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Greece Is The Word


Traveling to Greece amidst a debt crisis was anxiety producing to say the least...to a point that we actually considered canceling our trip. Once we arrived to this warm, friendly and peaceful country, it became obvious that it would have been a huge mistake. In fact, one could argue that this was an ideal time to travel there as tourists to Greece were a welcome site at a time when the economy needed travelers the most.

Makis, our thoughtful and experienced tour guide

Our trip was a mix of education and relaxation. Immersing ourselves in the wonders of Greek mythology in Athens and Crete was balanced with the relaxing ambiance of Crete and Santorini lending to an incredible experience.

Upon landing in Athens, we were met at the airport by Makis, our knowledgeable and friendly tour guide whom we lucked upon through George's Taxi company. It was a pleasure being led around by a local with an extreme level of knowledge about Greek Mythology and all that it represented. Makis led us to a few 'local' stops like a quaint bakery and great yet inexpensive restaurants in both Delphi and Athens. He treated us like family getting negotiating free desserts for us and even purchasing a book as a gift for us about Greece that we were eye-ing. Makis bent over backward to show us the authentic culture of Greece and also eased our minds about the exaggerated rumors revolving around the debt crisis.

Our first order of business from the airport was the 3 hour drive to Delphi. We casually walked the quaint little town to get a snack and unwind a little bit. We then made our was to the Historical Museum for our private tour as we were reminded of the many facinating stories encompassing different aspects of Greek Mythology. We walked up the hill to see the Oracle and visited the amphitheater and some of the ruins. We eventually made it back to Athens to The Hotel Bretagne which would be our home for the next few days.

The Museum At Delphi

The Hotel Bretagne, we found out, is an historic one where apparently "anyone who is anyone" supposedly stays. Our guide mentioned that the hotel is the destination for many Heads of State and celebrities thay visit Athens. One interesting aspect is that it is located in front of the Parliament where regular (and rather large) protests occurred regularly. It was true that they were very peaceful protests and at times resembled more of a parade than a protest.

The following day, Makis came out to get us as we made out way out to the Temple of Poseiden where the Mediterranean and the Aegean Sea meet. As with much of Greece, the views were amazing and worth the additional hour drive. We made it to a number of local areas around town and got a great sense of the welcoming and friendly people of Greece. We felt no ill effects from the debt crisis as the local were very appreciative of payment in cash as their access to funds were limited by the banks. We enjoyed many sites around Athens very much.

From Athens we flew to Crete. After renting a car, we drove out to Elounda to stay at the beautiful Blue Palace Hotel. The drive was scenic with views of the water and through a bit of the local towns. The Blue Palace Hotel is a resort style hotel with the ability to cater to your every whim. Many of the little details were taken cared of such as bathrobes specially sized for the kids and with many of the rooms having their own personal Infinity Pools. Much of the view was of Island which happened to be the last functioning Leper Colonies. We took a 5 minute boat ride to visit this picturesque island with many different photo opportunities to be had.

After our adventure in Crete, we took a drove to the HighSpeed Ferry taking us to the incredibly beautiful Santorini (probably our favorite part of the trip). This is a place where pictures do not do it justice and is a MUST see. We made arrangements to stay in Oia which is home of most of the classic postcard pictures you see of Greece. We rented a cave home from a family run company called Island Blue. This is a must do if you stay in Santorini as you do enjoy waking up to that postcard view that everybody else jockeys to get especially when the cruise ships come in. The iconic blue domes scattered amongst white facade buildings with the deep blue ocean left for dramatic views around every corner. We leisurely enjoyed this view every day sitting on our porch. Louanna, the owner/manager, bends over backward to ensure your comfort and that everything goes smoothly. This included a ride from the ferry, daily house cleaning, a cellular phone and a ride to the airport at the end of our stay.

GREECE 2015 TRIP ITINERARY

July 9 (Thu)

La Guardia, NY

United Airlines

  • Flight AC713 (Air Canada): Depart: New York, NY (LGA - LaGuardia) @ 1:25pm; Arrive Toronto, ON Canada (YYZ) @ 3:08pm (Flight Time: 1H 43 min)

  • Flight AC1900 (Air Canada Rouge): Depart: Toronto, ON Canada (YYZ) @ 4:40pm; Arrive Athens, GR (ATH) @ 9:20 a.m. (next day, Fri., Jul. 10, 2015)

July 10 (Fri)

Athens, Greece

Delphi Tour: George's Taxi

  • Pick up directly from airport and going straight to Delphi. The driver will wait inside the airport near the arrival Hall (just after baggage claim area) holding a sign with our name.

  • Driver Phone Number: 011 30 6932205887 or 011 30 2109637030

  • Text Message: 011 30 6932205887

  • Cost: €300 (round trip transportation & gas); Local tour guide additional cost.

Epikouros Taverna (Parnassos Hotel)

Address: 33, V. Pavlou & Friderikis Street, 330 54 Delphi, Fokida, Central Greece

  • Phone: +(30) 22650 83250

Hotel Grande Bretagne, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Athens

  • Address: 1 Vasileos Georgiou A’ str., Syntagma Square, Athens, 105 64 Greece

  • Phone: (30)(210) 3330 000

  • check-in July 10 @ 2pm; check-out July 12 @ 12N

July 11 (Sat)

Athens, Greece

Acropolis Tour

  • Tour Guide: Helen Sklavounakou

  • Contact: 0030 6978045461; E-mail: HelenSklavounakou@gmail.com

  • Time: 9am for 3-hour tour of the Acropolis & Museum

  • Meeting Place: Hotel Grande Bretagne

  • Cost: 45€ per hour

The Acropolis

  • Hours: Daily from 8am – 7pm; Admission: €12 (Children are free)

  • See the olive tree on the acropolis at the center of Attica

Acropolis Museum

  • Address: 2-4 Makriyianni Street, Athens, Greece

  • Phone: (30-210) 900 0901

  • Hours: Tue-Sun: 8:00 a.m. - 8:00 p.m. (Last admission: 7:30 p.m.); Fri: 8:00 a.m. - 10:00 p.m. (Last admission: 9:30 p.m.)

  • Admission: Adults €5; Children under 18 €3 (show ID); Children under 5 years are free

  • Acropolis Museum Restaurant (2nd Floor)

  • Every Friday, the Museum restaurant is open until 12 midnight offering beautiful night views of the Acropolis.

  • Serves Traditional Greek Breakfast, every day until 12 noon

  • Address: 1 Vasileos Georgiou A’ str., Syntagma Square, Athens, 105 64 Greece

  • Phone: (30)(210) 3330 000

The Plaka

  • Have lunch at the Plaka (4 minutes from the Acropolis)

  • Two main pedestrian streets intersect at the center of the Plaka: Kydathineon and Adrianou. Kydathineon begins at Nikis St, which is one block down from Constitution (or Syntagma) Square.

Cape Sounion (Temple of Poseidon)

  • Address: Athinon-Souniou Road, Sounio 999-20, Greece

  • Travel Distance: About 45-60 min from Athens

  • Cost: €160 (round trip transportation & gas)

  • Time: 2pm for approximately 5 hour tour

Orizontes Lycavittou Restaurant

  • Located on Lycabettus Hill

  • Reservation Time: 7:30 pm

Hotel Grande Bretagne, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Athens

  • Breakfast at Roof Garden Restaurant

  • Attire: No Shorts, Flip Flops or Sandals

  • No reservation required: seats are first come first serve

  • Spend the rest of the morning until lunch at the pool

Aegean Airlines

  • Flight No.: A3314 Depart: Athens International (ATH) @ 1:20 p.m. Arrive: Crete (HER) @ 2:10 pm

  • Paid 3 luggage up to 23kg (Jon, Jack & Justin)

Budget Car Rental (Heraklion Airport)

  • Hours: Sun - Sat open 24H; Phone: 0030 2810 344279

  • Rental counter in terminal. Cars located next to terminal.

  • Pick-Up: July 12, 2015 @ 2:30pm HER Airport; Drop-Off (Heraklion Port): July 15 @ 8:30am

Subway Museum with Helen
Brunch at the Hotel Bretagne across from the Acropolis
The Acropolis
Shopping at the Plaka

July 12 (Sun)Crete, Greece

Blue Palace, a Luxury Collection Resort & Spa

  • Address: P.O. Box 38, Elounda, Crete 72053 Greece

  • Phone: (30)(2841) 065500

  • Junior Suite (check-in July 12 @ 2pm; check-out July 15 @ 11am)

  • Dinner: Blue Door Restaurant

July 13 (Mon)

Crete, Greece

Blue Palace, a Luxury Collection Resort & Spa

  • Breakfast Buffet: 7:15 am- 10:30 am

  • Spend the day at the hotel beach/pool

Blue Palace Lobby
Rooms with your own private pool

July 14 (Tue)

Crete, Greece

Palace of Knossos

Visit after breakfast (1H and 15 minutes from hotel)

Plaka Elounda

  • Stop for lunch in one of the tavernas before going back to the hotel

July 15 (Wed)

Santorini, Greece

Budget Car Rental (Heraklion Port)

  • Address: Ikarou Avenue, Crete / Heraklion, 71202 Greece (Location code X1V)

  • Hours: Sun - Sat 7:30am - 9:00pm; Phone: 0030 2810 344072

  • Drop-Off: July 15 @ 8:30am

Hellenic Sea Ways

  • Depart: Heraklion Port, Crete July 15 at 9:30am; Arrive: Santorini at 11:25am

  • Vessel: HIGHSPEED 4

  • Accommodation Class: VIP Table; Seats: 109D, 109G, 111D and 111G

  • Redeem Tickets at Agency:

  • Paleologos Τravel

  • Address: 5, 25th Avgoustou Street

  • Agent: Valakos Dimitrios

  • Phone: +30 2810346185, +30 2810335050

  • E-Mail: info@ferries.gr

  • To receive your tickets, just enter the date of your trip and your unique reservation code at the E-Ticket Check-In Points.

Island Blue

  • Contact Person: Louanna Mantheakis

  • Phone: +(30) 6946033264

  • Available Grocery order & delivery before 1 pm each day

Our Island Blue Cave Home

Cave home bathing

View from our balcony

July 16 (Thu)

Santorini, Greece

Sunset Catamaran Cruise

  • Pick-Up Time & Place: 3:15pm in front of the ATM at the central bus station

July 17 (Fri)

Santorini, Greece

218ο Café Restaurant (Option: did not make any reservations)

  • Address: Oia, 84702, Santorini, Cyclades Islands, Greece

  • Phone: +30 22860 71801

The Steps To Amoudi Bay

July 18 (Sat)

Go Home

Ryan Airlines

  • Flight No.: FR1233 Depart: Santorini (Thira) (JTR) @ 8:20 a.m. Arrive: Athens International (ATH) @ 9:10 am

  • Pre-paid seats: 12A, 12B, 12C and 12D

  • 3 pre-paid luggage 20kg each

United Airlines

  • Flight AC1901 (Air Canada Rouge): Depart: Athens, GR (ATH) @ 1:05 p.m.; Arrive Toronto, ON Canada (YYZ) @ 4:55 p.m.

  • Flight AC724 (Air Canada): Depart: Toronto, ON Canada (YYZ) @ 7:30 p.m.; Arrive New York, NY (LGA - LaGuardia) @ 9:02pm


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