Florence Diaries: Spring Break

It's been way too long since I last posted, I'm sorry! Midterms and life got in the way for awhile (paired with a general lack of wifi access).... But here I am, back from Spring Break, and oh so renewed! Over the past week I travelled first to Budapest, then down to Athens, and on to Mykonos and Santorini! It was such a wonderful and relaxing trip.
We left class Thursday and headed to our plane, arriving in Budapest late that night. We spent Friday galavanting around the city like crazies, trying to see as many sites as we could: in total we checked off 17, including the baths, the Parliament building, and the chain bridge! Budapest was beautiful and completely unexpected in that I had no expectations for it -- I knew nothing about Budapest. I'm so glad that I was able to experience it and learn more about the city.
Thursday we flew off to Athens and arrived midday, with enough time to hike up to the Acropolis then head to a rooftop bar for sunset with a view. We then went to dinner at this wonderful "fishermans tavern" restaurant and I actually ordered and ate fish for dinner, a big deal for a girl who usually hates seafood, but that sea bass was so yummy! Saturday morning was spent seeing more sites in Athens, from the Temple of Zeus to the Agora and the Temple of Hephaestus. We then hopped on a ferry ride that afternoon and it was off to Mykonos! We spent two days exploring the island, including renting a car and driving around to different beaches. I have to say when we got lost and wound up 4-wheeling it up the edge of a washed out road/ravine I was a little nervous, but we survived. Guess I'm not a bad driver. 
We flew Wednesday morning to Santorini, stopping over in Athens, and got to Oia just in time for sunset. We wandered Oia on our own Thursday, then took a tour on Friday, where we saw the ancient ruins of Akrotiri, the black beach Parissa, Pyrgos the highest spot on the island, and did a wine tasting of local wines. One of the most interesting things we saw was Akrotiri, which is an archeological site dating back almost 4000 years. Akrotiri was the town on Santorini that existed before the volcano (Santorini is a volcanic island) erupted in the second millennium (the largest volcanic eruption in the past 1.5 million years). Because of the way the ash covered the town, most of it was very well preserved underground for thousands of years. Recent excavations revealed a sewage system and one of the earliest ever toilets, as well as many perfectly preserved wall paintings; however, less than 3% of the town has been unearthed due to fiscal and other problems. If we have found so much from just this small amount of excavations, it's crazy to think what we might find upon searching the other 97% of the site. The civilization that existed there was way ahead of its time. I love history and especially those mysteries in history, so I found the site very fascinating. Our last morning in Santorini we hiked down below Oia to Amouda Bay and enjoyed the quiet peace of the water before we had to head off back to Athens, then to Italy.
All in all, a very successful spring break -- we saw a lot but managed to get some much needed R&R.

All photography is mine, for more check emilybyrski.com