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10 minute read

Meet Odysseys Travelers Colleen and George Coleman

November 14, 2022

George and Colleen in Nafplion

George and I love to travel together. Now that the kids are older, we have time to explore the world. When I was in school for interior design, I studied all the architecture and furnishings from Egypt to contemporary styles. It put a craving in me to see these things and discover them for myself. Once my husband went on his first overseas tour with me, he caught the fever as well! Even on the plane ride home, he asked me, “Where to next?”

Breakfast in Santorini

Our choice to book our trip with Odysseys came from family who highly recommended the tours and had been on numerous trips overseas. Their approval gave us the confidence to book our trip without using a local travel agency for the first time. Our trip to Greece was exactly what we were looking for in destinations and length. We were extremely delighted with our choice! We didn’t have to worry about anything. We simply showed up at breakfast and the rest was taken care of! Now THAT’s vacation!

The Erechtheion on Acropolis Hill, also known as the Temple of Athena

Upon our arrival to our hotel in Athens, we immediately met with our tour guide, Zanna Mouzaki. She made sure we had our room arrangements taken care of and offered places to explore on our free time before the official tour began. George and I love investigating the cities we visit and immediately set course on Zanna’s advice to explore Plaka and find the Acropolis. As we shopped the boutique’s and strolled along the ancient streets, there it was…The Acropolis just stood before us…WE WERE IN GREECE! Pinch me!

Santorini morning view

From there, we experienced so many memorable moments that it’s hard to speak of just a few. Our trip was full of gorgeous, breath-taking views; the ruins we visited were a dream come true for me and then some; the food was divine and the honey, sun-dried tomatoes, and olive oil are unmatchable in the states. We would go back to Greece just to get more! The restaurant views and food were outstanding; and our small group, which turned out to be only 10, made the experience very personal. Last but not least, our tour guide, Zanna, was outstanding. She made the trip a true vacation!

Group with Tour Director Zanna (pictured 2nd from right)

Zanna was marvelous! A textbook of knowledge and then some! We very much enjoyed listening to her stories of the ancient gods and goddess, how they related to the antiquities we saw and her point-on details of each site we visited. Zanna’s personality was quite charismatic; loving, thoughtful and generous with her time. She was our morning smile at breakfast, our timekeeper and shepherd of wondering group members, but most of all, she became like a good friend we didn’t want to say goodbye to at the end of the trip!

George and Colleen at the Piato Restaurant

The dieting pup!

While in Greece, we interacted with many of the wonderful local people. On one particular trip to Hydra, after walking around and discovering the island with only donkeys for transportation, we found a waterfront eatery, Piato (meaning Plate). The owner had the cutest little dog who loved chasing after the birds in the open dining area. I went inside to ask if we could order just a beer and the owner was so delightful. We joked about the “do not feed the dog, he’s on a diet” sign pinned to his collar. He offered any table and invited us to enjoy whatever suited us.

Baltas chef

Likewise, in Heraklion, we had just arrived and wanted to explore this new city. We stopped at a local taverna, Baltas, in Lions Square for a beer with an outdoor seating area in full view of the Morosini Fountain. When I went inside to explore the architecture, I joyously asked the cook if I could take his picture…he was delighted, raised a welcoming hand and even offered to showcase his Tzatziki! Greece was like that everywhere.

Taking it all in!

If you can’t tell by now, we had a trip of a lifetime! Traveling in a small group with OU had so many benefits that other agencies didn’t offer or we could never achieve on our own. Being in small group of 10, we were fortunate enough to have the opportunity to know everyone, I mean really get to know them. It made it easier to get around museums and sites, and dining was more intimate and felt like we were with friends. And of course, we had the opportunity to be spoiled by Zanna!

Actual Caryatids from the Erechtheion at the Acropolis Museum

Lunch in Delphi

One of the biggest perks of traveling with OU was no lines! We visited countless sites where Zanna knew when to arrive to beat the crowds or set an appointment so we walked in ahead of the crowds. Zanna maximized our time at each location, leaving us valuable moments to discover each town on our own. Personally, for me, as we traveled about Greece, Zanna made sure each and every dining experience catered to my food allergies. Everything was taken care of…everything!

Which leads us back to that questions my husband asked as we were departing Greece…” Where to next?” On our itinerary to date, we are looking forward to seeing France, England, Switzerland, Germany, Egypt, Israel and Hawaii. Now the tough question…Which one of those places on our list will we travel next?

Click here for the Coleman's travel tips and click here for more stunning travel photos and some design inspiration!

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