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Greece trip May 5-June 12'08 now complete

Nova Scotia Canada
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Greece trip May 5-June 12'08 now complete

I returned yesterday from my 1st trip to Greece and I want to say thank you to TA people who helped with answers, and to Gas who suggested an itinerary, so I am here if I can give helpful info to anyone:

Two of us flew to Venice May 5, stayed at Sandra B&B(very small-has 3 rooms)(95E/night,excellent buffet breakfast,centre of old Venice on canal-could hear/see early morning canal activities of workers-noisy in night-subsitute the word 'boat' for car-had to realize every type of transport took place on canal-sirens,garbage collection, show-off speeders,saw a wedding-dressed bride(veil & all) on the water taxi,a boat loaded with casket & flowers-all part of the fascinating parcel that is Venice.Walked & people-watched for 3 days.Took bus (5E for 2)upon arrival from Venice airport to Piazzel de Roma, then 13E for 2 on water boat for part of way then walked to B&B.Owner gives excellent info for all modes of transport by email.Morning we left the bus drivers were on strike so had to pay taxi 15E for short ride to Minoan ferry Venice to Corfu (22hr-167E with cabin)nice trip,cafeteria).

Stayed at Hotel Bretagne(not in old town but walkable about 20 minutes) 3 nights-had buffet breakfast for 70E night.Took 1 bus trip across Corfu to see resort & monastery (started with P-sorry lost name)seeing nicely wooded scenery along the route.

Walked in Old Town-interesting srchitecture,usual tiny mostly repetitive tourist shops. Did not see enough of Corfu to comment much except the town itself was a mess- full of graffiti,construction everywhere and way too many crazy & very noisy scooters.Be extra careful walking in traffic.

Airport was within walking distance of the hotel-a big plus-about 10-15 minutes-we did not hear many planes while in hotel either.Hotel room very clean-balcony, fridge.

Next, we flew to Samos via Athens airport.Samos airport is close to Pythagoria (1.5 miles)but paid 8E to taxi.Stayed at G.Sandalis Studios-30E.night-friendly and helpful, pleasant,clean,in middle of town,kitchenette,balcony and view of olive groves,goats,sheep being herded by an elderly couple after dark one night & the woman was screeching at the lazy ones for what seemed like hours-4 remained behind and the screeching started all over again-neat experience. Also looked out at a steep walk-up hill to beautiful monastery.Loved this town-pretty harbor-nice shops servicing locals as well as tourists-bakeries,groceries,jewellry,clothes,lots of good eateries around the harbor-attractive at night,a castle in town and interesting narrow alleys to walk.Loved the people-met an elderly couple in their tiny grocery store-been there 67 years & called us in to see a bird's nest on a beam up in the ceiling,let us take their picture and gave us a drink of Samos sweet wine.Took bus to big Samos town-1.5E each way-14 km-good scenery,lovely, busy waterfront,paid 5E for taxi to take us to top of old town-walked down alleys & photographed-old town appears to be undergoing renovations & reconstruction in a promising way-lovely chapel at top.

Flew from Samos to Rhodes(about 45 minutes_-air 41pp-cheaper than ferries-stayed in old town for 1 week.Took city bus from airport for 1.90E-14km. Tourist office near bus stop-got a place to stay from helpful lady there-Olympos Garden-charged 45E for room,& 50E for studio-excellent-we had private ground floor studio,own entrance,2 rooms,kitchen and bedroom.Old town is fascinating but confusing at first-we got attached to cobblestone lanes but not the scooters or being continually hasselled by the waiters at the eating places-cruise ships just outside walls drop of many tourists so main streets get crowded,many cats.Cooked our own meals but found gyros for 2.50E at a place called Gyro Fan.Took bus to Lyndos-4.50E each way.1-1.5hr each way.Bus lets you out at top of hill to walk down to Lyndos town square-apparently there is a shuttle bus.Lyndos is all white,pretty and great for photography.

Took ferry to Symi-23E return. Ferry stops first at a monastery for an hour, then Symi for 3 hours-enough to see the town & eat-amazing architecture there-pretty harbour.

Flew from Rhodes to Santorini in a 20 seater-Sky Express twin engine-35 minutes-119E-plane was filled-we bought tickets at airport the day we arrived in Rhodes, otherwise it meant a 17 hour ferry via Crete to Santorini-at least that was all we could find out. Stayed at Fiera in Rena Villa(50E/night with breakfast-booked now until October-has swimming pool-very clean,good place, on non-caldera side but within walking distance up the hill.Rented car (Smart car-24 hrs cost 42E plus 8 for insurance-Smart cars are more expensive) one day to see most of island and took bus another day to Oia (1.40E each way).Oia is beautiful-wires are underground.Sunsets at both Fiera & Oia are beautiful.Shops are more high-end at both and lots of them.Cable car (6 cars each way holding 6 max) cost 4E each way from Fiera down to bottom or up if u come by ship, or you can take a donkey ride or walk-walking down is difficult because many donkeys are moving along same wide path as you both ways -each step is about 4'x8'but strings of donkeys are being jostled and pulled and ridden by all ages, some very inexperienced so you literally have to push the donkeys away from banging into you.Also watch what you walk on. Suggest going down in the am when it is shade.I wouldnt want to walk up in heat but many do-it is even a tiresome chore walking down in shade. At the bottom there is a strip of eating places, shops & cruise people being dropped off and returned to ships, and tour boats taking people out to the volcano and nearby places.If there are a a lot of cruise ships in and the passengers are up in Fiera town there can be very long line-ups for the cable cars at both ends.This place at the bottom of Fiers is not the main harbour for Greek ferries either arriving or leaving for other islands-that harbour is further along and is completely separate.

Santorini is fascinating geologically and worth it-traffic is again crazy and pedestrians seem to have no rights in Greece-that can be a surprise for a first-timer-just try not to get in their path.

Next we took the ferry to Milos & stayed one week at Telemachos Studios-very nice-kitchenette-35E per night,block from grocery,in town,on flat land and stayed a week as we needed to rest.Loved it-not very touristy here and less expensive than Santorini -fewer shops but 4 bakeries, slower pace & better drivers so quieter,can relax there,took bus to Plaka nearby-1.40E each way-lovely old alleys and houses and beautiful flowers. 1000 people in Milos town,2 beaches in town,and we took local 9 hour trip on a double decker ferry around island-best 25E trip I have ever had on land or sea-incredible geology on this mining island-we swam off the boat 3 times,and stopped on island for an hour & lunch-the boat went unbelieveably close to scenic 'things'-like caves or rocks and the mineral colors were astounding along the way-great varied scenery. One of us went kayaking another day-also fantastic.Good mining museum in town of Milos-3 Euro.

Last 3 days of trip-took SpeedRunner 11 ferry to Pireaus-47E, about 3-4 hrs-had a reserved airplane type seat.Could leave luggage on car deck. At Pireaus-took the Metro but had difficulty-hard to find it in the dark and got off at wrong stop so took 2 hours to reach Art Gallery hotel-70E plus 6 for cold buffet (but very good).

left Athens at 2 am for airport-taxi wanted 40 Euro so we paid him 7 Euro to the square and took the bus (which had been on strike from 11am-4pm earlier that day) for 3Euro something-bus made it in 45mins-very fast but not much traffic.

Greece buses that we rode on were very timely and efficient, always A/C and like new.

The End-finally made it back in 3 flights to Nova Scotia, Canada.

Know this is lengthy but TA people were very helpful to me when I planned our trip and I got almost all hotels from here. So thanks again and I loved Greece-each island is a new adventure.Thank goodness I took my own bottle of peanut butter with me though-saw a bottle on one island for 6+E and another in Athens for 2.60 E!

Ottawa
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1. Re: Greece trip May 5-June 12'08 now complete

Thanks for the report Beachgrass. I love reading about parts of the country I didn't visit; it makes me feel like I've seen all of Greece. (I'm still planning on winning the lottery so I can go back and see it all in person.)

Susan

Philadelphia
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2. Re: Greece trip May 5-June 12'08 now complete

Beachgrass, thanks for posting your report. Especially grateful you took the time to put in so many specific prices!

So many reports only say that a hotel was "reasonable" or "good value" and as we know these terms can mean VERY different things to different people!!

I'm pleased that you enjoyed Samos -- it's so often overlooked by North Americans... I too enjoyed walking up in Ano Vathy (the high town)... looking down on the bay, it reminded me of Italian villas on a lake ... when I walked there in May 2006, I went down a dirt road for nearly an hour, no car passed... only sounds were a rooster, and a donkey bray.

It's also good to learn that you found reasonable Old City lodging, and did the public-bus thing to Lindos. Some people pay $$$ for an excursion when they don't need to.

YOu made me laugh about the Santorini donkey-thing. Perhaps you will save others from making that trip -- and decide it's fine just to view from above! Glad u had good weather for sunsets & u can tell friends that the sun sets all over the isle, not just Oia!!

Thanks again for your feedback; much appreciated.

Philadelphia
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3. Re: Greece trip May 5-June 12'08 now complete

When I mentioned Old City lodgings I was referring to Rhodes.

Athens
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4. Re: Greece trip May 5-June 12'08 now complete

Thank you very much for your report!

You managed to do so much, congratulations!!!

Can you please tell us where you saw the peanut butter in Athens? We wouldn't mind paying 2.60, or some of us (yes Nick, I mean you) even 26 euros to get some! LOL!

Madison, Wisconsin
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5. Re: Greece trip May 5-June 12'08 now complete

Sounds like a great trip Beachgrass. You guys really got to a lot of places and it was nice to hear about some of the less visited places. Guess I'll just have to plan on visiting again. Good info on the prices. glad you had fun

6. Re: Greece trip May 5-June 12'08 now complete

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