard to believe that trip even happened. The rainy NY weather has me daydreaming of bright blue skies, volcanic beaches, white-washed villages, and all the sweet, crunchy, gooey baklava I can fit in my face.

There is so much to do and see and experience in Greece; I know this measly blog post will barely scratch the surface. I only hope you’ll keep some of these nuggets in mind when planning your own trip.

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Our European Holiday

Traveling to Europe has been a dream of mine since I was young, but I never dared to believe it would actually happen. Teenage Kimmi would be in awe of 20-something Kimmi who just got home from celebrating her fifth wedding anniversary with the love of her life from the beaches of Santorini to the Cliffs of Moher. To be honest, I still sort of feel like if someone pinches me it will have all been just a dream. 

But it wasn’t a dream, and I’m so excited to write all about it! An international trip is something Dan and I put on our “before we have babies” list pretty early on. A plane ride across the ocean is long and expensive, so we knew we wanted to make the most of it by spending three weeks in Europe. When the timing finally felt right, we finally pulled the trigger and booked a one-way ticket to Athens. And then we did nothing for about six months.

We were hesitant to book anything too far in advance in case covid or other circumstances forced us to cancel the trip. It wasn’t until two or three months before our trip that we started to hunker down and book hotels and the rest of our flights. We planned a three-week European vacation with no travel agent, just google and a notebook. 

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Valentine’s Day Weekend in Niagara Falls

Last week, my boss built a rare three-day weekend into my schedule that just so happened to coincide with Valentine’s Day. When the schedule was posted, I texted Dan and said “Let’s go somewhere!” So we did a little brainstorming and decided to spend a night in Niagara Falls, NY. We stayed on the American side because we don’t have our passports just yet.

We found a beautiful hotel, The Giacomo, that’s located right by the Falls and the casino. We booked the Sweetheart Package, which comes with a bottle of champagne and two champagne flutes that you can bring home, gourmet chocolate truffles, and rose petals displayed throughout the room. We don’t usually do anything major like this for Valentine’s Day, so I was pretty excited. When we checked into the hotel on Friday night and opened the door to our room, I thought I had walked right into a movie scene.

We unpacked our suitcase, had a glass of champagne, and then walked to the Seneca Niagara Casino for our dinner reservations. It was only about a five minute walk from The Giacomo to the casino. We had a fancy dinner, did a little gambling, and then grabbed some Cold Stone ice cream to bring back to the hotel with us. We got back to the hotel around 12:30, and we relaxed and had our ice cream in the Skyview Lounge on the top floor of The Giacomo.

On Saturday morning we had breakfast and then checked out of the hotel to go exploring. The American side of the Falls is a lot less touristy than the Canadian side. There is definitely an emphasis on appreciating the Falls as a natural wonder of the world without all of the flashy lights and tourists attractions. There are still a few things you can do at the Falls, like Cave of the Winds or Maid of the Mist, but not during the off-season.

We walked around Goat Island and Three Sisters Island to get different views of the Falls and the rapids. It was freezing, I think it was about 25 degrees outside, but it was so worth it. The Falls in all of their natural wintertime beauty were breathtaking. It was Dan’s first time seeing Niagara Falls, so it was fun to watch him see it all up close for the first time.

After we were done marveling at the Falls, we took a quick drive to Historic Lewiston. We walked through a few antique shops, and then stopped at the Orange Cat Coffee Co to warm our bones with some tea before heading back home.

It was a fun, spontaneous little getaway for us. It was short and nothing too extravagant, but it was so refreshing to take some time away from everyday life.

Our Virginia Beach Getaway

The snow storm today has me longing for warmer weather, so I figured I’d write about our vacation to Virginia Beach a few months ago to distract myself from the cold reality outside my window. Seriously, it is way too early for all this snow! We still have another five months of this until Rochester winter is over!

Anyways. Dan and I took a much-needed vacation at the end of August and drove down to Virginia Beach. It was perfect timing, because Dan had just got his new Jeep Gladiator a few weeks before and was itching to break it in. The 10-hour drive to show it off at Virginia Beach seemed to do the trick. He had a little too much fun “bumpin” with the roof off 🙂

We stayed four nights at a beach-front Holiday Inn for “free” using Dan’s travel points from work (probably the only perk of him having to travel so much). In only four nights, we were able to have a vacation that was equal parts fun and relaxing, and it was just what we needed.

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