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Trip Report A trip into the neonatal ward of Western civilization

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We recently returned from a short but enjoyable trip to Greece, primarily Crete and Santorini—fulfilling a long-time interest in visiting these destinations. Given our respective workloads, this is may be a relatively brief report (by our standards), but we’ll try to hit the highlights and key impressions.

As always, this trip report and the photos are a collaborative effort, and we’ll both be adding to it as time permits.

Who (for those who don’t already know us): 50ish couple from Chicago; typically mid-range (not high end, not budget) travelers

When: October 2-13

Why: The Greek Islands—and particularly Santorini—have long been on our travel wish list. We’ve previously visited Athens and the Peloponnese (http://www.fodors.com/community/europe/nine-days-in-the-peloponnese-and-athens-trip-report-and-lots-of-photos-by-mr-go-ms-go.cfm ). I’ve also been to Delphi and some additional destinations on the Peloponnese way back when as part of one of those six-country high-school trips, about which I remember little except the social side of things…and how hot it was in June.

Where and how: We had a finite amount of time and, thus, a rather fast-paced itinerary. This included a 24-hour layover in Hamburg on the way (most available airline itineraries had us spending a night somewhere in Europe in order to get to Heraklion at a reasonable time of day). The itinerary:

• Hamburg: one night @ Radisson Blu Hamburg Airport

• Germanwings flight to Heraklion; rental car through Avis

• Chania, Crete: four nights @ Hanim Lounge & Studios, including visits to Elafonisi, Rethymno, and the Samaria Gorge

• Heraklion, Crete: one night @ Lato Boutique Hotel, including a visit to the Knossos Palace

• Ferry to Santorini

• Oia, Santorini: three nights @ Oia Suites, including visits to Fira/Firostefani/Imerovigli and Akrotiri

• Aegean flight to Athens

• Athens: one night @ Sofitel Athens Airport, primarily to set up for our early morning departure back to the US

Greece has often been called the “Cradle of Western Civilization”...but this specific part of Greece, home to the mysterious Minoan culture, which predates the Classical era by millennia, is more like the neonatal ward. This great historical legacy, plus the allure of the sunny climate, warm people, fresh food and the gorgeous blue sea, has placed Crete and Santorini near the top of our list for a long time. Our expectations were fairly high, and we’re happy to say they were met...and exceeded.

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