Shirley Valentine's Greece

Old Jul 21st, 2008, 01:21 PM
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Shirley Valentine's Greece

Finally, my DH and I are looking at the possibility of going to Greece/Greek Isles next year. We would spend about two weeks there, and want to experience, part of the time, a place like the Mykonos setting of the Shirley Valentine movie. I realize that was about 20 years ago when that movie was shot. When I read descriptions of other people's trips to Greece, there's so many islands, and so much to see that it makes my head spin.

I am very concerned about motion sickness on the ferries, and wonder how I can keep that worry to a minimum, i.e., do most islands have catamaran ferries traveling between them, that minimize the problem? (Like the hi-speed ferry between Hyannis & Nantucket, for instance?) That worry is the main reason we haven't gone to Greece already.

We have FF miles for American/it's partners. I am assuming Greece is very expensive right now, and wondering how the moderate hotels stack up there? Moderate/basic is fine, as long as it's CLEAN. I'd love to stay only in Greek lodgings, and be within walking distance of restaurants, the beach, etc., at least part of the time.

We're in our 60's, and I'm a bit concerned about steep steps and tons of walking at some of the sites but I think we'll find a way. We love Greek food, beaches, taking pictures, and seeing historic areas.

Does anyone have any recommendations for best islands for us, and also, how many days would you devote to mainland Greece, and how many to the (which) islands, trying to keep ferrying to a minimum (small planes no better!)

Thanks in advance for any thoughts!
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Old Jul 21st, 2008, 01:25 PM
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Forgot to say that we're looking at the first two weeks of May, I think ...
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Old Jul 21st, 2008, 01:44 PM
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Don't know a thing about Greece but loved the movie Shirley Valentine!!! In fact I bought it on ebay.
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Old Jul 21st, 2008, 01:51 PM
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I realize that maybe "Shirley Valentine's Greece" no longer exists but ... one can always hope! It is a great movie ... Right now I'm going to google "Naxos" as I'm reading about it in someone's trip report!
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Old Jul 21st, 2008, 01:56 PM
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Have you seen Mamma Mia yet? It was also filmed on a Greek island - Skopelos? - that looks wonderful. (P.S. I also loved Shirley Valentine)
 
Old Jul 21st, 2008, 02:03 PM
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Well, the place to start would be Mykonos, of course. Early May shouldn't be too busy, although there are some student weekends during the month.

I was on Mykonos in early June this year, and one day went to Agios Ioannis, the scene of the Shirley Valentine movie. It was surprisingly unspoilt, and you can still see the taverna featured in the film.

Other islands in the Cyclades to consider would include Naxos, Paros, and Santorini. The islands are close together, and served mostly by large ferries and catamarans. Most of the area around the main towns of Naxos and Paros are fairly flat, so steep steps shouldn't be much of a problem.

Santorini has some steep steps, but choose you hotel carefully and they won't be a problem there either. Brotherleelove can help you with hotels on Santorini.



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Old Jul 21st, 2008, 02:07 PM
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Speaking of movies, Santorini was featured in Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. The sequel was actually being filmed while I was there in May 2007.
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Old Jul 21st, 2008, 02:41 PM
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Agios Ioannis where much of Shirley Valentine was filmed is my favourite part of Mykonos. The sea is always a magnificent mixture of colours and the light can be breathtaking.

Thanos (from the island) who used to post here, told us stories of pirates, mermaids and a unique way the sun affects the area. I think there is much folklore about that part of the island.

One of the best priced hotels on the island is the Manoulas Beach at Agios Ioannis which was used in the making of the movie. It's views to Delos are superb and it is a nice hotel.

The area is steep. The walk down to Shirley's taverna may be ok but walking back up could be a little difficult if you have difficulty with mobility. All in all though, if you loved the movie then you must see where it was filmed.

I have always found that the larger car ferries are more stable than other vessels. That may help if you suffer from motion sickness.

May is a great time to visit Mykonos but try and avoid the weekends closer to the end of the month. Thousands of students from Athens visit at that time to celebrate the end of their academic year.

Bill
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Old Jul 21st, 2008, 04:52 PM
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Check Greek holidays because I was there around May 1 several years ago and Mykonos was flooded with young people celebrating whatever holiday it was. Only lasted a weekend and then the town felt deserted. Mykonos is one of my favorites.

Santorini is also one of my favorites. There is a flat area of the island, but most people want to stay in a "cave" accommodation -- built into the cliff with great views, but lots of stairs.

On one trip I went to Skiathos and Skopelos, but, IMO, they did not compare favorably to Mykonos and Santorini. That was in 1992, and we encountered very few people who spoke English -- that was a plus for us. The towns felt genuine. We were able to find clean, convenient accommodations for $25 a night with breakfast for the two of us. I'm sure you won't find anything at that price any more.

I get seasick, but never had a problem on the Greek ferries or small boats. Now, when going out on water I wear a wristband specifically sold to prevent seasickness. Didn't have the bands when in Greece, but would take them next time.

Oh, I will mention that the movie "Shirley Valentine" was not completely comic in Tom Conte's role as a Greek man. I went out with a few of them many years ago knowing that it wasn't reality, and that was before "Shirley Valentine" was released. I laughed harder in the theater than the other people seated with me.
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Old Jul 21st, 2008, 06:00 PM
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Thanks to everyone who has replied so far. You're giving me just the kind of info I need. luvtotravel, that is good to hear that you've not had a problem with the Greek ferries ... did you ride the big ferries that carry cars or the smaller catamarans or both? (So you went out with some guys like Costas back in the day, huh? )

dmlove, have not seen "Mama Mia" but will make a point of it ... thanks!

Heimdall, billbarr ... great info from you guys. I would love to stay in that *Shirley Valentine* hotel. I would like a room there, looking out over the sea!

Anyone else who would like to chime in, I'd love to hear from you.
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Old Jul 21st, 2008, 06:57 PM
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I took all manner of transportation -- from hydrofoil to large ferry from Athens to Mykonos, from Mykonos to Santorini, to an overnight ferry from (I think) Paros to Rhodes, to many small boats that hold 10-12 people that go from cove to cove. I don't know why the motion was not a problem for me. I've had problems on a cruise ship and a sail boat.
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Old Jul 21st, 2008, 11:10 PM
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>>Check Greek holidays because I was there around May 1 several years ago and Mykonos was flooded with young people celebrating whatever holiday it was.<<

May Day is a public holiday in much of Europe. May 1 is Labour Day in Greece, and islands near Athens, including Mykonos, will be busy on the weekend around that date.

Bill Barr is right about the steep hill at Agios Ioannis. I took the bus there, and had to walk down from the bus stop to the beach. It isn't all that long a walk though. In fact, when I left Agios Ioannis, rather than wait for the bus back to Mykonos Town, I chose to continue over the headland to Ornos Beach, and take the bus back from there. I'm in my 60s as well. Unless you have some specific mobility issues it shouldn't be a problem.
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Old Jul 22nd, 2008, 12:26 AM
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If you are a fan of the movie " Shirley Valentine " be certain to visit or even stay by Agios Ioannis Beach.
The Hotel featured in the movie still exists - Manoulas - renovated and enlarged but still recognizable.

A nice 4 star place . It is located on the right side of the lane leading toward the beach where Shirley is seen walking several times - a nice pool and beachfront restaurnat too.
www.hotelmanoulas.gr.


The Shirley Valentine Tavern - Sunset Taverna remains much as seen in the movie - with a larger terrace- many still visit for the sunsets - remaining long after for some food and wine- often some guitar music too- also a good place for a midday food and drink- moderate prices for Mykonos - interesting wait staff too. I think some still have a" brother with a boat".

You often see someone beating the octopus on nearby rocks- not for the tourists but a needed thing to do before cooking later.

The beach still small and nice - rarely full of people -( my visits June and september)

But the entire area has many more villas, hotels etc. than seen in the movie- empty hillsides then - many buildings today.
The walk is not steep and really easy to the bus stop- 4 kilometers to town- 1,40 euro cost for a ticket.

If you wish 5 star - look to the mykonos Grand on the hillside above the beach- a very good place.

Also next to the Sunset Tavern
a small place - Agios Ioannis Beach Resort - google for a website - a usually quiet small place.

This area makes for a great visit - fun to try and remember scenes from the movie - yes you can see where Shirley sits in front of the tavern to watch sunset - beach scenes etc.
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Old Jul 22nd, 2008, 08:08 AM
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Heimdall and molker, thank you so much for all that information. I never expected to find "Shirley Valentine's Greece" still there, just hoping. I'll be back to you with more questions as my arrangements take shape. Now HOW do I allocate the 14 days in Greece? I'm thinking Mykonos and maybe Santorini, along with time in Athens. We may do guided tours of the most important sites in Athens (if we were younger, we would definitely do it on our own) Ah, decisions, decisions!
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Old Jul 22nd, 2008, 10:08 AM
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Hi, elsiemoo, My husband and I were in Greece in May of this year and loved it. However, there is a LOT of vertical in Greece -- if it's not up, it's down -- hills, steps, etc. If you have access to stairs or a stair-stepper at the gym, I would advise you to do some training before going. We are 69 and 76, fairly fit, and walk a lot, but I'm glad we prepared for the stair climbing.

We stayed at moderate/basic hotels that ranged between 80 and 130 euro double. All were comfortable, clean, ensuite, with breakfast included. I can especially recommend Hotel Cypria in Athens, 3 blocks from Syntagma Square where the airport bus arrives/departs. However, a taxi will not take you the short distance to the hotel, so you will have to (easily) roll your luggage. From our hotel we walked to the Plaka, up to the Acropolis, and to many of the other Greek ruins.

It was somewhat a culture shock to us that nowhere in Greece are you allowed to place paper in the toilet. From what I was told, it seems that the plumbing/sewer pipes are not large enough to handle the extra. All paper etc. goes into a lined and covered can and is, mercifully, removed and cleaned daily by the staff. Indelicate subject, I know, but thought I'd prepare you in case you didn't know.

Can't comment on the ferries/catamarans since we opted to fly between the islands (via Athens) using Aegean Airlines which has large, comfortable planes.

As for recommendations for days spent on islands versus mainland, only you can decide that. If you're mostly a beach/island type person, then that's your answer. While we loved Santorini, 3 nights and 2 days were adequate for us. We spent the same amount of time in Athens and found that to be adequate for seeing all the major sites. Other places we visited were Olympia, Delphi, Meteora, Thessaloniki and we felt that 1 or 2 full days were adequate for each, although you might prefer spending longer periods of time in each place you visit in order to relax and absorb the culture.

First two weeks in May this year were lovely and mostly warm although it was cooler at night on the islands (Crete and Santorini) than I expected. So do take a sweater/jacket and an umbrella for an occasional shower.

Good luck on your planning. I'm sure you'll love Greece.

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Old Jul 22nd, 2008, 10:45 AM
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crckwc1, thank you for such great info! A few questions ... did you and your husband take any guided tours, or did you do everything on your own? Your info on Aegean Airlines is helpful ... will check that out versus riding the ferries, although I think the shorter ferry rides would be fun if I can manage them.

How far ahead did you book your hotels? The one in Athens sounds good ... rolling luggage a couple of blocks would not be a problem for us.

The first two weeks in May are good as our FF miles are cheaper then, and I'd like to avoid the hottest/most crowded season.

Thanks again, crckwc1!
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Old Jul 22nd, 2008, 11:27 AM
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elsiemoo, We booked Hotel Cypria 6 months ahead with a deposit. Other things about the hotel that we particularly liked were the fantastic breakfast buffet, the pleasant and helpful English-speaking front desk staff, and the blessed air conditioning. The hotel does cater to tour groups if that's an issue with you, and probably because of the tour groups the hotel tends to book up quickly. Although the breakfast room was crowded, there was always plenty of food and always a table available. There wasn't an issue with noise at all. We found the hotel to be very quiet.

We did everything on our own, relying on our guide books (Frommer and Rick Steves, I believe), and this Fodors site. On a guided tour I think perhaps you get more information, usually get to the head of the line, and have transportation, but we prefer to go at our own pace, dawdling or rushing as we wish.

For touring mainland Greece by car, we booked ahead with Kemwel and found driving to be easy and the language not much of a problem since most signs have both Greek and Roman spellings. Although we bought a rather expensive Road Editions map of Greece, my husband prefered the Michelin map. We also rented a car on Santorini from a local rental agency and enjoyed being able to drive all around the island.

Incidentally, if you do intend to rent a car in Greece, be sure to check about the upper age limit. We learned the hard way that some countries and/or rental agencies have an upper age limit, usually somewhere between 65 and 75, and we were once left stranded without a car, due to age -- another story.
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Old Jul 22nd, 2008, 02:56 PM
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molker

<interesting wait staff too. I think some still have a" brother with a boat"<

Oh, I did look for that brother. Believe me, I surely did.

I left my husband in town and went to Agios Ioannis on my own. I fell in love with the area as soon as I arrived. Fantastic mixture of colors. The many of blue from the sea, the pink of the flowers against the dazzling white of the buildings.

A place, where Shirley was told, the sea really does 'go down for ever'.

I didn't find the Greek rock to chat to though

milley
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Old Jul 23rd, 2008, 11:45 AM
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All the little details that you guys have given me, I appreciate so much. Guidebooks are great but ... I like a voice of recent experience!

I am now going to purchase the Frommers and Rick Steves guides for Greece. Any other recommendations for books? Also, I'm thinking of learning a little Greek before I go ... have you guys who've been there really NEEDED to speak Greek at times? I figure it never hurts ...
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Old Jul 23rd, 2008, 01:35 PM
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You seldom NEED to speak Greek, but learn the words kalimera (good morning), kalispera (good evening), efharisto (thank you), parakalo (please), and yassas/yassou (hello plural/singular). I also find ya mas (cheers, good health) useful. ;-)
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