Back from wonderful Greece! (Monica)

May 18th, 2001, 05:49 AM
  #1  
Monica
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Back from wonderful Greece! (Monica)

Well, maybe I need to cut this posting in half:

Iíve been responding to some postings on Greece, so hereís a consolidation:

Just returned from Greece on Monday and Tony and I had a great time! We found Greece to be inexpensive. We flew to Santorini from Athens (had to wait 4 hours for our transfer flight!). I wanted a hotel on the caldera for its wonderful view. We stayed at the Enigma Apartments and paid about $95/night. Included breakfast. The place was nice and each apartment (8 total) had its own balcony, kitchen, bath, and living room. Itís built into the cliff. Itís an A Class hotel. We visited the Boutari winery. Took the local bus there. Also visited Ancinet Akrotiri, but we were very disappointed. Not much to see. It took only 15 minutes to see it, and then we had to wait an hour for the next bus to arrive. I'd suggest renting a car to get around the island. Best way to visit the other areas as well. For us 2.5 days/3 nights was plenty for us. We really enjoyed walking around Fira and along the walkway towards Oia (didn't go that far). Lots of steps! Enjoyed some great meals in Fira too. And the jewelery shopping is fabulous! Enjoyed the best gyros at Luckyís!

In Naxos, we stayed at Hotel Apollon to the left of town, heading toward the Grotto area. We paid about $48 per night, including breakfast. B class hotel. Lovely town. We had a corner room, so one side faced the town and the other we could see the water. We visited the castle and archeological museum and the Venetian Home. Thereís a tour guide who provides interesting information. For dinner two nights, we enjoyed delicious grilled octopus and calamari. The local wines are fine and inexpensive. We rented a car one day and toured the island. Lots of mountains and hair pin curves!

In Paros, we stayed at Hotel Asterias right on the bay, just north of the port. Paid about $32 per night with breakfast. Itís a C Class hotel. Had to use the A/C to drown out the traffic noise and keep the mosquitoes out. Another nice port town. Rented a car the 3rd day and enjoyed visiting the island. Saw two Kouros. Had lunch in Naoussa. Went to a beach in the late afternoon. Lovely beaches on Paros.

 
May 18th, 2001, 05:49 AM
  #2  
Monica
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Athens: Hotel Attalos. Great acropolis view from our balcony and from their roof top cafe. Paid $50/night. No breakfast. We were in Athens back in 1993 and enjoyed being back again. The spring weather kept the pollution away and quite frankly, we found the streets to be clean. We saw street sweepers. Must be getting ready for the 2004 Olympics. We did the usual sights: Acropolis, Agora, the Plaka, National Archeological museum and the War museum (free). On Sunday morning we visited the flea market. Lots of junk!

Meals: Gyros are great quick lunches for about $1 - $1.50. Crepes are also inexpensive and many cafes have menus with crepes, salads, sandwiches, etc. A lot of our lunches (besides the quick pick up of gyros) averaged $15 for the two of us. That usually included a small carafe of wine and a beer or two. Dinners ran from $15 to $25. The ones that were $25, we enjoyed plates of grilled octopus, grilled calamari, and grilled cuttle fish, along with 3 carafes of local white wine. Athens was a little more expensive than elsewhere (for meals). A few of the restaurants were listed in the Frommerís guidebook.

Boats between islands were inexpensive. From Santorini to Naxos (1.5 hours), we paid about $33. To Paros: $8 (1 hour). To Athens (5 hours): $29. Went to the grocery store in the a.m. to buy picnic food for the long boat ride. That was a lot of fun.

Taxi to the new Athens airport was about $16 and it took 50 minutes to get there. Left Hotel Attalos at 9am.

I hope to get some of my photos scanned in within the next 2 weeks and posted to my travel page soon, as well as my journal. http://www.luvtotravel.homestead.com/home.html

We met some very nice people along the way. Missed seeing Celeste, another Fodorite, in Athens!

Greece is a wonderful place to visit! The islands were lovely as well as the beaches with its clear blue water. Weíd return again!

Any questions, Iíll be happy to answer!
 
May 18th, 2001, 06:42 AM
  #3  
dan woodlief
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Welcome back Monica. Good report - very specific and informative. Ah, you make me want to travel. I don't know what I will do with my wife when we finally make it to Greece - she is not fond of Greek food, which I happen to love. The octopus and calimari sound tasty. It does look like I will finally, finally, finally get to Italy this fall; the Europe layoff has been too long. Trying to learn some Italian now and reading about ancient Rome. I will look forward to your photos and take a look again at your Italy section.
 
May 18th, 2001, 07:29 AM
  #4  
Monica
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Hi Dan!

Sorry to hear your wife doesnít like Greek food. Maybe you can have her try a few dishes. If she likes fish, where are always several dishes to choose from. We didnít see many non-greek restaurants. Did see pizza places, a couple of Italian restaurants and 1 Chinese restaurant. Yes, the octopus and calamari were wonderful! If you get to Naxos, I can tell you where we dined. (Plan to add my restaurant information on my web site anyway). Tony and I hope to find some octopus here in the area to grill on our deck. Also, having a fodorites luncheon at the end of May and will make a couple of Greek dips.

When do you plan to go to Italy? My friend Dawn and I are going the first 2 weeks in November. Planning to fly into Rome, and then take the train to Venice - we hope we can get out of the airport and to Rome to the train station and not wait long for a train to Venice. Stay there 3-4 nights, and then head back to Rome via Tuscany and Umbria. We'll rent a car. Since weíll be flying USAirways (standby), we have to head back to Rome, otherwise we could have traveled north, then to Milan.

Learn your Italian, but you will be fine with the basic phrases.

Ciao!

 
May 18th, 2001, 09:40 AM
  #5  
Oaktown Traveler
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Monica:
I got all misty eyed and choked up reading your lovely report. My husband and I spent 5 weeks in Greece in"93(!) for our honeymoon...We plan to go back in '04 for the Olympics. I am so glad that you have proof that they are getting ready for that. The olympic '04 boards do not sound as positive as you, THANKS!

Happy Future Travels
Oaktown
 
May 18th, 2001, 10:04 AM
  #6  
Monica
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Hi Oaktown,

Thanks for the nice compliment. Yes, Tony and I were surprised at how clean Athens was, compared to our trip in 1993.

If you check out my web site in about a month, I'll make your eyes water and mouth drool with a couple of food photos! The appetizers we had (and of course all our meals) were delicious!
 
May 18th, 2001, 10:09 AM
  #7  
dan woodlief
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Well, Monica, I have been going through a mental battle over how to approach Italy, since I plan to visit lots of times. I think I am going to give in and just visit the big three on this trip, starting in Rome. Probably 10-11 days in the country total (I am thinking 4-5 days in Rome, 2-3 in Florence, and the rest in Venice) . It will likely be the end of October or the first part of November, depending mostly on the airfare. The big snag was getting a baby sitter, but I think we have that lined up now. If we can bear to part with the little one for that long, it is likely to be a go (she sure loves Italian food, but I don't think Italy would survive her right now). We should get together if we are there at the same time. Maybe we'll bump into each other in Tuscany. You know, your report came close to making me head out to the Greek restaurant up the street, but I am kind of on a diet right now. My wife does like Italian food, thank goodness.
 
May 18th, 2001, 10:14 AM
  #8  
Susan
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Great trip report, Monica! I'm glad you enjoyed your trip - I remember your planning it. I didn't realize that there were kouros on Paros as well as Naxos. We saw 2 on Naxos.

Dan, re restaurants, there seemed to be a fair amount of variety in Greece, not all Greek food. Of course there's Italian. We also had Indian I think on Naxos, which was delicious.
 
May 18th, 2001, 10:52 AM
  #9  
Monica
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Hi Dan, If we can meet up in Italy, that would be great! Of course itís early to say right now where weíll be in Tuscany and Umbria, but we do want to visit Deruta for our ceramic shopping, Assisi, Siena, Montepulciano (if I spelled that correctly!), and maybe a couple of other places, depending on the time. We can talk about it later on. Your plan sounds good with the number of days in each place.

Susan, youíre correct. It was Naxos, not Paros, where we saw the kouros. Got the islands mixed up. But I certainly wonít forget the drive around Naxos and all those curves! And yes, there is an Indian restaurant in Naxos. Smelled great, but Tony doesnít care for the curry dishes.
 
May 19th, 2001, 01:19 PM
  #10  
Judy
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Hi Monica, welcome home! I look forward to seeing your photos and reading about the restaurants you dined in. I love Greek food!
 
May 19th, 2001, 08:16 PM
  #11  
Celeste
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Hey, Monica, I'm really sorry we missed you in Athens but you were out when we got in from Mykonos on May 12 and I left you a note but I don't know if you ever received it. We spent a day with Nadia from Canada, another Fodorite.

We stayed in Naoussa on the beach and loved it there but also went to Parikia a few times.

Throughout Greece we never spent more than $18 for sinner for two, and that was our highest, for shrimp and fish on the harbor in Naoussa.

I enjoyed Mykonos much more than I expected and am glad we were "forced" to spend a day there in order to get to Delos, which was by far the highlight of the trip.

Greece being so inexpensive was a wonderful surprise. We spent a lot of money on the Germany and Italy portion of our trip but spent a lot LESS than we'd planned in Greece!
 
May 19th, 2001, 08:40 PM
  #12  
Beth Anderson
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MOnica,

Thanks for the postcard!

I didn't have time to send any... sorry!

(just got back from London tonight; went out with friends & am now home again and ready to CRASH. so tired... it is almost time to wake up, in London..
 
May 20th, 2001, 11:34 AM
  #13  
Maira
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Welcome back Monica! What about the sightseeing, ruins, the roads, the people? Sounds like a great trip!

Glad to hear Dawn and you are heading out to Rome, also. I will be there Nov 8-17, with sister, Mom and niece. So far, we are renting a car and getting on the road on to Umbria, with some days in Rome towards the end of the trip.
 
May 20th, 2001, 12:14 PM
  #14  
Celeste
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I just wanted to make a comment about the food I ate while in Greece since I was somewhat anxious about what I would eat. I have to say that Greece makes the absolutely best grilled chicken in the entire world! I don't know if it's the olive oil, or what, but they were all incredibly tender, juicy, and tasty. So aside from one dinner of grilled fish, that was the only food I needed besides Greek salad!
 
May 20th, 2001, 03:14 PM
  #15  
Panos
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Hi Monica!

I am glad you enjoyed your trip.
I just want to say something about your comments on the Ancient Akrotiri.
Akrotiri is not just a historic place. It is a prehistoric place, which means that the ruins you saw there are 1200 years older than the ruins you saw at the Acropolis in Athens. Just consider the size of the time! And you didn't see just insignificant ruins there: you saw two-storey buildings with doors and windows, you saw paintings on the walls, and potter vessels. Archeologists are more than happy when they discover even a small object dating back to 1700 BC!
I hope you had taken a lot of pictures of that place, because I believe that in the future you will regard this visit to Akrotiri, as one of the highlights of your trip.

 
May 20th, 2001, 03:38 PM
  #16  
Susan
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We actually ended up 'coat tailing' a tour group when we visited Akrotiri. I think it was a group off a cruise ship. We got much much more from the experience than if we had just been on our own. I think it would have taken us 15 minutes or so if we had been on our own!
 
May 21st, 2001, 04:28 AM
  #17  
Monica
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Hi Celeste, No, we did not receive any note from you at Attalos. I kept looking at the cubby hole where they keep the keys. Weíll have to meet up someday! We too enjoyed inexpensive meals. And the wines were inexpensive too! We loved the grilled octopus and calamari in Paros! Got your email at work and will respond today.

Welcome back Beth! Are you available on the 27th for the next luncheon?

Maira, maybe there will be the opportunity for Dawn and me to meet up with you and your family. We should be in Rome the last 2 nights of our trip. I hope you are doing well.

Panos, Yes, I understand how old Akrotiri is. However, maybe because we werenít with a tour guide, we were unable to appreciate it. There was a sign outside stating they were working on updating the hugh roof over the excavations. A lot of the area was blocked off, so we didnít see a whole lot. From the outside and looking at the roof, Iím sure there was a lot more to see. We didnít see any painted walls. Did see potter vessels. (Took only a few photos - as I said, a lot of the area was blocked off). Maybe on our return trip to Santorini sometime in the future we can return there and hopefully see more of the excavations!
 
May 21st, 2001, 04:55 AM
  #18  
ilisa
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Hi, Monica! It sounds like a wonderful trip. My mouth is watering since I absolutely adore Greek food! Can't wait to see your pictures. I am desperate to go to Greece, but since I am pregnant, it will have to wait. Therefore, I will live vicariously through you!
 
May 21st, 2001, 08:24 AM
  #19  
Monica
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CONGRATULATIONS Ilisa!!!
 
May 21st, 2001, 09:16 AM
  #20  
Thyra
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Monica welcome Back!!! So glad you had a wonderful trip. Your report was delightfully written and my only question is, where to next???
 

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