I just wanted to post of few of my thoughts on Greece after our first trip there (hopefully won't be our last!). I booked the trip with Fantasy Travel. They handled everything beautifully and I would recommend them to anyone who wanted to use an agency rather than book everything themselves.
We departed from JFK and had the direct flight on Delta. If you can afford the direct flight, it was wonderful to go straight through. Although I wasn't able to fall asleep at all, I thought the time went by pretty quickly due to the fact that every seat had their own tv/music monitor. I watched 2 movies going and 4 movies coming back home! We landed about a half hour early, but it did take quite a while to get our luggage. What struck me was that while we were waiting for the bags to start coming out, an airport worker came around apologizing for the fact that the bags weren't out yet...very nice of them!
I was aware that we might be charged for bread from reading this board. Throughout the trip, if we were in the mood for bread, we took it, if not, we just asked them not to bring it. Many times the charge for the bread was automatically put on the bill, but they just removed the charge. I found the charge varied from 60 cents to 2 euros for the 4 of us. In talking with the various waiters, a few seemed surprised that places 'still charged' for the bread, but we were charged more than we weren't. We also got charged for watermelon at the end of the meal that we didn't ask for a couple of times. It still kind of boggles my mind that you can be given something you didn't ask for and be charged for it, but hey, that what traveling is all about...learning about different customs and cultures.
At this risk of opening up a can of worms, I am just going to give my honest reaction to the toilet paper thing. Again, I was aware from reading this board that you cannot flush paper. But I must say to those who have responded in the past that you become so used to it that you will find yourself looking for the bin when you get home...no. Just no. I almost threw up in my mouth a little bit the first time I needed to use it for, well, you know...more than liquid. It would not stop me from visiting Greece again, but no, that is not something I could ever get used to. To be fair, my gag reflex kicks in very quickly. My husband didn't have a problem with it, but my daughters and I did not enjoy that whole process. Sorry if I offended anyone-just wanted to give what was my truth.
My thoughts on Mykonos: LOVED IT! When I read sometimes that it's an island for young people who want to party, I have to say, my husband is in his late 50's, I am in my late 40's, and we have 2 girls (17 and 19). We didn't go clubbing or party in anyway , but we all loved Mykonos. We rented a car and just got lost (well, it was impossible to get REALLY lost). The whole thing with there not being any names for roads was a bit of a challenge at times, but that added to the fun. We stayed at the Grand Beach Hotel and it took us 10 minutes on the dot to walk into town, and that's with stopping to take a couple of pictures. Stunning location. The maze of streets in Mykonos Town was so much fun. I was almost disappointed when we went back the next day because we knew our way around a little better.
Naxos was our second island and we stayed at the Naxos Resort Beach Hotel. Again, a perfect location to walk into town. The views from the Portal and simply incredible. Rough waves on one side, calm sea on the other. We rented a car again...gorgeous island, all the mountains and valleys. We spent an afternoon at Plaka Beach. Advice to anyone wondering: you'll need several days to see this island properly. I wish we had another day.
Santorini was our third and last island. What can you say about Santorini? It is truly stunning. While our hotel had the most amazing views (Volcano View Hotel), it was not possible to walk into town. Having been spoiled from the ease of walking places from our hotels in Athens, Mykonos, and Naxos, it was a slight bother to have to take a taxi. The hotel did provide a free shuttle into Fira, but not at the times we wanted to go. Another observation: I know everyone raves about the sunsets in Santorini, but honestly, I thought they were just as beautiful in Mykonos and Naxos. The lady on the bus who drove us to the port to go back to Piraeus told us to make sure to buy food and water at the port because it would be better and less expensive than on the boat. Turned out we paid WAY more for a bottle of water at the port and the food was terrible.
More random thoughts...I loved the relaxed way of eating. They will let you sit forever after your meal. The food and drinks on the ferry weren't priced any higher than anywhere else. The Blue Star Ferries are a very efficient way of getting from island to island, but it's very different from anything you'd have in the US. They literally show up to a port, can unload passengers and cars, and reload more passengers and cars and be sailing again in 10 minutes! We had VIP tickets on the high speed back to Piraeus and it was very comfortable. We had a complimentary upgrade from the travel agent, but if you can swing it, it's worth it. Although there were the famous 'bins' next to all the toilets, most places did NOT have a sign saying not to put in the toilet paper. The ferries were one place that did specifically have signs. If I hadn't read these boards before going, I don't think I would have known not to. Don't be afraid to rent a car. It's great fun to drive around at your own pace. ATM machines were definitely the way to go for cash. They are really everywhere. Thankfully, I knew (again from this board!) that I shouldn't get nervous if my transaction didn't go through the first time or two. I just had to request a lower amount of money. I'm sure there are more things I could comment on, but I can't think of them right now!
A big thank you to all of you who helped me before my trip by answering my questions! I hope to return one day.