I’ve enjoyed the summer at home in Ontario, Canada but when a deal came up for Greece, I had to jump on it. I’ve never been to Greece! I managed to get a direct flight for a decent price. It’s possible if you can be flexible with your dates. Since I’m retired now, I’m VERY flexible. Lucky me!
One thing that makes travel so much easier these days is the ability to stay connected. The past few trips I’ve purchased at SIM card upon arrival. Now you don’t even have to do that! Check out Airalo. You can purchase an E-SIM ahead of time and activate it upon arrival. I’m not techy and I didn’t find it difficult. Prices are really reasonable too! https://www.airalo.com/
We arrived in Athens Thursday, August 25, 2022 and took the train from the airport to the city and started walking. 5 minutes in it started to rain. Then it started POURING and we happened upon a coffee shop so decided to enjoy a cup while waiting out the rain. 10 minutes walk from there we arrived at the Cosmos hotel. After checking in, Anita and I spent the day wandering around Athens and getting very lost. That’s not a bad thing. We find the most interesting things while lost. Eventually we found our way back to the hotel.
Friday, August 26 we organized what to do over the next few days. As I usually do when arriving at a city new to me, we started with a “free” walking tour led by Walter Walter is an excellent guide and we learned a lot.
The tour ended at the Acropolis where we spent a couple hours wandering around after we’d purchased the 5 day ticket. I’m sure we would have learned a lot more had we hired a guide but we’d already learned so much from Walter and my brain was fried. It was stinking hot! Next we headed to the agora and by then we were thoroughly wilted and tired so we found some dinner and walked back to the hotel
27 Aug 2022,
Saturday. After grabbing a coffee and we got on the hop on hop off bus and toured the whole city. Then we got off and visited the Agora again so we could spend some time actually reading. We had purchased a five day ticket so we had plenty of time. You can pay €20 to get into the acropolis plus €10 to get into the agora each for one day or you can buy a five day ticket that covers both of them plus other stuff for €30 no brainer. After that we need our way to the Melina Mercouri square a to catch the tour of Poseidon’s temple we’d prearranged. It started pouring so we dodged in and out of awnings and umbrellas but still managed to arrive soaked. The sun came out and we were dry before the bus finally arrived. It left a half hour late and the drive took 1.5 hours. Not sure it was worth it as we barely got an hour there before we were rushed back in the bus.
Back in town we found a nice place to eat a gyro and a drink. By then it was almost 8 pm and we had a 40 minute walk. Some of the areas we walked through seemed a little sketchy so we decided to try the metro. The Greek alphabet is impossible to interpret so station names were a challenge till I realized in small letters they were written using the English alphabet! Bonus. So we bought tickets for the morning too
Sunday. Good thing we started early and got the train early as we still managed to get lost when we got into the city.
Finally found the acropolis parking lot where we boarded the bus to go to. Voulangien lake. Twas was a nice relaxing day with just swimming, reading, swimming and an overpriced salad for lunch. It was delicious anyway. The lake is full of the tiny fish they use in those “fish spas”. They seem to just stay in the shallows though so if they annoy you, just swim out further. Back into Athens where we finally got our yoghurt at the yoghurt stand we had been eyeing for a few days
Back at the Cosmos hotel we picked up our bag they had but they stored for us and walked to the Parnon hotel where we met the group we are going to be travelling with for the next couple of weeks on the G Adventures tour called “The Best of Greece”
Breakfast at the hotel was typical Greek. There’s always tomatoes and cucumbers which taste better than any I’ve had at home. I have no idea why. I always have a plate full of veggies loaded with soft cheese and olives. Then for desert breakfast the creamiest greek yogurt you’ve ever had topped with walnuts and honey. Sometimes even fruit. Yum!
We caught the hop on bus and tried to hear the commentary but the music is loud and the commentary not so you’re always adjusting the sound. I wish they’d just skip the music. What’s wrong with silence? Enjoy the scenery! After doing the whole route we hopped off at the market and wandered. Found the Odeon Herodes Atticus. Twas closed and we realized we’d walked by it several times. After the required gelato we visited Hadrian’s library only because our ticket included it. You can see most of it from the road but there were a few interesting. For “lupper” we found shedia home. It’s a cooperative supported by g adventures and the food is excellent. Go there!
The next day we started the tour with the group and headed to Kalambaka. That post will follow along with others about the 2 week trip with G Adventures. After leaving them in Santorini Anita and I embarked on our own again. First we spent 3 days on Folengandros and then 5 on Milos before taking the ferry back to Athens where we ended our trip
September 20th, 2022
Tuesday. We arrived by ferry from Milos just before 6 pm and used google to find the subway, apparently along with a bunch of back packers who also turned away several cab drivers. The subway took us to the Omonia stop and we knew how to find the Cosmos hotel from there. We’d booked it for the last 2 nights as it was great the first time. They didn’t disappoint this time either. The price is right and the front desk staff are very helpful. The young man gave us a recommendation for dinner nearby which was great.
Our last day in Greece we spent trying to see everything in Athens we’d missed the first time. We started with yogurt from our favourite place just outside the Agora. Next we found Strefi hill and admired the view from the top, wandered various other neighbourhoods, checked out MANY little shops and again, hid out when the rain poured down in the afternoon. The great thing about those massive afternoon thunderstorms is that the deluge of water washes the streets of the cat pee and other smelly stuff.
Views around Athens
Above is a view of Sifnos island on the ferry ride back to Athens and the Athens war memorial cemetery
After a fantastic tour with G Adventures we spent a few days on Folegandros Island. Find that post here: https://whereisgrandma.com/2022/10/13/the-journey-through-greece-continues-with-some-island-hopping-folegandros-here-we-come/
Next we spent several days on the island of Milos. Find that post here: 5 days on Milos. Beaches! Food! Amazing Geology! Even a few ruins.
Monday, Sept 20.
From Milos, we took a Sea Jet ferry back to Athens. It was fun trying to find the metro from there. There were cab drivers offering rides but we just kept walking. There were several back packers doing the same so we ended up as a group. Eventually we found it and took one train to the city just a 10 minute walk from the Hotel Cosmos. It was great the first time so we stayed there again.
Tuesday. There was a transit strike so traffic was intense. Good thing we like to walk. We spent the day finding other places in Athens we’d missed the first time. One such place was Strefi Hill. It’s not a common place for tourists to go but it’s really nice. The views from the top rival those from St George’s church. For more on that visit this blog post. https://theblogofdimi.com/strefi-hill-athens-greece/
Tuesday, September 22
Departure day. Since the metro is much cheaper than a taxi and we’d taken it several times without a problem, we decided to take it to the airport. My app said it wasn’t busy at 8 am. Well. Good thing we left with plenty of time as it certainly WAS busy! That was fun. The rest off the trip home was uneventful.
We thoroughly enjoyed our time in Greece but were I to go back (and I want to see Corfu for one) I would go before mid June or after mid September due to the heat.