Today I'm so excited to have my son, Scott Layton, share about a trip he took to Greece.

Studying abroad in Spain last fall, my friends and I were given a week long vacation to travel across Europe. We were more dedicated to traveling than studying, so we turned our 7-day vacation into an 11-day vacation by starting our break from school a little early. On our trip, we hit three different locations- Athens and Mykonos, Greece, and Rome, Italy. Rome was amazing. We visited many different historical landmarks and literally felt like we were walking through history. Although Rome was my favorite city we traveled to, the most intriguing part of the trip was the vast contrast between the congested city of Athens and the island life of Mykonos.

I was incredibly excited to visit Athens, but as soon as we stepped off the plane, I was ready to leave. To begin with, we could not read any of the signs in Athens thanks to the Greek alphabet but we were lucky to have been correctly labeled as American tourists and were helped by a local who could speak English. Really, being unable to read the signs was not that big of a deal. What I could not handle was the fact that EVERYONE smoked in Athens. Being allergic to smoke (thanks Mom), I had a constant headache for the two days that we were there. Not only was it smokey, but the city was polluted with trash, probably thanks to the declining economy. It was also sketchy (and supposedly dangerous) in the part of Athens where our hostel was located, especially after dark. We passed many labeled drug exchange spots and all the police were in vests and masks as they walked the streets. Although I have typed negatively of Athens, I loved walking up Acropolis Hill and touring the Parthenon. We also watched the sunset on a rocky overlook of downtown Athens where the apostle Paul preached many sermons.
Two days in Athens were plenty enough for me, and I could not wait to board the propeller plane for the tiny island of Mykonos. Everything that was wrong with Athens was right in Mykonos. The island was incredibly clean and beautiful and every building featured the iconic white walled, blue roofed theme. Mykonos is a party island in the summer, but we visited in late Fall and it was practically a ghost town. We took full advantage of this. Being one of the few tourist groups there, it seemed like the island was our playground. Every beach we visited was our private beach. Every restaurant we went to was our restaurant. One day we rented 4-wheelers, and we took over the streets. We winded down the skinny and curvy roads, with buildings closing in on both sides and then made it out of the town to the open farmland that covered most of the island. We reached the very top of the island (with no clue how to get back to our house) just in time to witness the sunset that covered the whole sky and touched down to the endless ocean below us. We stayed on the island for four days, and no one wanted to get back on the plane to head to Rome.
Notes on Greece:
-The people were the nicest and most helpful of any country that we visited.
-I probably ate 13 gyros during our time in Greece. They were the cheapest food around and tasted better than anything else Europe had to offer.