WHO: Barbara Roche, 48, and Jessica Roche, 24, her daughter, both of Gardner
WHEN: Nine days in April
WHY: ``For as long as I can remember I've wanted to go to Greece," said Barbara Roche. The time was right, as Jessica was teaching English in France .
WHERE : They visited Athens and the islands of Mykonos and Santorini . ``I'd heard of them and they looked like they had different features to them," Roche said. ``And for some islands there was no ferry until after Easter, when the tourist season starts."
THEY'RE THERE: In Athens they stayed at a hotel a couple of blocks from the heart of the Plaka, the main tourist area. ``We had a little balcony, and the first time we went out there and looked up, there was the Parthenon. We started to cry, we're here, we're here! " They spent their time exploring the Plaka and visiting the Acropolis, the Parthenon, and the ancient agora.
FERRY GODMOTHER: Roche had booked their rooms, but had not bought ferry tickets. ``We went to a travel agent in Athens and she said ferries don't even run to Mykonos this time of year. We decided to not listen to her." Indeed, from the Athens port of Piraeus they easily got to Mykonos. ``It was a 10-hour ride, and the ferries are huge. It was really fun."
MYKONOS MAGIC: ``It was gorgeous, different from any place I'd been, with all the whitewashed houses." Both islands were sprouting wildflowers, she said. ``They were amazing, especially the bright red poppies between the stones of ruins." They visited several beaches as well as the island of Delos, filled with ancient ruins. "
SNOW FOOLING: ``Santorini had a different feel," she said. ``From the ferry what you see in the distance across the top of the island is all white. It can't be snow, I thought. It's that there are sheer cliffs really far up and all these whitewashed houses are at the top. Buildings are all set into the side of the cliffs and there are all these paths and steps." Their room, in Thira, looked over the sea and they could see stunning sunsets from the balcony, she said. But their favorite sight was the black-sand beach of Perissa.
YUM AND YUCK: ``The food was delicious, the meat so juicy. We were crazed by the salads. They would be mountains of tomatoes, all really good ones, and the feta cheese was amazing," Roche said. What they were not fond of was halva, a dessert they were twice given free after a meal . ``It tasted like gummy Wheatena ," she said.
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