great trip to athens, hydra

Jun 22nd, 2004, 07:20 AM
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Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 12,492
great trip to athens, hydra

just a quick note with perhaps some valid info for those off here this summer.
Athens is VERY hot, so best suggestion i have is very thin light loose clothing.lots of sunscreen especially on hazy days.

athens is also a very beautiful city with hidden treasures , which you will find if you let yourself get lost in Psirri, kiffissia, Kolonaki, monastariki, and all around the base of the acropolis area.
many treed plazas with cafés.
execllent transport system..

airport bus runs all night long, and the 2.90 euro ticket is good for 24 hrs, so really pulls you into your next day, and also previous to departure day when going back.

great slouvaka,(bread and sliced meat w/ veggies, yogurt sauce "sandwich pita type bread" only 1.5-1.8 euros. a meal in itself. salads, pastries, ice creams. all were tasty.

many important museums were closed, but the jewel, (my favorite) the Benaki was fortunately open , plus it is free every thursday and open til midnight.
lovely restaurant upstairs in this old mansion, with buffet thursdays, reservations only. looked very tempting.
the Benaki has lovely cards and jewelry, gifts, etc. really nice private collection of artifacts,antiques, and two entire transposed actual rooms from a gorgeous mansion depicting what life USED to be..

another wonderful museum, recently donated to the greek government, on acropolis grounds, is the Kannelloupols in Plaka.

geting organized with the museums needs a bit of time as so many close at three or two p.m. and do not open in the afternoon.

If you can, try to see something at the herodes atticus outdoor historic theatre.
just sitting there when the stage is lit is worth the entrance fee.
all seats are good. i paid 22 euros to see the munich state ballet. breathtaking.

many music and dance events this summer for athens festival.

I suggest picking up one of the english magazines at airport "athens NOW" (2.30 E)to get the low down on all activities during your stay. depending on which hotel you are at, some locals have no idea as to where to even find this out.

NOT TO BE MISSED: you MUST have a drink atop the Grande Bretagne, (Syntagam Sq) newly renovated terrace roof garden during sunset, and until it is totally dark for an unforgetable evening.
(virgin strawberry daquiri 8 euros. the view was absolutely to die for.)
am looking forward to next trip to take some friends there.
also, piano bar open all day main floor. lovely atmosphere, although pricey, but justified. (appropriate dress for these places). may be restricted during games due to all the dignitaries there.

also. the galaxy bar atop the hilton is very nice. outdoor bar-b-que, drinks, dinner.

bus and metro tickets are not interchangeable. buses.45, metro .70
day pass for every type of transport 2.90.

Let's talk about coffee.
take awhile and decide what coffee you want as there are so many to choose from.. but be prepared for prices when seated at table. 3 euros and UP.
cheapest way, take out in plastic.. 1.2-1.8 euros.. frappées, etc. nice combinations, but if you use saccarin, give the fellow a pack before he makes your coffee.. so he can add it as many are pre-sweetened by waiter before he makes it up.

all in all, i cannot imagine not having a lovely time in this city..

quick island trip.
i enjoyed my two day trip to hydra.. starting off at pireaus port, gate E8 for boats to aegina, poros, hydra, spetses.

buy ticket at booth across from ship. first sailings usually around 8 a.m.
no vehicles on last two islands.
i chose hydra.

I took the slow ferry, 8.5 euros one way. there are many high speeds going continuosly.
drawback with them is you cannot go on deck, and just zoom to destination. airplane type seating. reserved seats, etc. double the price but twice as fast.(1.5 hrs instead of 3.5)

many sweet bed and breakfast type places on hydra. .
35 euros single. a/c, good bathroom, and convenient.
felt very safe there. (single woman ).. and had some great pastries and lovely atmposphere at dinner "Veranda " restaurant up on hill overlooking town.
candles, quaint, and fair priced.

Took a speed boat to an umbrelled beach other end of island. great views. Bisti beach. 10 euros /rt. several departures and returns.
small groups go. not much else for me to do except beaches, hikes, and the historical archives in port. also lovely monastery with attractive courtyard. this was perfect destinationfor me for an overnight to get the flavor.
could be just a day trip.but if you miss sunset up by the cannons, or breakfast at the bar below that hugs the side of cliff... well.. one less thing to write home about!

All in all, this has just whet my appetite for a future more extensive trip. my greek friends say the north is unbelievable.

also went to sounion, south of city on coastal road. took regional bus, 4 euros. follows the coast. beautiful as we went past the "athens beaches" which will be trammed in near future. almost finished with that convenient tram line from city.
lovely cafés and restaurants on beach south of athens.

one last suggestion, as the acropolis ticket lasts for four days, try not to get overdosed and do it all at once.
up to the parthenon one day is plenty, as it is very hot, (early morning, late p.m. best times to visit) and some of the other monuments another day.

enjoy this trip. I certainly did. your hotel can recommend we had good food everywhere.

there are many free museums.. but you will need the list from tourist office or cultural center for that with opening times, etc.

gifts? well.. since i live in europe, and everything is getting so "SAME", i really only bought foodstuffs. but there was some nice jewellry, and some clothing perhaps, and the typical magnets,etc. but nothing terribly inexpensive. you 'd better know your gold and silver before purchasing.

of course i also saw the "EVZONES" royal guard changing. you can see them preparng around back of palace.

i guess that's enough of your time! hope you have as good a time as i did.
good luck. i think the heat is your only enemy there, so you need to pace yourself.

lincasanova is offline  
Jun 22nd, 2004, 07:53 AM
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 28
Thank you so much for posting such a great report about Athens! I have been SOOOO fed up with people slating Athens, the construction works and the Olympics! It's ok to put it down if you live there and have trouble on a day to day basis, but it's a great destination if you bother to give it a chance!!! (and it sounds like you did)
You've definitely managed to list some of the best spots/walks/museums. And there's nothing like a good souvlaki - always my first meal when I visit Athens/Greece.
Myrto is offline  
Jun 22nd, 2004, 08:17 AM
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i was really pleasantly surprised, and was also on a budget staying at a friend's place. but i had a very luxurious restful week for good value, cultural experience, etc.
i also had never heard very nice remarks from my friends in spain who have gone on organized tours about.
always stating places other than athens as the most interesting. even if you only have a few days, this can be a very very impressive place.. if you skip the repetitive overdosing of cetain types of sites, be they shops, or whatever. putting a little luxury into these trips realy gives a different point of view..although money isn't everything, but there are things, views and meals, that are priceless and must be savored by every tourist to get the feel of the best of an area.

i was lucky and am not afraid to "get lost" ( in the daytime!!) which does help a lot. i also am obsessively curious and love to delve deeper , taking advantage of any good local english speaker i find to pick his ideas up.

hope many enjoy athens this summer in spite of the heat. and i trust the games will come off.. the sites are almost finished, they seemed to be working around the clock last week, and rightly so.
lincasanova is offline  
Jan 3rd, 2005, 10:28 AM
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Thanks for the trip report I went to Hydra in 1981 and loved it!
Jan 3rd, 2005, 10:33 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 2,637
Wonderful report! Hydra is wonderful. For a quick easy escape from Athens, don't sell Aegina short. It's like a world away from Athens (which I do love). The taxi drivers are the best! (which I didn't love about Athens!)
Grasshopper is offline  
Jan 3rd, 2005, 10:34 AM
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Grasshopper what is Aegina like?
Jan 3rd, 2005, 03:52 PM
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Aegina is a bigger, more lived on island than Hydra. In fact, I'm told many people commute to Athens. It's less than an hour by ferry, I think. I'm not sure as I went by sailboat. It has all the requesite shops and restaurants, the tavernas with octopi drying on the clothes lines. We met Costas, grilling what our skipper Spiros called "octopus gum" and telling us to watch for his special sauce "Costas Own" soon to be found in a store near you! I ate the best gyro I've ever had on Aegina and bought the best pistachios.

Take a taxi to the top of the mountain to a wonderful Greek ruin. You'll probably have it to yourself and it's not unlike the Acropolis. On the way down, our taxi stopped while we visited a beautiful Greek Orthodox Cathedral. The taxi driver took us to the top of the mountain, waited, then recommended the visit to the church and waited, then returned us to the main part of town for what I recall was about $10. Then he searched us out to return the camera I foolishly left in the backseat!

It was a far cry from the taxi drivers in Athens who seemed to want to rip us off just for the game.
Grasshopper is offline  
Jan 3rd, 2005, 07:25 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 13,460
Thanks for topping this message from last June. I'm just planning my trip to Greece in March, and this is timely information. Lots of good ideas in this report.
Nikki is offline  
Jan 31st, 2005, 07:19 AM
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 50
We want to spend 1 night in Hydra and use our last night to either see the inland area or go to Delphi. How would we do either without going through Athens, without a car?
I appreciate any help you can give!!
dawnie is offline  
Jan 31st, 2005, 02:39 PM
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the info at matt barrettīs, i am sure can help you answer these questions.
and thank you for topping my post.

it was so nice to read about this trip again!! hope i can go back soon.
lincasanova is offline  

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