The most complicated trip: Spain and Greece

Guys. This should have just been a trip about Greece.

map 1 framed

Look at that map. Isn’t it quaint?

me framed
“Yeah! Simple.”

We live in Spain.

Smiling Spain framed
“Double yeah!”

We don’t need to take any extra vacation days to explore what is explorable in many short weekend trips.

Weekend trips in Spain framed
So many options!

But flight options into Athens from Spain meant either arriving at 1:00 AM from Madrid:

0130 arrival

Or departing from Barcelona and arriving in Athens around noon. To avoid getting into Athens at 1:30am with a deliriously tired baby,  we chose Barcelona, but since we wanted to avoid layovers (one flight followed immediately by another with a baby is also no bueno), we gave ourselves two days to explore Barcelona before heading on to Athens.

“We are laughing in Barcelona”

And we wanted to meet our friend David in Madrid on the way back and use the opportunity to do adulty stuff with him, like visiting the Prado museum and checking out hipstery cocktail bars and undertaking Virtual Reality adventures (one parent at a time on the latter two), so we gave ourselves a few nights there as well.

David in Madrid framed
So many neon lights in this Madrid coctelería, Salmon Guru

We were sloppily adding days and flights on to our Greece trip like drunken travel agents.

And it got worse.

Looking at our itinerary in Greece, we realized we really wanted to visit Crete, not just mainland Greece. But we had so little time…could we really rely on the ferries? So we added on another two flights. And we really wanted to see the oracle at Delphi, not just Athens. So we added on an overnight bus tour.

The trip grew and it grew and it grew, first outwardly, then inwards until it became a great big lumpy snake consuming itself:

map framed
Beyond what Google could do.

“Maybe we’ll make it to the beach?” we shrugged as we packed our swimsuits hopefully.


But that was probably ok.

We live next to one. Lots of people use our beach as their vacation beach, so we can just pretend we’ve never been before and probably get the same feeling.

Also not our beach.

If this whole trip sounds chaotic then good, cuz it was.

I mean, it was magical and a dream-come-truey trip to Greece and we’ve never been closer as a family, blah blah blah.  But we did 5 flights on this 13 day trip.

Count them.


With a child under 2.

Lord have mercy on us all.

We also ended the trip with a 4 hour train ride. We also rented a car at one point, and took public transportation, and hired private drivers at different ports.

The snake was starting to digest itself by the end.

map framed

Planning a trip is hard. Especially when there’s more people involved than just you.

Because the initial framework was so poorly executed, the flights and the documentation and the other transportation started to get out of control before we left.

I bought a binder. This little half-inch number:

binder framed
“All is organized. All is well.” – the binder

I planned to fill it with all the documentation of our trip. Every piece of car insurance, plane ticket, excursion voucher, etc.

But fate had other plans. Cody printed everything either one sided or double sided without prejudice. Tickets were printed on top of each other. Madness.

Then he hole-punched everything injudiciously. What should have been facing right was facing left or facing right upside down. Anarchy.

So now the binder became not only the physical manifestation of my confusion, but was adding to it:

“Blargh, I vomit paper on you” – the binder

Two nights in Barca (nicknames because we know each other now), seven (?) in Greece (it still confuses me), and I think three in Madrid. With only these items of luggage:

all the luggage framed
Plus one stroller.

How did we do it?

Acropolis framed

With lots of single serving boxes of milk, lots of repeated items of clothes, and a whole lot of singing to the kid….who now loves cuddling because of all the time spent curled up on our laps on the plane, in the taxis, and at restaurants. So, that’s not so bad. He also seems to really appreciate his own bed again and has been sleeping in like 12 hour stretches at night since we’ve been back.

Can’t complain about that.

Smiley James framed

So, I’ll be shoving out different posts about whatever strikes my fancy about the places we visited on this most recent vacation to Spain and Greece in the coming weeks, and I’ll update with links as I go in this post. but I just want you all to know and remember that despite all the pretty words and existential reflections and smartphone filters to follow that this was a BEAST of a trip.

But we did it.

and we survived.

And I will never plan such a crazy, convoluted, backtracking vacay again.

May you be just as inspired by our madness.

Posts about this trip:

  1. Time traveling at the Acropolis
  2. Delphi and its Oracle
  3. A short jaunt to Crete

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