As I stood in my closet and pondered on what to pack for our upcoming trip to the Greek Islands, I let excitement take over, as this was our first trip to Europe. Fashion rather than common sense won out; every outfit had to have matching shoes and accessories. The end result? Three large suitcases, a carry-on and a large purse for a 17-day trip.

[quote]As we checked in, the attendant smiled and handed my husband a bill for the excess luggage.[/quote]

Upon arriving at our first destination, Crete, people greeted me in a peculiar yet friendly way as they assumed I was moving to Greece. Taxis in this part of the world are very small, so it took a caravan of taxis to get my luggage and my husband’s to the hotel. It was the month of April so the locals were preparing to celebrate Easter; people here hold festivities for the Christian Easter as well as the Greek Orthodox Easter; they attend mass and roast lamb while dancing and singing in the streets. What a relief I had outfits for all these celebrations.

After our tour of the Palace of Knossos, cradle of the Minoan civilization, we wanted to take home replicas of Cretan and Minoan pottery. Little did we know that certain shops do not ship to the United States and that most shipping places are closed during the holidays. So now we had my husband’s suitcase, my three large bags, carry-on, purse and a box that barely fit through the door of a bus; we know, because we took a bus to get to the airport for our next flight to the Island of Santorini.

As we traveled between islands, we flew the local carrier, Olympic Air, short trips, long delays. Make sure you don’t have a pressing appointment as you might have a delay of three to five hours for a 15-minute flight. Ferries are not readily available before May. As we checked in, the attendant smiled and handed my husband a bill for the excess luggage. For what we paid, we could have stayed an additional week.

The same question followed me from Santorini to Mykonos, to Rhodes and finally to Athens from where we flew home: Oh, are you moving to Greece? My husband would have laughed were it not for the pain he felt through his elbow from carrying my luggage.

I learned a valuable lesson and one I would like to share with anyone traveling for the first time: comfort and fashion should dictate what you pack. Most European airports lack the comforts and conveniences of home. In some, there are no ramps or porters; therefore you must go up or down steep staircases without anyone’s assistance. As most airports undergo renovations and modernization it is still a good idea to pack with common sense. Though I appear on every picture with a different outfit, and cherish our memories of our trip to Greece, my husband will never forget the long and painful recovery from tennis elbow.


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