My Day in Mykonos, Greece (And How I Didn't Die in a Riot). - My Family Travels

My two best friends and I decided to go on a month-long tour of Europe, ending with a cruise through the Greek Islands.  My father was apprehensive about sending me on the trip, but more importantly, about sending me to Greece.  With all of the turmoil in Greece and their recent financial struggles, he was afraid it would be an unsafe place to visit, and honestly, after hearing his opinion on it, I was too. 

Despite our apprehensions, I was able to go on the trip, and traveled down Europe in the following order:

  1. London, England (Over-crowded and smelly.)
  2. Paris, France (Beautiful, but still smelly.)
  3. Beaune, France (Adorable little town…I would recommend making a stop there!)
  4. Engelberg, Switzerland (Most beautiful place I have ever been.)
  5. Lucerne, Switzerland
  6. Florence, Italy
  7. Rome, Itlay (The best gelato ever created.)
  8. Sorrento, Italy

…and finally, we board the night ferry to Greece.  (Worst experience of my entire life…seriously.)  As we had traveled through all of the cities listed above, I had a small voice in the back of my head wondering if Greece was going to be a safe place for us to be…I was almost afraid to go there.  Then, uneventfully, we arrived in Athens.  No bombs went off, no riots were being waged, and there weren't homeless people lining the streets.  It looked surprisingly…normal.  We then boarded our cruise ship, the Louis Olympia 

One of the ports of call was Mykonos, Greece.  My friends and I decided to explore some of the back-allies of Mykonos.  After about five minutes of walking away from the main city, we came across a small art store.  There was an older woman inside who was painting a mermaid on a board.  After deciding to go in, we knew we had found a rare gem.  The shop was filled with masterpieces made by this older, frail woman.  We were over-joyed by this discovery, and quickly started up a conversation with the woman.  She didn't speak English very well, but she was able to ask us a few general questions, as well as ask where we came from.  After telling her we came from the United States she seemed very surprised.  I recall her saying, "From America?  You not scared?"  After we told her we felt fairly safe in Greece, she seemed delighted.  She said, "Please!  Go home and tell your friends of Greece.  We need your people back."  We discussed with her how Greece's problems had impacted her business, and it turns out she had once owned a much larger shop in the main part of Mykonos, but she had to sell it because the tourists stopped coming as they once had.  Her life, her art, and her shop were pushed into the shadows of the town, much like many other small business-owners in Greece.  They depended on tourists coming to Greece and supporting their livelihood, but after the media shed such a negative light on Greece, they had to downsize, and sell what they could.  We were devastated that this kind, talented woman was forced to sell her main shop and move to a place where she would get even fewer customers.  Needless to say, we all ended up buying one of her many beautiful paintings. 
Greece turned out to nowhere near what I expected; It wasn't dangerous or riot-filled…Greece is just a normal place experiencing economic problems with real people waiting for their customers to come back.

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