1st trip to Greece in October

Old Jul 28th, 2005, 05:18 PM
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1st trip to Greece in October

I will be taking my 79 y.o. mom to Greece for our first time to celebrate her 80th birthday. My gal pal will also be going with us. My mom is first generation Greek American and no one in her family has ever been to Greece! This will be a trip of a lifetime for both of us.

I've booked enough trips via internet before with much success but never to a foreign country. So far this is what I've done:
Booked the following accommodations:
1st night - Hotel Plaka, Athens
2nd & 3rd night - Hotel Tharroe, Mykonos
4th & 5th night - El Greco, Santorini
6, 7 & 8 nights - Airotel Parthenon, Athens

Will I have any trouble getting ferry tickets after we arrive or should I attempt to purchase them before? Are tours easily available?

Thanks so much for any help.
Socia is offline  
Old Jul 28th, 2005, 05:24 PM
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Hi
I wouldn't split Athens into one night, then three nights. I think that wastes time on the back and forth. I understand you may be thinking of the fatigue issue upon arrival from the US. If that's your concern, then plan three or four nights in Athens at the beginning. On your final departure day, fly back to Athens from Santorini, change planes, fly home.
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Old Jul 28th, 2005, 06:07 PM
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Elaine, several years ago, we flew from Santorini to Athens, and then on home-no problem. However, today with such penalties for missing flights, I think I'd be hesitant to make that trip in 1 day, unless it was all on one ticket. The winds can delay flights from the islands. I hope I don't sound like a naysayer; just thought I should bring it up.

Your trip sounds wonderful, Socia; what a lovely experience for you and your mom!
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Old Jul 28th, 2005, 06:45 PM
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grandmere, I too didn't have a problem when I flew from the island to Athens to home all in one day, and both flights were on Olympic. It might be safe then to fly from Santorini to Athens the evening before flying home, and just stay near the airport. I just feel that arriving from the US on day 1, spending one night, then at the end having a separate 2-3 more days in Athens, wastes some time. I haven't been there for a while, but I think 2-3 days in Athens, on a short trip to Greece, is more than enough. I also think the ferries are too slow a transport method on such a short trip, if the ferry is to be from Athens to Mykonos and then back from Santorini.
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Old Jul 28th, 2005, 07:21 PM
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I suspect after the long flight from the U.S. you're all going to be too tired to enjoy Athens on that first day, but I also think it's a good idea to save your 'real' exploration of Athens until the end. I also agree that such a short trip will seem shorter if you travel by ferry so much, so I suggest you fly from Athens to Mykonos then take the fast ferry to Santorini then fly back to Athens for the remaining days you have left.

But to answer your question: no, you won't have any trouble in October waiting until you're there to get your ferry tickets.

I looked at the El Greco website, and see that there is no caldera view, and the location is unclear. I suggest, for the comfort of your mother, that you consider changing to the Atlantis Hotel in Fira. It sits on the cliff overlooking the caldera and is the only hotel that a taxi can actually approach. Fira is very hilly and the walkways are quite uneven, so unless your mother is incredible fit she might appreciate the convenience this hotel offers.
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Old Jul 29th, 2005, 05:31 AM
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Brotherleelove2004 -
Thanks so much for your valuable insight to my mother's condition. She actually has had a rough time of it these last few years (major back surgery, shoulder joint replacement in the next 2 wks). That's why I said life is too short to wait any longer, we must visit Greece while we still can. My mother has a great spirit and loves to live life even if she's in pain. She's a real trooper.

I'll check the Atlantis.

What about tours? We'd feel better about having some game plan before we arrive. Since there are 3 of us, would we get more bang for our buck having a private tour for some areas? My mother's father was from Thebes and it would be nice to see this area.

Should we try to do a day on islands closer to Athens instead of just staying in Athens? I was thinking the 3 island day trip with 1 island being Hydros?

Thanks for any and all information.

Socia
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Old Jul 29th, 2005, 06:19 AM
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Hi
The 3-island Saronic Gulf daytrip is usually Hydra, Aegina, and Poros--sometimes one of those is dropped and a different one added.
I recall that the main attraction in Aegina was a an old temple at the highest point on the island.. Donkey rides were available (don't know current status) but there was some walking and climbing required. We LOVED Hydra, but again, some hilly walking was necessary.
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Old Jul 29th, 2005, 09:22 AM
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I don't personally have any insight into the tour situation, but you can contact Fantasy Travel in Athens for suggestions. They have an excellent reputation for reliability.

http://fantasytravelofgreece.com/english/
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Old Jul 29th, 2005, 01:49 PM
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When I visited Greece I was on a tour so many of our tours were already planned. But if you contact your hotel, they will probably have recommendations for you. You can also check out lonely planet.com. They occasionally have guides who post there.

Mykonos is a lovely island. If you like history and ruins I would take the day trip over to Delos. You can make arrangements for that at one of the local tourist offices. (I saw three while I as there ). They leave at about 9 am and return about 3:30 pm from the main peir in town.

Santorini is breath taking, but it is either up or down. There isn't much flat. I don't know if you have your heart set on this island, but for me it would be interesting for two days. It is just your preferences.

Above all have fun.
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Old Jul 31st, 2005, 06:19 PM
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Hi Socia:

I just returned 2 weeks ago from Greece, and while in Athens we booked a private taxi driver to take us to Delphi. I would highly recommend the service through which we booked our driver - http://www.magicaljourneys.com/Trave...el-george.html - while we didn't have George himself, our driver Tom was wonderful, and we found it to be a highlight of our trip. They specifically mention that they escort Greek-Americans who are searching for their roots - and one of my friends talked to our driver about coming back to do that although we did not do that on our trip. You may want to contact them with your interest, the location you'd like to go to, etc. and see what they can offer in terms of rates.

I would also mention that there is a nice Sofitel literally next to the airport so that if you decide to change your itinerary at all based upon the earlier advice, and need an airport hotel, that would be most convenient.

I will last add that my family and I did a trip a few years ago where we visited the 'old country' of my great-grandfather, and at the time it was too late for my grandfather (first generation american) to make the trip. He cried when he viewed our pictures and video of the places he had heard so much about, but to think what it would have been like if he could have travelled with us...! I am so thrilled for you - have a wonderful trip!
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Old Jul 31st, 2005, 06:28 PM
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I think you need to expect more jet lag. It takes us several days to recover from a flight to Europe from the west coast and we're not 80. Perhaps you ought to reconsider the number of stops you're making. Prioritize and do the most importants things (the trip to Thebes?) first.

Also consider flying between Athens and an island. That would be a shorter trip, though, now that I think about it, perhaps not as relaxing as a ferry trip.
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Old Jul 31st, 2005, 07:44 PM
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Socia,

What a marvelous trip for you , your friend, and your mom! Greece is marvelous in October too. I agree with your decision to spend a night in Athens (at least) going both ways, especially given your mother's age- you can see the Parthenon at night, the Plaka area and have a great meal before heading to the islands. Get your hotel to arrange transportation- it is tough walking everywhere and as two women alone, you can be taken advantage of (or even ignored) by the Athens cabbies! We have had this experience and it isn't a pleasant one. You will love Mykonos and Santorini! Santorini is breathtaking and be sure and visit the churches and the caves and just enjoy the VIEW,! When you return to Athens, see the museums and the changing of the guard, and if you want to take a trip out of town Delphi is great, but a tour to Sounion and the Temple of Poseidon and the museum there is also a wonderful half-day side trip- go for the sunset!

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Old Aug 1st, 2005, 05:07 PM
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Thanks so much for your input all. As it stands now I've tweaked things a bit.
1st and 2nd night in Athens, flight to Mykonos for 3rd & 4th nights (2 full days), ferry to Santorini for 5 & 6th nights (again 2 full days). Fly back to Athens evening of 7th night, 8th day and depart on 9th day around noon. Would like to fit in a tour to Cape Sounion or Delphi if time permits and depending upon how well mom does.

It's so nice to have this forum to share information with fellow travelers. It's invaluable.


Thanks again -

Kathy
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