For three weeks I traveled Greece through my school's study abroad program. I saw amazing views that rendered me speechless and ate delightful Greek dishes that had me unbuttoning my pants at the end of the meal.

However, throughout my trip, there were many times that I was genuinely shocked and unprepared by all Greece had to offer, even after watching My Big Fat Greek Wedding. Here are five things that especially stood out to me during my travels:

1.) The greek salad doesn't actually have lettuce. 

cucumber, lettuce, greek salad, pepper, cheese, salad, tomato, vegetable
Net Supatravanij

Yes you read correctly. There is no lettuce in an authentic greek salad. There is however, an abundance of tomatoes, olives, and cucumbers, slathered in olive oil and mixed up with a few slices of onion. Feta always makes an appearance in the dish, whether it's a big chunk on the side or ground up and sprinkled on top.

2.) Greek's love potatoes

Ashley Andrews

Now don't get me wrong, ya girl loves potatoes (mmm carbs) just as much as the next person, but when you think of Greek food, potatoes aren't usually included that often. But boy do the Greeks like their potatoes: fried, roasted, sautéed in olive oil and spices, even mashed. I know I'm beginning to sound like Bubba from Forrest Gump, but it amazed me at how prominent the potato's role was in Greek dishes.

3.) Post-meal shots are customary and almost always complimentary.

water, wine, alcohol, liquor, ice, molasses
Danny Goldenberg

Did I mention that Greeks love alcohol and will drink it at just about any hour of the day? Not every restaurant doles out free shots, but most do as a "digestant," accompanied by the restaurant's dessert of choice. The liquor served is Greece's famous Ouzo and goes down dangerously smooth. I don't recommend taking more than one or two shots, or else you might not be able to make it out of the restaurant. 

4.) Bread and water are not free.

platter, cheese
Ashley Andrews

In America, it's expected that water and bread are brought out for free. In Greece, if you want complimentary water you have to specifically ask for tap water or they'll bring you a bottle and charge for it. The same thing goes for bread. It will be brought to your table, but each slice or basket eaten will cost you. The good news is if you don't want to pay for the bread, all you have to do is fold a napkin over it and place it at the end of the table. 

5.) Ice Cream and Gelato are abundant.

cream, chocolate, cake, ice, ice cream
Ashley Andrews

As a girl with a perpetual sweet tooth, I was constantly on the hunt for a treat to satisfy my craving, and I was not disappointed. America's version of Greek dessert typically includes assorted Baklavas, custards, and fruit and yogurt. However, there seems to be a gelato or ice cream shop on every corner that will scoop out  creamy goodness. I still have dreams about the mint chocolate chip ice cream I ordered on my last day.

All in all, Greece was an eye opening country and while it differs greatly from our way of living, I was able to meet incredible people and gain a better cultural perspective. Besides, if all countries were the same, where would the fun be in traveling?