Go Back  Fodor's Travel Talk Forums > Destinations > Europe
Reload this Page >

Greece: Athens, Santorini, Nafplio, Mycenae, etc. ............... Where DO they get those tomatoes?, what do you mean the green walk light doesn't mean to walk, queues don't mean queues, how do they make that chocolate cake, the Greek riots

Greece: Athens, Santorini, Nafplio, Mycenae, etc. ............... Where DO they get those tomatoes?, what do you mean the green walk light doesn't mean to walk, queues don't mean queues, how do they make that chocolate cake, the Greek riots

Old Dec 16th, 2008, 09:32 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 3,221
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Greece: Athens, Santorini, Nafplio, Mycenae, etc. ............... Where DO they get those tomatoes?, what do you mean the green walk light doesn't mean to walk, queues don't mean queues, how do they make that chocolate cake, the Greek riots

First, thanks to everyone who responded to my pre-travel posts and to those who have posted detailed trip reports - they were all very helpful in planning our trip.

As some of you may recall, our daughter is studying in Athens this fall (double major in Biology and Greek). Her only break was Nov 26 - Dec 1, so that's when we scheduled our trip. We left on Nov 23 and returned Dec 9.

Will have to do this in segments - still trying to catch up with work. I took 680+ photos and DW took over 900, so hopefully I'll get those organized and post some (you couldn't stand to look at all of them) later.

Going in the offseason, our expectations were tempered. Spent much more time in Athens than might be the usual case, but obviously wanted to visit daughter and see Athens from a different perspective. Being accused of having OCD, I had made the usual list of "must sees" with an appropriate schedule, but ended up being much more flexible depending on whims, weather, etc.

Expected less than ideal weather - even inclement. But guess we really lucked out. We thought the weather was wonderful. Out of the 15 days in Greece, we had sunny or partly cloudy skies and temps in the mid to high 60sF for 13.5 days. We had several days when no jackets needed. Only had 1.5 days of cloudy weather with some rain, and still had moderate temps. We really had no complaints.

Also, we were asked to bring 2 extra bags to help bring some things home for daughter (her semester ends on Dec 19). So we didn't travel as light as normal. [More on how much of Greece we brought back later].

Nov 23:

OK, we leave IAH on time at 16:30 on LH 440 to FRA on a B747-400. First class upstairs (just as well - we didn't have to see it). Main deck divided into 2 Business cabins forward; 2 economy cabins mid and aft, where DW and I settle. Economy about 90% full, but 2nd Business cabin totally empty (wondered if it reflected current economic situation).

Shortly after takeoff, served drinks - all free - along with snack. Then, hot toilettes (albeit heavy paper ones, but still nice touch) before dinner. Dinner choice of chicken or pasta. Chicken actually quite good with potatoes, steamed veggies, roll and German chocolate cake. Beverage of choice (wine quite decent).

After dinner drinks served - choice of brandy or Baileys.

Decided to read and try to sleep - movies not very interesting. Music good with 29 channels.

Mid-flight got some oranges and German chocolate bars, plenty of water and juice.

Kept juice, water, soda (and even wine) for self-help in galley through the flight.

Nov 24:

About 1.5 hrs before landing, another round of hot toilettes then breakfast. Omlette with spinach (interesting combination), sausage, roll, juice and coffee.

No complaints about LH - we've flown them 3 of the last 4 yrs and have always found very attentive and friendly crew, decent and plentiful food, and good service.

Very smooth flight, except for some turbulence over Ireland. Land at FRA on time at 9:05.

Then our usual LONG walk, and wait, to connecting flight to ATH, leaving at 13:05. While FRA isn't out favorite airport, it's not the worst and signage good so no problems.

Leave on time on LH 3382 on A321. Configuration on this flight was extremely cramped. I'm only 5'10" and knees hit the seatback in front of me. Haven't experienced this before or since. Served hot, decent meal and arrived ATH on time at 17:05.

We had arranged to meet daughter at airport. She and a roomate had spent the weekend in Warsaw visiting a friend who is now teaching English there (to kindergartners!) and they had arrived a hour earlier.

After 3 months it's great to see her. She looks wonderful and Greece clearly agrees with her. We collect the bags and put her in charge of the 2 extra we brought for her. Get a book of tickets for the metro at .80E each and are reminded to validate tickets. [One of her classmates learned the hard way that not doing so is a fine of 60 times the fare - pretty hard lesson for college students on a budget, but that's the consequences] Take metro into Central Athens. 30+ min. ride.

Athens metro is amazing. Built for the 2004 Olympics, it's quiet, fast and extremely clean. We change at Syntagma for short ride to Akropoli stop for our hotel. Those 2 metro stations are beautiful - don't know how else to describe them. Spotless and loaded with displays behind glass of various antiquities, murals, frescos, etc (were told they're reproductions; makes sense, but very well done and displayed).

Exit Akropoli station and hotel is less than 5 min walk [even with 6 bags it's easy!]. Stayed at the Athens Gate Hotel, which is across the street from Temple of Olpmpic Zeus. Hotel was totally renovated in 07. It's rated 4* and probably deserves it. Very modern, but not too much so. Rooms on the small side, but very nice. Well appointed bathroom. We were on the front overlooking the Temple with a small balcony. Stunning view, but word of warning: if you're a light sleeper, rooms on the back side would be better. Despite their efforts at soundproofing, street side is very busy and we definitely heard the noise. DW had gotten a rate of E125 per night including full buffet breakfast (which costs E15 separately). We thought that was a good deal. The staff was top notch; couldn't have been more helpful or responsive. We'd certainly recommend the hotel.

After a long day, we decide to eat at hotel's 8th floor rooftop garden bar/restaurant. Menu looks pretty reasonable so the four of us go up. As we walk into the restaurant (which is on the back side) we're absolutely blown away by the view of the Parthenon. It's a clear, cool night. We have a south view, which has no scafolding or cranes. It's lit in all its glory and we're so close you feel you can almost touch. I'm mesmerized the rest of the meal.

Many of you, and daughter, had warned us about the size of the Greek salads. All true, they're easily enough for 2 people. And where DO they get those tomatoes??? They were absolutely delicious and proved to be the case everywhere we went. Hadn't had any that good since last summer.

We have 2 Greek salads, 2 pastas - Greek syle (some tomatoes, olives, peppers and olive oil), I have giant prawns with risotto cooked in lobster bisque (excellent), and chocolate souffle for desert. [No, this isn't the chocolate I was referring to in my title]. Daughter orders the wine. Local and very good. (This is just the first instance we encounter over the next couple of weeks in which it's clear daughter knows a WHOLE lot more about Greek wine than we thought). Everything was very good. Total for the four of us - E72.

Daughter and roommate head back to apartment in Pangrati, and we crash.

Tomorrow we tackle Athens.
dfr4848 is offline  
Old Dec 16th, 2008, 09:46 AM
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 2,523
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts

Looking forward to part 2!
ParisAmsterdam is offline  
Old Dec 16th, 2008, 10:12 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 3,221
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Nov 25

Dangit. Just like home, I wake up before dawn. DW still sleeping. Restaurant doesn't open for breakfast until 6:45 so I read, look over things to possibly do today. Finally head up to breakfast. Relieved to see the Parthenon still there - was afraid I had been dreaming. It's stunning in the mornign light.

Buffet is expansive and consists of breads, tomatoes, cumcumbers, fruits, Greek yogurt and that wonderful thick honey, juice, 3 kinds of cereal, bacon, sausage, potatoes and scrambled and soft fried eggs.

DW joins me shortly, then we head off until mid afternoon when we're to meet daughter after classes.

Explore Temple of Zeus and Handrian's Arch. Did not know that the Temple is considerably larger than the Parthenon. It's a beautiful sunny day so we take our time and visit all the ruins on site.

We then walk over to the National Gardens. What a wonderful setting in the middle of Athens. Pass a group of elderly men on benches and tables obviously engaged in a lively discussion of some kind. We also start to encounter the dogs - dozens. Many have collars, so I'm thinking why they're allowed to roam free by their owners (I learn otherwise later).

Then we wander over to Plaka and take in the sites and sounds of an interesting area, touristy though it is. Made a mental note of some places to return (which we ended up doing several times; I always get nervous when shop owners begin to recognize you) Can't help but notice the smooth marble streets. It's easy to understand why daughter told us bring not just comfortable shoes, but shoes that had some traction. We were struck by the fact that the stores in Plaka seemed to be at extremes: very nice and expensive, or typical tourist things. Didn't seem to be a lot in the middle.

Late afternoon we meet daughter near her school. Had drinks and snack then DW and I wander the area until she gets out of class at 20:30. Head to Mikri Vouli ("Little Parliament") for dinner in a square across from the school. Had several appetizers including fried cheese, ntezpos (sp?)which are chopped tomatoes and feta with herbs and olive oil on toasted wheat bread - delicious! Main courses of grilled and fried prawns with "french fries". And yep, daughter ordered the wine again! Total was E30.

Daughter clearly loves Athens (and Greece). We talk about her and our impressions, her classes on ancient and contemporary Greek culture and history, archaeology, modern Greek versus ancient Greek, etc. [We conclude she's actually been going to classes!]

We go our separate ways as tomorrow we're scheduled to fly to Santorini.
At 10 pm daughter calls us to tell us Aegean Airlines called to say our 13:30 flight has been postponed to 15:00 due to potential strike at airport. Great. At least they called.
dfr4848 is offline  
Old Dec 16th, 2008, 11:13 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 3,221
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Nov 26

Today starts daughter's winter break so we met her after breakfast. Beautiful sunny day. With our flight to Santorini now delayed, daughter decides to show us around. So we head off to -
Tower of the Winds
Roman Agora
Presidential Palace
Hadrian's Library
Syntagma & Parliament
Fethiye Mosque

Daughter's "Archeological Sites of Athens" class didn't meet at the school. They met each day at the site itself with a different one each day. Apparently her professor was amazing - talked for hours without any notes. She took volumes of notes and brought them with her this day. So it was like having a personal guide. It was fascinating. I took 2 yrs of Latin in high school and 2 yrs of Italian in college and have been to Italy several times, so this was particularly interesting to me and daughter had lots of answers to questions.

Before our arrival, daughter had been to several other sites and cities in Greece, so she knew her way to/from and around the airport well. So we figure if we leave for airport about 12:30 we should be OK. We're about to find out that some things just aren't predicable in Greece.

We get to Syntagma and discover that, at least today, the line to the airport isn't running every 10 min - it's every 30. Should be fine. We get to the airport at 14:00 and the checkin line for Aegean looks someone has ordered an evacuation of Athens. It moves exceedingly slow.

We start looking at the clock and daughter is beside herself since she's never encountered such crowds before. We finally get to the counter. We have to check 2 bags (don't ask why, we just do). Get passes and it's 14:35. Agent tells us we need to get to the gate. Uh, we figured that one out.

Run to security and the rest of the Greek population is there as well. Daughter can't believe it - it's never been this way. They make an announcement, in Greek of course. Daughter says start cutting and move to the front of the line. It's now 14:45. She recognizes the look on my face and explains: they announced if you're on the flight to Rome, you are to proceed to the front of the line. She says to pretend we're going to Rome or we'll never make our flight (and Aegean has only 1 flight a day during winter to Santorini). I start speaking phrases in Italian (have no idea why I thought that was necessary, but did it anyway) and we make the very last bus carrying passengers to the plane on the tarmac.

Not the excitement we were expected but we're on the plane. Flight was all of 30 min, but really nice. FAs still managed to hand out drinks, snacks (including chocolate filled croissants), candy and toilettes.

We had arranged with hotel for cab pick up to hotel in Oia. 30 min later we pull up to Alexander's Boutique Hotel. WOW - what a view of the town and caldera. Manager (Alisi) greets us and leads us to room. Daughter had arranged the hotel and had negotiated the Imperial Suite - 2 BDs, 1 BA, living area, dining area, full kitchen and large terrace with hot tub, lounge chairs and table with 4 chairs. Cost, including breakfast, was E140/night. Obviously we got a deal because it was off season.
We walked onto the terrace and Alisi had left a bottle of local white wine and glasses on the table (daughter had been to the vineyard). We sat down, poured the wine, took in the view and decided we just found heaven.

It was getting near sunset so we stayed, had the wine and decided that some of the sunset views of Oia you see on posters must have been taken from that terrace. It was a gorgeous evening (cool but not uncomfortable) and we've never seen a sight quite like it.

We came back to reality and decided it was time for dinner. [Am beginning to realize my body clock for meals is going to have a real adjustment in Greece] Found a little taverna down the street named Alkina. Had grilled chicken, souflaki, mousaka, Greek salad, and wine. Total was E40.

Tomorrow - boat trip to the caldera.
dfr4848 is offline  
Old Dec 16th, 2008, 12:24 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 3,221
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Nov 27

Thanksgiving Day in US but no turkey in Santorini.

Got up early - again. Sunrise beautiful with clear skies. Turns out to be a short-sleeve day. Fortunately, we had thought of getting some good coffee at a bakery in Athens before we left, so I made that and sat on the terrace and read before everyone else got up.

Alisi and assistance brought breakfast which every day consisted of fresh fruit, Greek yogurt with that wonderful honey, coffee/tea, breads, some meats and cheese and eggs. Served on white tablecloth on the terrace. Very good.

We have attracted two new friends - a dog and cat, who soon become Oscar and Ouzo. Very friendly. Daughter explains the homeless population of dogs in Greece is huge. The tags aren't put on by owners, but by the government. The government won't neuter them for religious reasons (apparently pro-life extends to animals the same as humans). But they do vaccinate them and put the tags and collars on. Interesting.

Alisi calls to tell us the boat trip has been cancelled. My guess - not enough people. She also says Alex the owner will take us to dinner that evening.

We spend the morning walking the pedestrian path around Oia. As expected, very few people and few shops open. I have a fascination with taking photos of interesting doors and windows - no lack of subjects here. Seems like the beautiful views just don't stop.

Run into a train of donkeys carrying building supplies to a house being remodeled. Some roads too narrow for even the small trucks.

For lunch, found a bakery near the bus station and get sausage, cheese and ham pies in filo dough + drinks and eat on the terrace. E11 total.

Really surprised to learn that one of daughter's roommates and BF have come to Santorini and are staying literally in the room below ours.

Dinner time and at 20:00 Alex picks all 5 of us up. Head into Firostefani to eat at Taverna Simos. Alex orders the appetizers and we each pick main course. He orders local red and white wine.
Plates brought out with white fava bean spread, fried tomatoe balls, grilled eggplant, spicy peppers, spicy feta dip, hummus with garlic and excellent fresh bread. Main courses of whole squid (daughter's choice!!!), roast pork in white wine sauce (amazing), mixed grill with carrots, brussel sprouts and potatoes, beef steak, and what was called pork steak (which I called a pork chop). Very, very good. Came to E23/person (which we each paid for).

Interesting conversation with Alex. He added immeasurably to the experience. A few of the things we learned:
- not surprisingly, most of the water comes from desalinazation plant
- very very strict building codes in Oia: color and materials strictly regulated. No metal on exterior doors, railings, trim etc. Has to be wood.
- on the cliffside, can't build on a "new" empty plot; have to "restore" existing structure
- his family are jewelers first [second occupation OK, but have to be master jeweler first]. His mother is Greek and father is American. He has 15 jewelry stores in the US and spends the winters at his store in Aspen, CO known as Rose Impressions. The other stores are known as ORO.
- he keeps 6 of the 17 rooms at the hotel open in winter.

Wonderful dinner and company.

Tomorrow - rent car and explore Santorini.

dfr4848 is offline  
Old Dec 16th, 2008, 12:30 PM
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 25,136
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Can't wait to read more and see photos.
TDudette is online now  
Old Dec 16th, 2008, 12:42 PM
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 8,351
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
This has to win the post with the longest title award .
I'll keep reading though.
hetismij is offline  
Old Dec 16th, 2008, 01:15 PM
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 927
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
The length of this post's title is absolutely ridiculous. What in the world were you thinking? And what the heck are "crazzies'?
hazel1 is offline  
Old Dec 16th, 2008, 02:37 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 14,760
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Enjoying the trip report, loved the title.

I really liked Athens and would like to get back there.
Nikki is offline  
Old Dec 17th, 2008, 01:13 AM
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 1,930
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I'm totally agreeing w/Nikki's comment. Have only been twice.

Isn't it grand your daughter, the budding oenophile, is showing you the sights???
Rhea58 is offline  
Old Dec 17th, 2008, 05:04 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 3,221
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
hazel - sorry if the title offends you. I meant no offense. You don't have to read the report. "Crazzies" refers to the fact we have sometimes visited places around the world in the offseason. Sometimes we've been told we're "crazy" for doing so. But we have our reasons and have enjoyed every trip - and especially this trip to Greece.

Thanks to TDudette, hetismij, Nikki, and Rhea58.

Hope it's helpful.

Nov 28

The morning dawns bright and clear. The early sun on the stark whitewashed houses and blue-tiled roofs is soft and almost sensual. Truly a sight to enjoy.

Breakfast is served on the terrace. Good as usual.

Alisi tells us the bus service in offseason is very erratic so we decide to rent a car. She and her staff are extremely helpful. We can't say enough good things about them - unusually accommodating.

Car is delivered outside. Agent points out it's on empty and says to stop at nearest station and put "10 units in" [assume he means litres]. He says that will be enough to explore island all day - which it does.

We drove to Akrotiri. It was closed and from the appearance of the signs and condition of the gates, it's been closed for some time. Same was true with Ancient Thira.

We head into Fira. Most shops are open, so we explore and find some beautiful Greek glassware. They use an infusion method which produces stricking colors and patterns.

Eat lunch at El Greco Taverna. Have Greek Salad (what else with those wonderful tomatoes?), chicken souvlaki with rice and veggies, gyros with fries and veggies (great fries) and Mythos beer and cokes. Total is E29.

We follow signs back to Oia, but end up on the coast road rather than the main highway past Cape Kouloumbo. Turns out to be a nice relaxing drive. We pass a shipwright hand building a wooden boat plank by plank that appears to be about 40 ft long. Hull was about 2/3 finished. We stop and watch him - fascinating.

We arrive back at the hotel late afternoon and are told Alex will take us to dinner again at 20:00.

What happens next is the most disconcerting cultural clash we've encountered in a very long time. Alex picks us up and is obviously very upset. He says that a couple from S. Korea that have been staying at the hotel have complained about the Greek food (can't imagine, but we all have our preferences). They've told the staff they had a great meal last night in the apt and that they had cat!. The staff later that day confirmed it (the details of which I won't give) but it was one of the staff's favorite pets. We've always been very receptive to cultural differences which is why we like to travel so much, but this was a little much.

We end up going to Finika, which is a town next to Oia. Alex explains that decades ago, Finika was established by people who couldn't afford to live in Oia so it's much more low key than Oia.

Ate at Kriona Taverna. It was excellent. Assortment of mezedes: steamed field greens with lemon juice, fried cheese, beef sausage, Greek village sausage, Greek salad, mixed green salad and fava bean spread. Main dishes included pork steak, beef steak, lamb slow-cooked in ceramic pot with wine, beef tips braised in wine (to die for), local red and white wine and finally shots of ouzo. Very, very good. Came to E25/person.

Nov 29

Sunny but windy this am so we have breakfast inside. Get ready for flight back to Athens. Driver picks us up and we left on time on Aegean at 14:50. Got some pretty decent pictures of Santorini as we fly over. Bumpy flight due to front approaching Athens, but landed on time at 15:35. Clearly had been raining, but has stopped.

Check back into the Athens Gate. Tried to give bellhop E5 note for helping with bags but he said it was too much and before I could get out some coins, he had left. Dropped off bags and went to daughter's apt.

Decided to stop at market near her apt and picked up roasted chicken, eggplant, stuff for Greek salad. Prices were very reasonable and good local wines could be bought for around E5-6. We then stopped by bakery she frequents next door. This is where she leads us the the best chocolate cake we have EVER had - EVER. Simply amazing! It look like a plain chocolate pan cake - but the taste is anyting but. Everything in the shop looks wonderful. The staff recognize her the minute she walks in (and they give all a free cookie when we leave).

Talking on the way to the apt it's clear daughter and her roommates love this bakery. (We later conclude she's apparently been living on Greek Salads and the chocolate cake for the past 3 months)

[Over the next several days, we're struck by the number and quality of bakeries in Athens. We've been to some really fine shops in Paris, Vienna and Rome, but Greek bakeries don't take second place to those IMO].

Tomorrow - the sights of Athens on Sun.
dfr4848 is offline  
Old Dec 17th, 2008, 05:18 AM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 437
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Thanks for your report, I haven't been to Greece in almost 10 years, but I would love to go back. Is your daughter fluent in Greek ?

I was really getting into your descriptions about the food, until I read about the poor cat. That is horrible.
kellyee21 is offline  
Old Dec 17th, 2008, 05:29 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 6,954
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Thanks for posting this report. Very informative. I'm planning a trip to the same places for next summer. One question - you mentioned your view of the parthenon from dinner that first night had no scaffolding or cranes. How much of it does have scaffolding? How much in general did you encounter. Not that there's anything I can do about it, but for some reason I prefer to be prepared - I hate getting to somewhere expecting a fabulous site and finding it covered in scaffolding, I'd rather know in advance.
isabel is offline  
Old Dec 17th, 2008, 05:53 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 3,221
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Nov 30

Bright sunny day with promises of a little warmer temps.

Meet daughter and head for the flea market. What wonderful chaos. Classic tourist wares, but some interesting things like old Greek coins and stamps. Some stalls look as if someone decided to clean out their closets, but it's all very interesting.

Head over to Central Market, but it's pretty dead except for a few fruit and vegetable stands. Then head over to Omonioa Sq, which is definitely the melting pot for Athens. Great people watching.

Then over to the Nat Bank of Greece headquaters - very modern building but built on foundation of a 2,500 yr wall. Daughter then shows us a dig nearby in which old tombs have been unearther. She points out that you can tell these were Roman because of all the brick that's used in the vaults - Greeks didn't use brick; only the Romans.

Back through Plaka again and to the Panacia Gorgeopikoos, a 12th Century church known as the Little Cathedral. Very intricate carvings. It's next to Mitropoli Cathedral.

We notice an amazing feature of Athens - the preservation of old churches and chapels of different faiths to the point where you'll be in a modern square or street and smack dab in the middle is an ancient religious structure.

We have lunch at the Center for Hellenic Tradition: ham/cheese/tomato toasted sandwiches, Greek salad, and tzatziki (Greek yogurt with cumcumbers) - all quite good. Total with drinks is E11.50. The Center has some very fine examples of Greek arts and crafts, most of which are for sale. But we didn't see much that was under E100.

We then visit Agios Nikolaos Ragavos, an 11th Century Byzantine chapel and Lysikratous, a circular monument built in 334 BC and anmed after a winning team of actors.

We then head over to Stavros Melissinos' shop who's known as The Poet. He makes leather goods, including custom fitted sandals. (The owner strikes more as resembling Beethoven than a Greek poet). He's become well known for making sandals for the rich and famous (John Lennon, Jackie Onassis) as well as the sandals worn at the opening ceremony of the 04 Olympics (I'm seeing visions of euros floating in my head). This is the one thing daughter says she wants. So she get fitted and I ask the price - E25! Can't believe it. They're very simple but beautifully made.

We then head back past the Roman Agora and Tower of the Winds to daughter's apt. Dinner is left overs, some pasta - and that to-die-for chocolate cake.

After today, we confirm a few observations we made on our very first day in Athens:
- stop lights are for cars and buses; they're only suggestions for motorcycles
- that green walk light doesn't mean to walk: wait until the traffic clears, then run, avoid the motorcycles if you can and pray you get to the other side before the light changes. Otherwise you're likely to be Athens version of road kill.
- pedestrians NEVER have the right of way
- with all of the above, I've been trying to figure out how those dogs get across the street. Daughter explains that they've learned to wait on the corner and then go when the people do. Sure enough, that's what they do. Pretty amazing.

Tomorrow - finally, the Acropolis.
dfr4848 is offline  
Old Dec 17th, 2008, 06:00 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 3,221
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Kelley21 - thanks. Daughter is taking modern Greek but she's not fluent yet, but can carry on a basic conversation. However she can interpret all those incriptions on the monuments!

isabel - at least on our visit, the south side (which was the view from our hotel) had no cranes or scaffolding. The north side had quite a bit. Don't know how often this changes. We did notice that on Sun (at least the 2 that we were there) they lowered the cranes - so the pictures on those days from our hotel are really nice.
dfr4848 is offline  
Old Dec 17th, 2008, 06:07 AM
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 1,429
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Thanks for the report, brings back memories of my 2007 trip.
I was happily reading along until I got to the cat!! Oh My! I got upset just reading that.
MarthaT is offline  
Old Dec 17th, 2008, 06:37 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 3,221
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I really debated about whether to mention the cat incident. But it was part of our experience and pointed out how different our cultural perpectives can be. So I decided to include, but apologize if it was too much.

Dec 1

Another sunny pleasant day and we ditch the jackets in the afternoon.

Daughter doesn't have classes on Mon so today is the Acropolis. As I mentioned earlier, our hotel is less than a 5 min walk to one of the entrances (very short distance from the Akropoli metro stop).

This is the 8th time she's been to the Acropolis so once again she's a great guide. Not crowded at all - maybe 100 people at the top. She gives us the details on
Temple of Athena Nike
Stoa of Eumanes
Theatre of Dionysos
Theatre of Herones Atticus

Words really don't justify the experience. Pretty overwhelming. The marble walkways shine in the sun with so much wear and it's really hard to grasp over 2,000 years of human activity on this very place. Wow is all I can say.

DW a little under the weather today so we don't push it.

We exit from the North Entrance and pass the Institute of Greek Language. Daughter's been here several times and says this is the center and repository for all Greek language and official interpretations. The brass plague on the front is well worn with people rubbing it for luck and knowledge.

We took a break from usual fare and went to daughter's favorite Thai restaurant in Plaka for lunch - the Noodle Bar. Had 3 huge plates of noodles with chicken, shrimp, scallions, ginger, peppers and cashews in Thai pepper sauce. Excellent. With drinks, total was E26.

We then walk to Parliament and wait for changing of the guard ceremony. DW particularly likes to see these whereever we are.

Walk past the numerous embassies and parks near Parliament.

For dinner, we treat daughter and 2 of her roommates to pizza and wine at Ciao's near their school. Total for 5 is E40.

Tomorrow - more of Athens and our personal disaster.
dfr4848 is offline  
Old Dec 17th, 2008, 07:24 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 3,221
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Dec 2

Wake up to mostly cloudy skies, but clears up in pm. Temps pleasant at high 60s. No jackets needed.

After breakfast at hotel, head off to Ancient Agora and Museum at Stoa at Attatus. The Museum is well worth it. Its exhibits are set in chronological order, so the various transition stages are unusually interesting. The Agora backs up to the metro (which is above ground at this location) and across from it are shops and stores which host the Flea Market. Can't help but notice the juxtaposition of 2,500 of Athens history within a span of 100 yards.

Walk by the Presidential Palace, around which there are lots of military today.

Walk through Pangrati on way to daughter's school on Varnava Sq. Got lunch from local bakery - freddo cappucino, mocha chino, cokes, spinach and cheese pastry, salami/cheese/tomato sandwich on sesame bread and a turkey sandwich. Total was E8.8.

Shopping was on the list today but first we take metro and stop at the site of 2004 Olympics. Disaster! As I'm getting off the metro, I realize wallet is gone. Double check and it's not there. When I'm on vacation I only take a very small wallet with drivers license and the credit cards I'm using. It was in front pocket with my camera bag over it. He/she still managed to get it, but all the money in same pocket is there. Use daughter's cell phone and have cards put on 24 hr freeze/alert in case it may have just fallen out in her apt. Good move. Find out the next day that someone tried to take E400 out of an account but didn't work due to the freeze. Cancelled cards, but daughter and DW still have theirs. Could've been worse, but lesson learned. Still can't figure how someone got into front pocket and took wallet but left money.

Anyway, the Olympic site is very impressive. The main stadium is a beautiful structure. It was a little eerie. We're about the only ones there and it's clearly being underutilized. Saw some swimmers practicing and soccer teams playing but that's it.

As we were leaving, had a gorgeous sunset.

Daughter had some homework so DW and I returned and had dinner at the hotel with its awesome view of the Acropolis. Shared Greek salad, she had grilled chicken fillets with wine and mustard sauce with basmati rice, I had grilled veal with fries and grilled tomatoes, and white wine from Crete. Very, very good. Total was E73.

Tomorrow - the Keromikos, Central Market and Nat. Arch. Museum
dfr4848 is offline  
Old Dec 17th, 2008, 07:42 AM
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 489
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
dear dfr4848,
i'm from Greece and really enjoying reading your trip report and glad that your daughter is enjoying Athens as well

I wanted to ask you something though that i didn't understand about the cat.. Are you saying that the koreans ate cat???? That they've ordered cat? i'M SO SHOCKED but maybe i didn't understand correctly. WE DON'T EAT CATS NEVER NEVER EVER!!!!!! Sometimes we make a joke that a meat (lamb or chicken or whatever is from a cat as there are so many on the streets. But ONLY as a joke!!

I'm mortified to hear that they actually meant it! Please clarify it for me because i'm truly shocked with that
cristine27 is offline  
Old Dec 17th, 2008, 08:08 AM
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 170
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
What a wonderful trip report. It's making me think I should move Athens up on my list of places to visit.
elburr is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Do Not Sell My Personal Information

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 10:58 AM.