Summer Planning in Progress: 2 Weeks in Greece & Italy

About three days ago, the parents announced that the Sun family would be taking a trip to Greece and Italy this summer (loud cheering), and that I would be responsible for most of the planning. My sister, Joyce, and I created a Pinterest board within minutes and began grabbing pins from all over the web in a frenzy. But that was the easy part.

Joyce is an ENFP and it is in her nature to be enthusiastic, yet easily distracted, so after an hour or so and a total input of 10 words on the group document, she wandered off. No hard feelings though. She tries.

After scrolling through hundreds of blog posts on the web, taking meticulous notes of locations both touristy and off the beaten track, I emerged with a long itinerary unrealistic for only two weeks of travel.

According to Investopedia, opportunity cost is the cost of an alternative that must be forgone in order to pursue a certain action. Put another way, it is the benefits you could have received by taking an alternative action.

I knew that I would have to give up certain islands in Greece, and certain cities in Italy for others, and I knew that it would be a painful choice (still upset over Naples). Also, I would have to sacrifice the amazing 10-day cruise that a long search had yielded for more freedom and personal choice.

I discussed car rentals and train rides in Greece and Italy, respectively, with my mom. She booked our (amazingly cheap) flights, and I planned the route we would take through the country to maximize our time.

It’s not finalized yet, but the pieces are rapidly coming together! I’m more than happy to share our tentative travel plans online, for anyone’s travel inspiration. Here it is, in a very brief summary:

  1. Athens (3 DAYS) (ARRIVAL 6/15/16)
  2. Travel by RENTAL CAR from Athens (2 DAYS) – explore surrounding country, freestyle
  3. Crete (2 DAYS)
  4. Santorini Island (1 DAY)
  5. Return to Athens (Greece) and catch flight to Milan (Italy)
  6. Milan (6/23/16) (1 DAY)
  7. Verona (0.5 DAYS)
  8. Venice (1.5 DAYS)
  9. Bologna (1 DAY)
  10. Florence (1 DAY)
  11. Rome (2 DAYS) (DEPARTURE 6/30/16)

So after staying in Athens for a few days, we will rent a car and explore the area outside it at our own leisure for a few more days. Then we will begin the island portion of our tour (I had to painfully narrow it down to two): Crete and Santorini, which are fairly close together but very distinctive. After returning to where we started, Athens, we will fly to Milan and travel through Italy from north to south via train. Finishing in Rome, we will spend a few days there before returning to Beijing.

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Personally, I am so excited about this, because this trip came up right before I finished reading The Odyssey. Although Ithaca is not on our itinerary, it will be so exciting visiting the mythical sites of the Greeks and Romans. Right now, I am taking a MOOC from the University of Pennsylvania called Greek and Roman Mythology and it’s great.

Soon we’ll be booking housing accommodation and boat/train tickets. Also we’re learning really basic Greek and Italian so we won’t be completely lost once our trip happens for real. Hopefully all goes as smooth as it is now! We would sure appreciate any tips from experienced travelers! (this is our first trip to Europe, woohoo! Pumped.)

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