18 JAN 19 | Expect the Unexpected

Ancient Architecture

This past Fall, my wife Melanie and I took off for a 2 week trip around Europe, making stops in Bulgaria to visit my parents and then Greece to cross off a lifelong bucket list item. It took me quite some time to organize my photos, but I’m excited share some really cool architecture that we discovered along the way.

Warning The content contained in this blog may elicit a high emotion of wanderlust.

Positive ‘Tudes and Amazing Views

The trip began with an unexpected travel delay which caused us to spend a night in Geneva, Switzerland. What easily could have become a panic moment (as at first the airline said we’d be stuck there for 3 whole days), we made the decision to maintain our calm and cool vacation attitude and actually ended up enjoying a very nice, complimentary dinner downtown. We even got to see this incredible sunrise over the Alps on our flight out the next morning!

Swiss Alps

Bulgarian Cathedrals, Monuments, and Ruins

Alas! We made it to Bulgaria to visit my parents, who live in Sofia. In Sofia we saw incredible cathedrals and Buzludzha, an abandoned communist monument. Roman ruins can be found everywhere – they even let you walk among some of the ancient ruins at a metro station! My parents took us to Plovdiv, which is another ancient city that has beautiful buildings and cobblestone roads. Our last destination with them was to Veliko Tarnovo, where we visited a 12th-century fortress and medieval ruins.

Veliko Tarnovo
Roman Ruins
Buzludzha Monument

Greece – Athens, Santorini, Oia & Fira

After Bulgaria we headed to Greece. It just so happened that there was a hurricane in the Greek Islands which caused it to rain for our first three days in Athens. Despite the fact, we did as much sightseeing as the weather allowed. Luckily, the hurricane left before we headed to Santorini so we had really nice weather while we were there, along with some incredibly beautiful sunsets!


In Santorini we stayed in the town of Oia, visited the nearby town of Fira, relaxed on a black sand beach and walked through an active archaeological site in Akrotiri.


After Santorini we headed back to Athens for a few days to see what we had missed due to the rain, such as the Acropolis (which includes the Parthenon, the Theatre of Dionysys, and the Temple of Athena Nike – my favorite temple!). On our last day, we visited the Temple of Poseidon at the southern tip of Greece, in Sounio.

Take Me Back

This trip was certainly an adventure in more ways than one, but despite all the travel challenges it was fascinating to experience the culture and history of both countries. Here’s a photo of my wife and I enjoying the Aegean Sea.

Aegean Sea

Thanks for reading!
Ivan Patino | Architectural Designer