I have just returned from a wonderful trip just short of two weeks from Greece. I am hoping to pen down my travels while my mind is still fresh from the vivid colours and smells of Greece while the body is physically back home in India.
Our trip was with my parents (65+ senior citizens but active), and with my brother and his family. We are a couple in the final year of our 30s with two kids aged 6, 4.
This was our route.
May 14 - Arrive Athens.
May 15 - Drive to Meteora. Overnight.
May 16 - Drive to Delphi. Overnight
May 17-19 Athens
May 20 - Ferry to Naxos. 3 nights.
May 23 - Flight to Athens - Drive to Nafplio 3 nights
May 26 - Depart back to India.
This trip was put together with the help of various contributors whose trip reports and posts I voraciously read in detail. I might miss some but a huge thanks to indiancouple, heimdall, artsnletters, mariha, stanbr, clausar (thanks for the Ktel bus link), travelerjan, PetrosB3, and other posters from whose reports I picked up names of restaurants, places to visit, etc.
Our trip itself started off on a poor note with visa delays at the greek embassy at Delhi. We were originally scheduled to leave on 13th and spent some money having to cancel our initial tickets which we got on a great promo fare and having to book this again for the 14th. Initial plan was for 2 nights in Meteora but had to crunch it down. So the days leading up to our travel was chaotic at best and it didn't help that it was an extremely busy time at work too. Our passports were returned back to us on the afternoon of the 13th. Can you believe it? Half a day before our flights. From the initial fare of $2500 for the family of 4, we had to pay an excess $1200 for the date change and fare increase. Couldn't be helped. We were finally going.
It was more relief than excitement when we finally boarded our Qatar Airways flight at 4am on May 14th. We had a 5 hour layover in Doha. A great airport to have a layover, especially when you're travelling with kids. We hardly felt the time go by. Kids tired themselves out in the play area, we checked our emails, took a nap and had a snack. We briefly contemplated checking into the airport hotel but realized they were full. If I had done some homework, we could have done that. They charged $220 for a day. Flight was uneventful and we touched down at Athens at 6pm local time.
Day 1 May 14: Athens
We took a cab into Athens and checked into Hotel Astor - all hotels were booked on booking.com and I loved all of them. This was in 16,Karageorgi Servias right by Syntagma and the Parliament. E160 for a family room. We quickly freshened up, got the kids ready and heading out by 8pm to grab a quick bite. I wanted to pick up a local sim at Athens airport but couldn't find a Cosmote or any other vendor issuing cards. The cab driver told us Syntagma was a better bet anyways. It was still bright out and we just stretched our legs a bit just walking about the square by the fountain. Our concierge had recommended the Old Ithaki restaurant (not 'Ithaki', he specifically told us) behind the old church on Mitropoleos Street. It was a 5-7 minute walk.
After the long day and the chaos prior, we needed a drink to settle down. A Mythos for me. Vodka for the missus. I had the pastitsio and DW had the greek salad. Kids had spaghetti. We found out about the portions when the food arrived. They were enormous. We were all tired and hungry (or so we thought) but none of us were able to finish our dishes. Kids probably did most justice to their spaghetti. The pastitsio was delicious. We also found out that it was one of the priciest restaurants in the area. The entire meal cost us about E50. We grabbed some gelato at Syntagma on the way back - our first of many wonderful ice creams on this trip, and headed back to the hotel by 1020pm. It was a long day but we were happy to finally be in Greece and the holiday mood was setting in.
Day 2... to come.
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Magical Greece. A 13 day jaunt across the Aegean