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Spring Break, Greece, Covid 19, and making the best of things!

We decided not to be deterred from our 25th anniversary trip since at the time we left, Greece wasn't on the US restricted list. We departed Dallas, Monday, 3/10 at 7pm and landed Athens Tuesday, 5:30pm. I knew we wouldn't do well with driving in Athens, at night, after our long flight, so on the recommendation of others on this forum, I booked a room with the Arva hotel in Rafina and had the shuttle pick us up. We had a wonderful dinner at the hotel restaurant followed by a good sleep. Day 1 - The breakfast buffet was just as great as others had described. After breakfast we walked around the lovely town until time to check out, take the shuttle back to the airport, and pick up our rental car. We rented from Sixt, also based on the recommendation of others on this site, and thoroughly enjoyed the Audi convertible my husband rented for all our drives across Greece! The convertible made all the driving we did part of the fun! We drove to Delphi, arrived 30 minutes before the museum and site closing times, so too late to enjoy any of the museum or archeological site. We drove a bit further to Galaxidi, based on another forum recommendation, checked into our airbnb, walked to town to eat, strolled the coast and enjoyed the gorgeous sunset, the lazy cats and dogs, and the charm of Galaxidi before bed. Day 2 - We drove back to Delphi to tour the museum and site. The crowds were so thin that everything was easy to see without hordes of people around you. Next on to Meteora! Day 3 - I'm glad I listened to one recommendation on the forum that suggested a visit to just the one, large, Grand monastery could be enough. It was for us. We toured the largest monastery in the morning, left for lunch, and then returned for sunset (another forum recommendation). Meteora was marvelous and amazing! Driving all around the cliffs and seeing each monastery and the views was the perfect day! Day 4 - We drove to Nafplio, enjoying the convertible, the gorgeous scenery, and weather the entire way! The coast of Nafplio was so pretty and we easily walked up and down the marina area and enjoyed the sunset. All restaurants were closed by this time, so we grabbed dinner and took it back to our airbnb for another relaxing evening. Day 5 - Drive to Athens. It was Sunday and though we had planned to make the changing of the guard ceremony at 11am, since the government was shutting everything down, we had no idea if this would still happen. I couldn't find any information about it online, so we were reluctant to wake up early and rush. It did happen and we missed it, but we saw the less elaborate ones later. Still a wonderful experience! We checked into our amazing airbnb, went out and walked to the Acropolis and around it, climbed the Aeropageus (it was freezing), stopped by Hadrian's Arch, found dinner, and came back to enjoy a quiet evening. Day 6 - We chose other free experiences still open to the public: Lykavittos Hill, Filopappou Hill, and tried to make the National Gardens, but ran out of steam :) Instead, we grabbed some lunch and went back for a nap. Later we woke, and went for another walk, and gelato before packing and preparing for our early departure home the next morning. Even with the closings of the museums and restaurants we had a glorious time in Greece and we're so glad we didn't cut short our trip! I'm also so very thankful for all the tips I received from these forums. Our short trip was perfect for us, a blend of relaxation and adventure!

Posted by
3927 posts

Thank you for this ray of sunshine. What a great experience!

Posted by
395 posts

I may be blasted for my comments, but....

At any other time I would have thought - wow, great trip, sounds wonderful. But.... seriously? I think that celebrating an important anniversary like this could have been done any time, not during a pandemic event.

Posted by
10662 posts

BrendaGirl, Thank you for posting something positive. Very much appreciated. You followed the rules and you had a good time; couldnt be better. The very second the barriers come down, I am off on my trip. I am still using the RS Travel Barometer. Right now RS is still selling tours in early May. Some are even sold out and some are "Filling Fast" so there seems to be some general consideration that they may be a go; and with clear conscience. For lack of a better index I will just plan around one of his sold out dates ... or a little later.

Posted by
7 posts

We didn't have any troubles. We began communicating with the US embassy on Wednesday to confirm truth rather than social media tales. By the time we landed in Dallas on Tuesday evening the screening process was very smooth. We filled out our health symptom questionnaire before we deplaned, had a brief conversation with CDC personnel about self-quarantine and symptoms before we were allowed to pass through to the gate, and then on to the kiosks for customs, etc. It was very streamlined. Everyone on our plane, passengers and crew, were all kind and helpful to one another as we talked and shared commonalities of our recent experiences. Several people on the planes had been moved from other flights and sometimes, families were separated on different rows. Individuals gladly changed seats so loved ones could sit together. The whole atmosphere was supportive and it was a great example of pulling together during difficult times :)

Posted by
6684 posts

You made it by the skin of your teeth both coming and going. Greece went on lockdown the day after you left, and just after you arrived, they started mandatory 14 day confinement. Hopefully you are doing the temperature thing and are home for 14 days as the CDC requested us to do when we flew back aMonday.
Here’s to the next 25 and an adventure of a different type to celebrate the 50th.

Posted by
1038 posts

I sincerely hope you are both doing the right thing and self-isolating at home?????
You didn't mention it.

Posted by
679 posts

You are very lucky and I hope you remain so. I teach at a University that did a Studies Abroad over Spring Break to Ireland. Several of my students are ill and quarantined. Good luck and by the way I am glad you had a great time.

Posted by
1255 posts

truth rather than social media tales

Could it be that initially what you saw on social media was true and that the process improved over several days?

Posted by
4150 posts

Glad you had a good trip -- too rushed for me, but to each his/her own. Come to think of it, with museums closed you really made the most of it. Glad you made it back before the axe fell in Greece, and hope you are self-isolating now as you should be. This thing is very serious.