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21 days in Greece March 2015 Post 1

Flew from Seattle to Chicago to London and then Athens. Late afternoon Sunday 3/8.

Transfer from airport to Syntagma Square on the X95 bus Only 5 euro for both with senior discount. Note this will be the only senior discount you may get as at most sites you visit the senior discount is for EU members only and they ask to see your passport.
Stayed at the Hotel Niki in the Plake. Only about a block and ½ from where the bus stop is. Very nice property and the staff was great. I’m a professional Santa and I took a big stack of cards with me.” St. Nickolas as come to Greece on Vacation” I presented my card on registration everyplace and was Santa a hit. Hotel staff would bring their children to hotel in the morning so kids could meet Santa while he was having breakfast.

On the fast boat to Hydra on 3/13. Pretty lumpy ride over. A few passengers got seasick. It is a short trip thankfully.
Stayed at the Hotel Hydra. Fantastic! As with all places we visited we were one of the few tourists there. Many of the shops and eating places were still closed. What you had were the places that serve the community. We didn’t have a bad meal anywhere in Greece from the most fancy places in Athens right on down the list to the taverna at the end of the road Cape Tenaro.

Boat back to Athens on 3/15. Pick up a car. Car pick up point was downtown right in the heart of it all. It was a Sunday and traffic wasn’t bad at all and everyone was coming home as we were headed to Delphi. The folks at the car agency had great directions to get onto the main road and off we went. My #1 driving tip: Night prior write down in Greek that names of the major places you will be headed the next day. Unless you are on the freeway there are no signs in English and there are two Greek spellings for all cities. It was much easier for the copilot to read my notes then try and get off the map and she could say. Looking for the town the starts with backward 7, upside down v with a tail and stacked 0’s with a line thru or maybe work ends with. It really helped. We didn’t spend to much time lost and when we were we were never pressed for time. Go with the flow. Nothing was more than an afternoon drive away from the next.

3/15 Delphi we stayed at Ferdiades Hotel. Delphi is a special spot. Especially for those of us from the Northwest as it is up on the side of a mountain. Because of budget cuts the Theater was closed. Guards were slashed at many places. Some museums even had rooms closed. You could only look in the room. No entry.

3/16 Drive to Olympia. Stayed at Pelops Hotel. This is the place with three Olympic torches. Two carried by the owner and one by his son. Pretty neat. Rick is right in the book about the town being built for the tourist trade. The Archimedes Museum on the main drag of town is a must see.

3/17 drive to Kardamili. Stayed at the Notos Hotel. It is owned by the son of Lela from Lela’s Taverna fame. She is quite elderly and son also now runs the Taverna. Lela is quite famous. The Notos Hotel is another fabulous property and again we were the only folks there. Kardamili was very quiet as again not much open yet for the season. I enjoyed going down and having a glass of Ozo with the village elders while they watched endless coverage of the Greek debt crises. While in Kardamili we spent one day in the local area and drove to Cape Terano the next day. It was great with no traffic, none.

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Second Part

3/20 drive to Monevasia. Stayed at the Flower of Monemvasia. This is a go back to spot for us and will try and stay inside the fort next time. I can only imagine how neat to stay on the rock. The upper level was closed. I guess it has been for a long time.

3/21 Drive to Nafplio. Stayed at the Ippoliti Hotel. ½ block up from the waterfront. Wonderful Hotel.
WE went to Epidaurus the next day and that left time for also seeing Nafpolio.

3/23 out of Nafplio early and stop at Mycenae. Out of there early afternoon and drive to the Athens airport and fly to Santorini.
Santorini 23rd-26th. Stayed at Dana Villas on the caldera. Very nice. If you are on Santorini and need a travel agent look for Sun Marine. Maria was great. Last day there her husband drove us around the island and we had lunch as his favorite fish tavern. So good. Weather turned sour the last day and no planes so we had to do another night courtesy of the airlines. This was the only hitch in the trip. At 2030 they decided the plane wasn’t going to go and by no there are three plans of passangers who have not gotten out this day. It took until 0130 to get us into a room and it was in a large property that was just opening rooms that hadn’t been used yet this year I’m sure. First on the power went out and the second had no heat and the lights wouldn’t turn off!. So we lost a night in Athens at the Royal Olympic.

3/27 Back into Athens and splurge night at the Royal Olympic. Sure wish we would have had two. Dinner and the view. WOW! First stay in Athens we had a splurge dinner at Royal Chocolate over on the other side of the Acropolis. I think the view is better at night from that side and the meal was very tasty.

We flew to London and overnighted near the airport on 3/28 and had a London – Seattle flight home.

Big thanks to Rick for the book Athens & the Peloponnese. It was our bible. Our kids bought us a consultation prior to leaving and Pat O’Connor helped us flesh out the trip nicely. We used a travel agency on his recommendation and they along with the company they use in Greece put us in great properties.