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Santorini, May 12-June 7...Let's meet for a glass of wine!

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Jan 4th, 2005, 12:53 PM
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Santorini, May 12-June 7...Let's meet for a glass of wine!

Greetings Fellow Travellers!

I will be in the most beautiful village of Oia, Santorini from May 12 through June 7. If you'd like to meet for a glass of ouzo or wine contact me through Markos Karvounis at Karvounis Tours in the middle of Oia next to the main square. Ask for Lee Marks.
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Jan 5th, 2005, 07:27 AM
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Hi -- Sadly we will miss you by one week! We are making our first trip to Santorini (and Greece for that matter) and you were kind enough to respond to my Easter post a while back.

Since you seem like an expert on Santorini, I was wondering if you have a Santorini journal or Fodors thread with your trip recommendations, sites, restaurants, etc. We're trying to create our own guide since many of the books we've purchased don't seem to do Santorini justice.

Thanks! -Kristen
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Jan 5th, 2005, 10:47 AM
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Hi Kristen-

I'm sorry to hear that we'll be missing each other by a week, but I'm glad to know that you're going to get to experience my favorite island in Greece! As for a journal or Fodor's thread you can refer to, no. I'm way too lazy! Besides, I'd rather respond to specific questions here and in other travel forums on the net.

One reason you haven't been able to find out too much about Santorini is because it's a relatively small island and in reality there isn't a whole lot to "do" there aside from a few tried and true attractions which I will be happy to tell you about here, although you've probably already found references to them. Overall Santorini has a slow pace, which is one of the reasons I like it so much.

There are a couple of archaeological sites. Ancient Thira on the top of the stone mountain overlooking Kamari Beach, is a small classical setting with some ruins and the remains of an amphitheatre. Not all that complex but an interesting setting nonetheless. The main site is Akrotiri, an ongoing excavation that I've visited a few times over the years. Even though they have not yet uncovered very much of the city (apparently it's huge), they have exposed enough so that you can get a feel for what it must have been like there before it was destroyed. Definitely worth a look. When I was first there in 1985 you could actually walk around these sites with little or no restriction as to access, but now the visitors are limited to a pre-designated walk that helps preserve the integrity of the site. Maybe not as fun but still interesting. I have read complaints in other postings about the access through the site being even more restricted than usual due to construction, but since I've not been there in many years I can't comment.

Fira, the main village has the most variety of shops and restaurants on the island. Be sure to take the time to have a drink and watch the sunset from Franco's Bar, named in the '80's in Newsweek as a "Top-10 World-Class Bar" or some such nonsense. Franco once told me he kicked Darryl Hannah out of his establishment for drunken disorderliness (she was filming Summer Lovers on the island at the time).

The two main beach areas, Perissa and Kamari are worth a look, but be sure to wear some reef shoes or flip-flops because they are black sand/rock beaches and get very hot, hot enough to burn the bottoms of your feet. Akrotiri is a red rock beach near the archaeological site. In Oia there is Baxedes beach on the east side of the island opposite the caldera. I prefer the caldera side, but apparently Baxedes is gaining in popularity as a beach attraction. Below Oia is Amoudi Beach, another red rock beach, very small, that you can get to by walking down the steps from Oia or by road around the very end of the island. On the dock there is one of our favorite restaurants, Katina's, where we would go after a day of sunbathing on "The Rock", our favorite place to enjoy the sea. Just walk to the left from Amoudi along the path until you can't walk anymore and you'll see it just in front of you, a short swim in shallow water to a great platform where you can enjoy some peace and quiet and an unparalleled view of the island.

Oia has some very nice upscale boutiques, jewelry shops and antique/collectibles shops.

I can't recommend any restaurants in Fira. I have read about Senor Zorba's and it sounds like fun.

My friends in Oia have an older brother who has his own restaurant, Poseidon, so most of my meals are taken there. This is where a lot of Greeks go to eat so I guess it must be pretty good. I'm a vegetarian and consequently can't comment on most of the food in the restaurants. On the gourmet end in Oia I can recommend the Oia Cafe-Restaurant, Ambrosia and "1800". All have reputations for very good food, service and wines. I've eaten at the Oia Cafe-Restaurant and can attest to the quality. Less expensive but still very good is the restaurant at Laokasti Villas on the other end of the village by the church of St. George. I've eaten there many times. Skala and Ambrosia are also very popular. About halfway along the path from the bus stop to the main square is a restaurant with very reasonable prices and good food. I can't remember the name, however it's not to be confused with the taverna right at the bus stop. There must be at least 20 restaurants in Oia to choose from.

I just remembered another activity that might interest you. There's an excursion boat that has full and half-day trips from Fira to Therassia, Oia and Nea Kameni, the volcanic island just offshore of Santorini. There's a hot springs out there and I believe that you get a chance to wallow in the hot mud.

I know I'm not remembering everything that's available to you on Santorini, but I hope I've given you some things to look forward to. Here's a website I just found with more options:

http://www.yasou.org/santorini/Default.htm

If you have more questions you can contact me at [email protected], just put a reference to Santorini on the subject line so I don't delete it as SPAM.

Happy Travels!

Lee
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Jan 5th, 2005, 11:05 AM
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Lee, we will be in Oia some time during your stay....right now we have reservations at Esperas 5/30 to 6/3. We really want to include a few days on Folegandros but won't know the ferry schedules til March. We're hoping Esperas will be able to move our four nights depending on the ferries.
Do you happen to know if there are any charter boats that could be hired for the trip to Folegandros?
Would love to meet for a glass of wine!
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Jan 5th, 2005, 11:22 AM
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Lee --

Thank you for taking so much time to give so many recommendations for Santorini. I am especially grateful for your restaurant recommendation, as I too am a vegetarian...always a challenge to eat on the go, so I'm glad that I will have some good options while in Greece. I will definitely check out the link you sent, and I appreciate your offer to email you. Thank you!

Judy --

I will be at Esperas from Apr 28 to May 5. I'll warm the place up for you!
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Jan 5th, 2005, 12:38 PM
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Judy-

I'm sorry, but I don't know if there are any charters available to take you to Folegandros. My first reaction is that even if there are you might not want to pay the price. I'm sure it would be extremely expensive. Have you asked at Esperas? Surely they'd be able to tell you.

Looking forward to sharing some wine with you and yours. First round's on me! Please be sure to contact me when you're in Oia through Markos Karvounis. By the way, Markos is an excellent source for information and bookings, perhaps he knows of a private charter. [email protected]

beanweb24-finding veggie food in Greece is ease as long as you eat cheese-Greek salads and spinace/feta pie......mmmmmm!
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Jan 5th, 2005, 01:23 PM
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P.S.-

Don't be surprised if Markos doesn't answer his email. He's not as diligent as I would hope he would be.
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Jan 5th, 2005, 01:38 PM
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Thanks for the information, Lee. I have contacted Julia Mavrelou at Esperas and she's researching charters for us. My husband and I are traveling with another couple so we're hoping it may be something we can do!

I'm finding it difficult to coordinate interisland travel when a less "popular" island is involved. We can fly Athens to Santorini but can't ferry to Folegandros the same day. On return we can't ferry Folegandros to Santorini and fly out the same day. I'm trying to avoid one night stays as we're moving every 3-4 days as it is!

Our tentative plan now, since Ms. Pateli with Anemomilos Apartments on Folegandros says the current ferry schedules will most likely stay as is with more routes added in May, is to arrive in Athens and ferry to Hydra for a few days. There is a ferry from Piraeus to Folegandros leaving at 3 pm and arriving around midnight on Wednesdays, then on Saturday ferry from Folegandros to Santorini. Hope it works!

Thanks for all of the information you share...we've used a lot in our planning and we'd love to meet you for drinks but we insist on buying!

Judy
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Jan 5th, 2005, 03:14 PM
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Judy, a word of caution about the ferry schedules. Although it may be true that the existing schedule will apply in April-May, don't be too surprised if that proves false. The Greeks have their own definition of consistency and the schedules can change with little or no warning. In the case of Folegandros, because it's not one of the more popular islands, I'm guessing that the schedule has been fixed for a long time and more than likely won't change unless something unforseen happens. But that doesn't include the spontaneous acts of nature like big winds that can come up without warning. Just don't plan your ferry use without giving yourself a small cushion of an extra day before you have to make any other connection by plane or ferry, or you might find yourself stranded. In other words, make sure you have a little extra time to burn so you don't miss a flight from Santorini back to Athens if that's the way you plan to go, or by ferry for that matter. You do also have the option of taking the Flying Dolphin fast boat from Santorini to Mykonos where you can catch another fast boat back to Piraeus. Here's a link to their website in case you don't already have it:

http://www.greekislands.gr/hfd/
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Jan 6th, 2005, 02:36 AM
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Lee, we're ending our trip with three days in Athens based on your past advise regarding ferry service. If we get stuck on an island for an extra day or two, we'll just have to make the best of it!
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Jan 6th, 2005, 08:58 AM
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For the sake of caution saving Athens until the end is definitely a good idea. If you plan to spend some time there before hitting the islands you might feel like you've "been there, done that" when you return, so think about renting a car for day trips to Delphi and/or Meteora as an option, or even an overnighter to the Peloponnesos, maybe to Monemvasia. But if you are saving your exploration of Athens for the end, 3 days is just about right to see the local sights.

Be sure to go to the amazing National Archaeological Museum, and take a ride up Lycabettus Hill on the funicular from the Kolonaki district. There's a restaurant up there for a nice lunch. To get there, follow the “telepherique” signs to the corner of Kleomenous and Ploutarchou Streets, between Kolonaki Square and the Athens Hilton.
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