From Guest Writer, John Andrews, Shopper Marketer | 2X Founder/Co-founder & Advisor
The summer family vacation is back! After a summer disrupted by COVID, many people are looking to get away to Disney World, Wally World, or wherever they can go, feel safe and relax. In late May, we were thinking about our summer trip and considering several destinations when suddenly, countries in the EU began to reopen for Americans to visit provided they had been vaccinated and could supply a recent COVID test. We jumped at the opportunity as prices for transportation and lodging were very low as demand hadn’t materialized in those early days. We booked roundtrip air to Athens and began to fill in our itinerary for our time there. I was really looking forward to getting away with the Mary’s and a different POV from Raleigh.
One of the things I really wanted to do was simply disconnect and relax. My goal was to completely break from work and responsibility, read and listen to a couple of books, learn more about Greece and its history, eat some great food and spend some quality time with my family. I knew my Lucyd sunglasses would come in handy for all of the above and provide some connected experiences along the way. From the moment we ordered the Uber to the airport, I started using the built-in Bluetooth speakers to enhance my travel. I had downloaded “The (Mis)Behavior of Markets” from Audible and figured I’d preview it on the way to the airport to see if I wanted to commit to it for the flights. I was instantly hooked, the book is fantastic and reinforces my view that markets are far from rational and predictable. I looked forward to settling in with the book and knew the battery life would be plenty for the trip. I was also looking forward to still being able to have conversations with my wife and daughter instead of being isolated by headphones.
As fate would have it, a stationary storm at JFK delayed our outbound connection to Amsterdam and was eventually canceled (welcome back to Air Travel). I spent the delay alternating back and forth between my book, music, and some new updates. We grabbed a nearby hotel room and rebooked our flights for the next day. Everything went smoothly and before you knew it we were in Amsterdam and then in Athens. Most aircraft do not have Bluetooth connections but there are easy adaptors that will turn your inflight system into a Bluetooth connection.
Once in Athens, having a night before our flight to Corfu, we decided to just stay at our hotel and get some sleep along with a light meal. We were directly across from the Temple of Zeus and the rooftop restaurant had a great view of the Parthenon. I spent some time alone at the restaurant while the Mary’s slept, and took advantage of the time difference from the US to trade some options while continuing my book. Shannon joined me for a sunset dinner, and Mary Catherine opted for room service. Our bags finally showed up that evening so we were all set for our morning trip to the northern island of Corfu.
Again, the airport transfers and downtime were entertainment opportunities thanks to Lucyd. I took in a couple of travel blogger videos for inspiration of what to do and see. Corfu was beyond compare and quite lush and green for Greece thanks to its location on the Adratic off the coast of Albania and Greece. Our taxi driver told me there were 3 million olive trees on the island which I find easy to believe. The food was wonderful and some of the old sections reflect the influence of the Venetians who controlled Corfu for centuries. We mainly stayed within walking distance of our AirBnb in Paleokastrista on Corfu’s West Coast. We booked a sailing charter one day and also a small runabout for touring the endlessly changing coastline. My Lucyd Lytes made it easy to stay in touch with family and friends who called to check in on our travels.
From Corfu we traveled down to the Island of Santorini in Southern Greece, a sharp, dry contrast to our first stop. Santorini is built along a volcano caldera and is absolutely stunning in its rugged beauty. One of the things I was really looking forward to experiencing was the hike along the Caldera rim from Oia where we were staying to the town of Thira, about 5 miles away. The hike was beautiful and challenging, with over 1300 feet of vertical along the way. The scenery was breathtaking and truly a memorable experience. Sunglasses were a must as was sunscreen and a good hat. We started early to avoid the heat and finished up with a fabulous breakfast at Galini Cafe.
The next day we treated ourselves to a lazy day at the Seaside beach club on the black sand beach. In both cases, a little light music via the integrated Lucyd was perfect to set the mood.
The final leg of our trip was for 3 days in Athens. We took the World Champion Jet Ferry which had no wifi or entertainment so I continued my book for the 4 hour passage. It’s always nice to have your entertainment handy for times like this.
We hadn’t seen any of the city on our pass through to Corfu so we looked forward to seeing more. The Hotel Grande Bretagne had a nice surprise, a cigar lounge right out of a classic movie. Alexander’s Cigar Lounge wasn’t the Mary’s cup-of-tea but it was a great place to grab a daily cigar and trade at 4:30am when the market opened in the US. I thoroughly enjoyed the experience and channeled my inner Michael Burry with some great focus music.
The trip home was absolutely without interruption and being a daylong affair, it was a great time to catch up on some podcasts I follow, in addition to just relaxing. Many thanks to my Lucyd glasses for making the trip so enjoyable.