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Greece - early summer 2014

Our first trip to Greece (third week of June through first week of July - was warm but manageable). After missing our connecting flight to Santorini and re-booking on a six hour ferry, we settled into four nights at a terrific studio in Oia at Cheldonia Villa with Erika and Rose. For me two words describe Santorini – stunning (always) and crowded (sometimes). While the island is small we rented an inexpensive rental car for both logistics (travel to port) and to try to explore all of the sights around the island; both worked out well. The walk to Fira was dramatically beautiful, the sunsets from Oia were spectacular, the archeological sites were impressive, and just sitting on our balcony viewing the Caldera was memorable.

The fish tavern in Amoudi was terrific and Kyperia was so good and friendly we went twice (live music on Wed.). On another note, can someone explain just how it’s reasonable to deposit several thousands of cruise ship passengers onto a very small island for a couple hours a walking about? I’ve been to a number of other cruise ship port of calls (Lisbon, Barcelona, Dubrovnik, etc.) and never given the hordes a second thought; but, thousands of daily “visitors” to Fira and Oia is insane. The infrastructure can’t handle it – is it really an economic benefit. Oh well, sorry for the rant …
On to Mykonos, for three nights staying three nights just outside of Old Mykonos at a small hotel, Omiros. The warren of small streets were lots of fun to wander and a small rental car got us out to beaches far from the masses. Nick’s was a fun, big eating adventure but we were most impressed by Bubbles, a small bar with music in a patio. We took a half-day trip to Delos – a most impressive site but a forgettable tour guide (it happens).
Flew back to Athens, rented a car and drive to Nafplio for three nights staying the Friendly Zotos brothers (a Rick Steves community favorite). Nafplio was a wonderful small city and a base for day trips (Mycenae, Epidavros, and Mystra).
It was a scenic two hour drive from Nafplio to the ferry for Hydra for two nights – perhaps, we should have re-considered and stayed for two weeks (haha, just kidding). While Oia maybe more scenic, Hydra was a small delight. It’s so relaxing easy to ramble about from shop to café to scenic view … Hotel Mistral was a perfect 10 out of 10 (I reviewed it on Trip Advisor).
It was VERY hard to leave Hydra (we stayed until 5 pm) and took the ferry back to our car and short 90 drive to Athens. I returned our car to the downtown location for Enterprise saving a train or taxi trip back from airport). Three nights in Athens and two long days to site seeing were plenty. The Rick Steves walks were handy. In addition to the Acropolis site, we really were wow’ed by the Acropolis Museum. Athens dining was nothing special but we did enjoy watching a movie outdoors on night (we brought in a picnic dinner and bought beverages at the theater).

Perhaps, another trip will take us back other parts of the Peloponnese (and, back to Hydra!). So, by all means make it a point to visit Greece (and, don’t forget to take swim socks for the rocky beaches and swimming).

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