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Trip Report Mykonos-Naxos-Santorini - The Non-Honeymooner Trip Report

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Thanks so much to everyone for their advice when I was planning our first trip to Greece. We got back a few days ago (just before the demonstrations in Athens turned bad), and I’m just getting my thoughts together about the trip. It was pretty close to perfect – the weather cooperated (2 weeks without rain!), the planes were on time, the ferries were almost on time, we tap-danced around the strikes and slowdowns, and ultimately tried to immerse ourselves in the culture enough to experience and appreciate being in the midst of the demonstrations in this unique period in Greek history.

Overview stuff…

We were able to use frequent flyer miles for plane tickets to Athens, and I managed to find a few pretty incredible deals that allowed us to stay in some fabulous hotel rooms, adding to the “event” nature of the trip. We travel to Europe every year or two, sometimes for long-weekend city visits that are fairly easy to do from the East Coast (Paris, Rome, Amsterdam), and other times for a week to 10 days to explore a region (Amalfi Coast, Provence/Riviera, Tuscany), but we’ve never been to Greece. For this trip we planned 2 weeks, and wanted to visit Athens and 3 islands. With much help from this board, we decided on Mykonos, Naxos and Santorini. It turned out great. We deliberately chose the order of island visits to build up to Santorini, and it didn’t disappoint, but for a while we thought we were the only non-honeymoon couple staying in all of Oia (which means we got to give a lot of marital advice!). But that comes later. Anyway…

I know that everyone told me not to plan too much, to be prepared to go with the flow and change plans at the last minute, but I’m a little compulsive about planning, and I couldn’t stop myself. So, all of the hotels were booked in advance (and because the dollar was so good on the euro last fall, about half of them were prepaid). The inter-island flights were planned as soon as Olympic announced their summer rates, so we managed to grab good flights at good fares for the Athens-Mykonos and Santorini-Athens legs of the trip. Ferries were booked in advance online (SeaJets for Mykonos to Naxos, and Blue Star from Naxos to Santorini), and the ferry tickets were delivered by courier to our hotel in Athens before we arrived. I thought it was well worth the 3€ courier fee to have the tickets delivered and waiting for us at the concierge desk before we arrived, so we never had to track down a ferry office. I would recommend that plan to anyone.

About a week or so before the trip, the protests and strikes in the Athens area started up again (after being quiet for the past several months). Thanks to this board I added livingingreece.gr/strikes to my Twitter list so we could stay updated on strikes when they were announced, in case we needed to change any plans. I also activated an international data plan for my iPhone so I could download email to my phone when there wasn't wifi available and get/send text messages easily. Both were very useful.

We made a point of packing for carry-on only, and I still felt that I packed about twice as much as I needed. We were moving every 3 days, and by the second move (from Mykonos to Naxos) I found myself packing almost half of my stuff in a vacuum bag, shoving it in the bottom of my rollaboard, and never opening it again. Sigh. I really thought I was a better packer than that!

Enough of the overview. First stop, Athens!

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