It’s not everyday you get to tour an award-winning winery and lounge at a Greek beach within the same five hours. But that was my day.

I learned more than I needed to know about the winemaking process, saw a collection of more than 2,000 corkscrews (some of which were shaped like dogs) and tasted award-winning white and red wine.

A few of the corkscrews from the 2,000 collection on display at the winery museum. Photo by Paxtyn Merten

The tour guide taught us how to taste wine properly, and most interestingly to smell wine properly by sticking our whole noses into the glass. Though it looked silly, it was shocking how different the wine smelled when using this method.

I was especially impressed by how, after swirling it around the cup a few times, the wine had a completely new aroma – I always thought people just did that for show.

The view of Mount Olympus from the deck of the winery’s cafe. Photo by Paxtyn Merten

The views from the winery, especially the view of Mount Olympus, were incredible. The fresh summer air, fields of grapes and abundance of plants provided a much-needed break from the crowded buildings and overwhelming graffiti of city life.

There was even an old John Deere tractor being used as a kind of lawn decoration, which instantly made me think of home. Out in the open land, I felt rejuvenated.

The John Deere tractor on display at the winery. Photo by Paxtyn Merten

This rejuvenation continued when we arrived at the beach. It was hot (like nearly 90 degrees hot), but the slight breeze made it nearly comfortable to sit in beach chairs on the grass by the bar.

Meanwhile, the sun beating down did heat us up enough to get into the chilly waters of the Aegean Sea. Swimming is and always has been my favorite activity, but I’ve never been in a body of water like the Aegean Sea. The salty sea-smell was not potent, but the salinity was so strong that I could easily float in the water without using too much energy. I was essentially sitting up in the water or lying on my stomach as I would on a bed, all while using minimal hand movements and nearly no leg movements. And when was finally dragged from the water, my skin felt smoother.

The Pacific Ocean and lakes around Washington are all right, and swimming in public and private swimming pools is cool and all, but I have never been in waters quite as nice as those off the coast of Greece.

After a weekend of incredible sights, tastes and feelings, I am refreshed and ready to get back into the swing of things. Tourist cap off, reporter’s cap on.