I Made It To Greece Alive & In One Piece

Last Updated on March 25, 2021


It feels good to breathe the fresh air in Europe following my travels overseas. My journey to Greece took nearly a full 24 hours from start to finish. It wasn’t supposed to take so long but between flight delays and figuring out how to navigate… it did.

My flight itinerary to Greece included a layover in Italy. I was excited to return to my Motherland – even if it was capped at three or four hours. That quick taste of Rome was enough to make me realize one thing: I need to go back. I visited Italy once before as a kid and I think I would have a totally different appreciation for it nowadays.

For the cross-Atlantic flight to Italy, I flew with Norwegian Airlines. They are a newer, small-budget airline. I was a bit apprehensive to fly with them given my lack of history flying with them but between the positive reviews online and the affordable price tag for the ticket to Greece, I decided to give them a chance. Norwegian Airlines offers amazing value for what you pay. (My ticket was cheap and I had so much space since the seats beside me were all empty! The seats were padded and so comfy!)

Naturally, there are certain things we come to expect with budget airlines. Things like: paying extra to check a bag and for food. (Throw back to when I paid to check my backpack but waited forever for it to register. Fear not: it finally processed with time to spare.) Though I did pay for a checked bag, I did not want to pay for airline food so I purchased a small bag of trail mix before my plane left.

Then Magic Happened

This one very sweet flight attendant started walking around with her seating chart taking note of who ordered food and distributing the respective meals to everyone who paid. After reaching the end of the plane, the flight attendant makes her way back up the aisle and taps me on the shoulder before asking, “Sir. Do you like beef?”

“I do,” I answered while nodding.

She secretly reveals a meal box and offers it to me.

“Can I?” I asked, looking at the meal box she’s holding.

“Go ahead, sir.” Just like that, I scored a free meal! Best flight attendant ever!

Salad with Extra Virgin Olive Oil. *Molto bene*

After opening my meal box, I found a mini salad with a baby bottle of olive oil. So cute! I found it so fitting to be served the salad with Extra Virgin Olive Oil on a flight to Italy. My Italian grandfather would have approved.

It was at the Leonardo da Vinci Fiumicino Airport that I passed through the European Union customs area and got my passport stamped. I definitely did something wrong because I went through customs not once, not twice, not three times, but four times. Don’t ask me how. But yeah, I literally used up an entire page of my passport in a country I’m not even staying in.

Everyone told me Italy’s airport is confusing and difficult to navigate. Given the numerous passport stamps I left with, I’d say that statement probably holds some truth to it. I keep replaying it in my head and I can’t seem to wrap my head around how that happened.

From Italy, I flew with Aegean Airlines to Greece. That turned out to be a wonderfully positive experience as well. I have to say that the flight attendants looked absolutely *stunning* in their navy blue and white uniforms so ornately put together. It looked extraordinarily professional and very Greek haha.

On July 9th I landed in Athens. I retrieved my big backpack from the baggage claim area and set off to begin my first backpacking adventure.


    1. The Rocky Safari

      Hahaha right!? I mean, I guess one for entering and one for exiting would make sense… Also, I hoped I’d get a stamp upon entering Greece but that was not the case (which I assume is because it is still within the Schengen Zone) so it balances out, I guess.

  1. Congrats. Enjoy Greece. As to how various countries Customs and Immigration works, we have the opposite experience. We got into Iceland without going through Passport Control. When we went to exit 4 days later, the officer was horrified we had no entry stamp. Go figure. Safe travels.

    1. The Rocky Safari

      Hahaha oh gosh! That’s crazy! You’re lucky it didn’t escalate to anything! When I went to Mexico with my family awhile back. I had to leave a few days early to go back to college. When I was alone in the airport at the gate ready to board my plane they asked for the Visa I received upon my arrival to Mexico. I left it in the hotel room. I had to exit the airport, PURCHASE a new visa, and get personally escorted through the security terminal again so I wouldn’t miss the flight. Went from being one of the first in line to board to the last one on the plane. The Passport Control stuff can be a lot to handle.

    1. The Rocky Safari

      Hahaha awesome, man! Yeah it has been a long time coming. Lots of prep has gone into this trip. It has been such a wild process getting ready and I’m excited that the time has finally come to let it all happen. Can’t wait to write about it all. I appreciate you keeping up with the blog, Galby! 😀

  2. Suze

    How wonderful that you..and your backpack made it! Israel’s customs is just as wackadoodle as italy’s…I have three stamps going into the country and seven coming out. I don’t begin to understand what that was all about!

    1. The Rocky Safari

      Yes, thank goodness! I was so stressed I might have a to go a few days without my backpack. That would have been so unfortunate. Luckily, it wasn’t an issue. And yeah, isn’t it funny how that happens? Seven stamps to leave a country seems quite excessive! Maybe there is something we don’t know behind it all. How strange!

    1. The Rocky Safari

      Thank you, Ortensia!!! Looking forward to keeping the blog updated as the trip progresses. Thanks for following along, I can’t wait to share more stories about Greece and beyond! 😀

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The Rocky Safari