Holidays are precious to me. I don’t even know when my next possible holiday will be. It does feel I fly quite abit for work, but when I’m in another country for work, chances are I don’t get to see or experience that place at all.
This is actually my third trip with Trafalgar. Guided holidays are great especially when it’s my first time in a foreign land. I like it that I don’t have to worry about planning the route on my own, worry about accommodation, and worry about how I should get from one place to another. I guess those of you who follow me on social media will remember that my phone got pick-pocketed. It was my travel director (Dina, also a local there) who brought me to the police station to make a report. Times like this, it really helps to have someone who knows the language and knows exactly where to bring you to.
This is the first time that I have ever lost my phone. I can’t say my mood picked up immediately, but I did manage to get over it soon enough to enjoy the holiday. That said, just be careful with your belongings, the pickpockets work extremely fast! Anti-theft bags are probably a good idea as well.
I lost count of the number of archaeological sites I visited. To be honest, it was really exciting in the beginning. I try to imagine the grandeur and majesty of the past while looking at what now stands. A few thousand stones and rocks later, they all start to look the same. It’s hard to imagine a 12m high statue embellished with jewels and covered in gold when all I see is flat ground.
Dina would always have a picture book in hand. The book would show the images of what it used to look like in its time, in its full grand scale. She was pretty amazing. She was passionate about what she did, sharing all she knew about Greek history, describing the statues we saw, telling us all about the symbols and what it meant and signified. As much as I would have been able to read up about some things, I would probably not know or find out as much.
The other thing that made me really excited were the Greek theatres. The natural acoustics that allowed a whisper on stage to be heard by the audience seated all the way at the back row was mind blowing. I heard someone sing, and it reverberated through the theatre beautifully. We have technology at our fingertips now, but even our best theatres aren’t equipped and built this way. Just how amazing are these old Greek theatres?! It’ll be quite a dream to perform on a stage such as this.
Local travel directors intuitively know the place better and it does make a difference. I’m not brought to touristy shops and encouraged to buy “local products” just so they can earn a commission. Instead, I get to explore little towns and stay in a local home off the main tracks. This is why it’s called the Secrets of Greece, she shares with you the things only Greeks would know.
Greece is beautifully juxtaposed. Graffiti and beautiful scenery. Once fortified castles and present ruins. Legends and superstitions. Someone who stole my phone and another who made me a Freddo Cappuccino on the house.
Secrets of Greece – Trafalgar
Photos by Pauline Soh