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London and Greece - Taggie's epic trip report

London and Greece - Taggie's epic trip report

Sep 19th, 2004, 06:55 PM
  #21  
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Thanks Mimi... I have been reading your trip report on France. How do you remember so much without keeping a diary? I'm so impressed!!
I've included my Greece report in this thread, but it's not yet finished. I'm psyching myself up - once the trip report's done then the holiday will be well and truly over, ...so I suppose I'm trying to delay it a bit.

I know you will be sad to read about the animals....
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Sep 20th, 2004, 04:15 PM
  #22  
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Last installment....

Saturday Sept 11 (Mykonos)
We had planned to take a boat to Delos to look at the ruins, but there were huge whitecaps on the ocean this morning. When Stavroula at the hotel checked, she was told the boats were not running due to the wind. In fact, she was wearing a winter sweater and said the weather was more like it is in late October than mid-September.
So, plan B.
The 4 of us headed, via bus, to check out some of the beaches. First up was Psarou. It was a bit treacherous to walk down the hill to it, but what a nice reward when we arrived. It was still quite early, around 10:00, and there were only a couple a people there. The attendants were just putting out the pale blue towels on the chairs in front of the Nammos restaurant. The beach was lovely and sheltered.
Since it was so early, we decided to walk along and check out some of the other beaches before it got hot and busy.
Next along is Platis Gialos. It's also sheltered and has more restaurants, touristy shops, etc.
And further around the corner is Agios Anna. There are 2 restaurants there; one, Nicholas, had been recommended to us by a Greek-Aussie waiter in Mykonos. The beach, though, was very windy and looked kind of sad. There wwere bamboo windbreaks set up in between the chairs. It looked quite bedraggled.
We continued walking along the headland, around the corner to Paranga.
This beach wasn't yet crowded but there were already quite a few nudists ensconsed. Not for us. We decided against going further, to Paradise.
So now we had to pick a spot. I had printed off several entries from this forum about Psarou and was looking forward to spending time there; unfortunately, B & S, the couple we were with, did not like the sounds of it at all (they hate any techno music and love cheap beer). So in the interests of keeping the peace, DH and I capitulated and we opted for Platis Gialos, our friends mistakenly thinking they could drink cheap beer there.
I had quite a nice time, people-watching, dozing, chatting and reading. We got talking to a neighbouring Irish couple who go there every year. Our friends B & S are huge fans of Shirley Valentine so the Irish couple told them where they could find the location. We hoped to get there the next day.
The sun had taken its toll on us and we opted for an early dinner before heading back to town. We walked over to Nicholas and it was, ummm, interesting. This was the only substandard moussaka my friend S had on the whole trip. DH and I shared some roasted peppers, dolmades and pastitsio; all were good. B had a horribly dry fish; he chose it because he was craving roast potatoes and this was the only thing that didn't have french fries as potato.
Then we headed back, via bus, to the hotel. Tere was another chance for DH and I to have some time alone and go for a stroll.
The next morning, surprisingly, the boats to Delos were running. Didn't look any less windy to me! But I was happy because I wanted to see the ruins there. The ride over was a little dicey to our minds, but not long. Delos was wonderful. It's hard to believe people are allowed to just climb all over such precious ruins! We ended up staying for longer than we'd planned; it wasn't too hot and we found it fascinating. The museum was wonderful. But how on earth (and why on earth) would cats be there?
The ride back was hairier than the ride over. Lots of spray flying up and lurching from side to side and up and down. Really like a roller coaster! It was interesting to watch the faces of the other passengers; S was thinking that'd be the end for her.
We took some time to regroup at the hotel, then headed out to Ornos Bay to see the famous Shirley Valentine spot. S posed for lots of pictures and video to show her girlfriends back home. We thought of having dinner, but ended up just having a couple of drinks as the service was so terrible (and this was the only place in Greece that we found had dirty facilities). Nice beach, though.
Once back in Mykonos town we found a great spot to watch the sunset - south of the windwills, in between the Fabrica and Xenia areas; there's a path that runs alongside a big hotel complex (can't remember the name!). Great view, not crowded, and it was nicely sheltered from the fierce wind.
Then dinner in town and back to pack up for our departure the next day.

Monday Sept 13 - back to Athens
This was a bit of a horror show. We'd booked the hotel shuttle but it was late. We got to the ferry in just the nick of time. Then, a couple of our seats were occupied. One woman moved but another wouldn't; the steward tried to get me to sit in her seat but I balked as I can't sit facing backwards or I get sick. Our group worked it out amongst ourselves, then the guys went off to stand at the rear anyway. This woman was sprawled all over the place, coughing everywhere without covering her mouth, so S and I went to stand with the guys. Then, the woman vomited all over the place and fainted. Other passengers came to her aid; not me I'm afraid, because there would've even more vomit. The staff was very ineffective. She should have been moved to a sick room, but they just brought some napkins and water and left her. We refused to go back to those seats! Anyway, she got off a couple of stops later, at Siros. But we still refused to go back to those seats!
Upon arrival in Athens, we came to be haunted by a recommendation we'd had from our cab driver when leaving Piraeus - that we book a cab for our arrival. No need, we thought. Yikes. Famous last words. We were herded past cabs waiting for their fares, out onto the streets, where a mad scramble to try and convince cabs to stop had commenced. No way did they want to pick up people with luggage - they didn't seem to want to pick up anyone. This was going to take forever!
Then, a miracle. A cab driver tapped my DH on the shoulder; his fare hadn't shown and he thought we looked like nice people so if we'd accompany him to his car he'd be happy to drive us. The biggest yippee of all!!
What a wonderful guy. Turns out he had a girlfriend for 7 years when he was younger who was Canadian. He was full of great stories, like how they opened a shop on the Plaka with no money while they were students, and it grew into 3 shops. And how she had not been able to study for her college exams at one point and was worried about failing; unbeknownst to her he called the college, disguising his voice, and said there was a bomb in the examination hall, which meant the exams were cancelled and she had a couple of extra days to study. (That was a long time ago obviously!)
We booked him for our 4 am pickup the next morning too, to take us to the airport. Meanwhile it took our friends 45 minutes to get a cab, and even then they didn't have the address of their hotel and the driver had never heard of it - so they drove around Omonia looking for 30 minutes. Oh dear.

For our last night in Athens we ate once again at the 5 Brothers. The 4 of us were joined by another friend/coworker who was back in Athens to work the Paralympics, after being at home for the 2 weeks we'd been holidaying. It felt strange, that he'd been home and back, and now he'd be staying, and we wouldn't see him for a few more weeks. Funny business.

Sept 14
Up too early - 3:15. Cab was on time. Made my VAT refund claim at customs at the airport with no trouble.

I posted on the thread about upgrades about our return flight on Lufthansa. I was in business class, on points. DH was in steerage, in a window seat, and very, very ill. They certainly would not upgrade him, even though there were tons of empty seats up front and he is an elite member on their partner Air Canada (which will upgrade people when they have seats, and had upgraded the Lufthansa frequent flyer and his family that I sat beside on the way over). Lufthansa wouldn't allow us to switch seats, or even change DH to an aisle seat. So while I was phycisally very comfy on the flight home, I felt guilty as can be and really couldn't fully enjoy it.
I'm not sure if the vomiting woman on the ferry gave us something, but we've both been pretty ill and feverish since we got home. And I have a mysterious, severe acne breakout on my neck (I get acne at this age? What's with that?).

I must admit, I welcomed sleeping in my own bed once again. And it was very nice to see the green mountains when we got home. That's the beauty of a trip - although it's sad to return, it does make you appreciate some of the things about home that you take for granted.

That I love London goes without saying; it's still one of my favourite cities and I will be back within a couple of years I'm sure.
I loved Greece a lot. The scenery was unimaginably beautiful. The people, so lovely. But the whole time I was being beguiled by the sights I was sickened by the plight of the animals. It upset me enough that I couldn't fully enjoy the charms of Greece, and for that reason I don't know that I will ever go back.
taggie is offline  
Sep 20th, 2004, 04:40 PM
  #23  
 
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Thanks taggie for a great report. Our usual visits to Rochari are early June or October when the hotel is quieter. Luckily, we have never had the noise you describe.

All hotels on the island have a large number of gay visitors, part of the great mix of people and cultures the island is famous for.

This link to the local Mykonos animal charity may interest youbr />
http://mykonos-accommodation.com/friends-of-animals.htm
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Sep 20th, 2004, 05:01 PM
  #24  
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Thanks Bill. I will definitely check out that link! I have really appreciated all your info, and the info on animals especially.
Interesting your mention of different cultures; we were surprised with Greece as a whole that it seemed a pretty homogenous society. But then, Vancouver (and London where I'd just arrived from) is very ethnically diverse so I guess I'm used to a lot more faces of colour.
I was aware that Mykonos has a long-standing rep as a gay-friendly spot. I know a number of people who've gone there for that reason, so it's not something I wasn't expecting. Just found it surprising that we were so in the minority at that hotel at that time(I know some are exclusively for gay clients and I actually wondered for a bit if that's what the Rochari was! But maybe that's the case with lots of the hotels in town, and less so at the beach resort hotels?). Also, one of the guys I was talking to seemed very, very interested as to how I'd found the hotel and that got me wondering as well, if he knew something I didn't.
Anyway, it was good value with a great location and view, had a wonderful staff, and overall I wasn't unhappy there. And it was quite a bit quieter the last night.... I think while we were there, there was a big bunch who knew each other and that carried out into the hallways.

By the way, our photos are so, so beautiful. We had a laptop along and downloaded off our digital cards, onto a CD each night, so we could take zillions of pics. There's nothing like that light while the sun is setting!
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Sep 20th, 2004, 05:41 PM
  #25  
 
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I think the trip reports were excellent, and as a devoted journal writer I must add that the details really make the journal more interesting. Keep it up.
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Sep 20th, 2004, 06:50 PM
  #26  
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What's funny about me is that I am fine when typing on a computer... part of my job involves some writing so it's something I do and something I enjoy, though it's hard to get started sometimes. Where I run into a big problem is when I have to write longhand. Re-reading any of my previous journal entries is disappointing - they're not good! Also, I get impatient and give up easily. My writing can't keep up with the thoughts pouring out, and I also can't go back and correct or change words.
Next trip, I swear, I'll make a more concerted effort to journal, because I know I've already forgotten so much.
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Sep 21st, 2004, 11:39 AM
  #27  
 
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hi taggie

the hotel is definately for all folks and does not 'target' particular groups.

Also, as far as I am aware they do not advertise in in any journals 'specialist' or otherwise. Last June when we visited it was mostly Greek families that were lodging there so they do have a mixture of guests.

I still believe you'd have found much the same at most other hotels in town. Isn't it great though that no matter what the sexual preference is, everybody there just seems to get along just fine.
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Sep 21st, 2004, 06:53 PM
  #28  
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hi Bill - Yes, I sure didn't see in anything I read that it was targetting certain groups - I just wondered once I was there and especially when I was really questioned about my choice by one of the guys I met by the pool. I do agree that most of the hotels in town would have been the same, but staying at one the resorts wouldn't have given us the same true Mykonos experience. I'm not knocking Mykonos for being gay friendly. Like I mentioned, a number of coworkers and friends go there for that reason - they feel more welcome than at some other islands. I hope I haven't come across as intolerant. Sometimes things are hard to properly convey in writing, and I've been worried people would misconstrue.
Now that I've returned to work my work buddy (a gay guy) has been chuckling away at the story. Mostly about some of the stuff I saw by the pool - I didn't think I had much more to learn but I was wrong...
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Sep 22nd, 2004, 09:18 AM
  #29  
 
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>I hope I haven't come across as intolerant. Sometimes things are hard to properly convey in writing, and I've been worried people would misconstrue<

Of course you haven't come across as intolerant. I found your thoughts fascinating.

I'm not going to ask what you saw at the pool but hoping now that maybe, when I sunbathe there in a weeks time I too get the chance to learn something!!!
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Sep 22nd, 2004, 07:51 PM
  #30  
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I didn't realize you are going there so soon! Please check on Football the kitty for me and see if his chin abscess has healed. He's the white-with-grayish splotches and the very light eyes guy, with the softest, sleekest fur imaginable. He loves to socialise with the folks at the pool.

I've been racking my brain to try and think of a way to describe the scenery on display at the pool but I haven't yet thought of a way to get it by the censors. It has to do with arranging equipment to display it to best advantage...

I hope you have a wonderful trip!
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Sep 22nd, 2004, 08:19 PM
  #31  
 
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Terrific report! We are doing the London/ Athens trip in November. Any recommendations for islands in the winter? The Lonely Planet book lists so many I am overwhelmed.
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Sep 22nd, 2004, 09:11 PM
  #32  
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I can't really give you much advice as far as islands go, 'cause I've only been to the two. Santorini basically shuts down in the winter - most of the hotels and restaurants close; even the doctors leave, so I wouldn't recommend you go there unless you like it REALLY quiet. Mykonos goes pretty much year-round.
I'm sure some other posters can give more advice. Maybe try a separate post?
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Sep 23rd, 2004, 04:08 PM
  #33  
 
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hi taggie

sure I'll check out Football for you and will post back here to keep you up to date about how he his.

.......and I take it you aren't talking about the poolside fire equipment LOL
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Sep 25th, 2004, 10:54 AM
  #34  
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LOL Bill! Not the original use for the equipment in question, but I guess it'd do in an emergency!!
By the way, if I haven't thanked you already for the advice I gleaned from you in the planning stages of this trip, let me thank you now.
Hope you have a great trip!
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Oct 8th, 2004, 03:36 PM
  #35  
 
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hi taggie

Just a quick message to let you know Football is fine and there is now no sign of the abcess. The pool bar is now closed as it is close to the season's end and Mary has moved up to the terrace bar.

Each evening we saw Football follow Mary around 'upstairs' and she is caring for him.

The hotel will close for the winter soon but listening to Mary I am sure she has plans for Football. Let's hope so.

bill
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Oct 12th, 2004, 02:57 PM
  #36  
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Bill, you are so sweet to give me the update on Football, and Mary too - a great gal.
I really appreciate it.
Hope you enjoyed your trip! Or maybe you are not back yet??
We have just put our Mykonos and Santorini photos onto a CD with music from a Michalis Hatziyammis CD we bought in Greece; I was watching/listening last evening and reliving our wonderful trip.
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Oct 12th, 2004, 04:37 PM
  #37  
 
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taggie

We are back home as this was only a one week trip.

We have been visiting the island for many years but this time around we saw more cats than ever before. Fortunately they all looked reasonably well fed too, which made a very pleasant change. There were one or two stars amongst them too especially on the narrow lane down to the harbour on the direct route from the hotel. One grey kitten in particular had an audience there most evenings!

bill
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