Tag Archives: Greece

My Big Fat Greek Holiday

Food glorious food!  That’s what I think of when I think of Athens. 

Just another cute Plaka restaurant

We had calamari to die for, Greek salad naturally, the best coffee, lovely Ouzo and sin of all sins – a big slice of Baklava.  Well my rationale was that there could be no better place in the world to eat Baklava than in the Plaka in Athens.  It was worth it – so there Jenny Craig!

Don’t be put off by reports that the Plaka is too noisy, too dirty or too crowded.  Many of the streets have been turned into pedestrian walkways and great little restaurants abound.  Eating out is reasonably priced. If you want to splash out go to one of the rooftop restaurants with great views of the Acropolis which is lit up at night. 

A lovely way to spend an afternoon in Athens ... at the pool

Talking about the Acropolis – now there is a place that is always crowded – no matter what month you visit.  Get a good guide – a private one is very worthwhile – and get out there early in the morning while it is at least a bit cooler. 

Athens has tons of hotels – big and small.  We stayed at the Herodion, a small family run hotel which had a cute little roof garden with lovely views of the Acropolis.  Location is important in Athens because outside of the pedestrian streets of the Plaka the traffic is pretty heavy so you really don’t want to be on one of the main streets.  If you are visiting Athens at the end of your cruise be sure to arrange private transfers from the pier to your hotel.  The pier was a crush of shouting taxi drivers, piles of luggage and bewildered cruise passengers.  We were consequently very pleased to see my local rep there to meet us.  With no trouble at all we were ushered into our waiting air conditioned Mercedes Benz complete with bottles of iced-water.  Nice touch!  Pity the trunk was a bit small for our luggage but that didn’t worry the driver who piled it in nonetheless and lo and behold – when we got to the other end we hadn’t lost one piece.

Hey - hang on to my bag!

Athens has been in the news a lot these days.  The demonstrations were in full swing while we were there so we had to take a walk down to Constitution Square to see what it was all about.  It was actually fairly peaceful and a bit Woodstock in feel.  Lots of tents, hammocks and guitar strumming protesters just “hanging out”.  Things did turn a bit ugly for a while and I did notice quite a bit of graffiti but I truly hope that they are able to resolve matters there.  I would definitely love to return and try just one more slice of that gorgeous baklava.

Beautiful Athens.... I shall come back.

Donkey fighting in Santorini

Now back off Mr Donkey

Now I feel sorry for the donkeys, don’t get me wrong.  But I know where the mule part comes from and when you are negotiating a steep rocky path from the top of Santorini down to the ferry station everyone is fighting for territory.  Maybe we should have taken the gondola – we did have the tickets after all – but the line-up was horrendous so we thought we would be clever and walk down.  What we didn’t realise before we started was that the rocks on the path were polished smooth by the thousands of people (and donkeys) who have gone up and down this path.  In addition to this they were well oiled by liberal doses of donkey poo.  I was halfway down the path ahead of my sister when I realised that she was in a confrontation with a donkey.  Unable to move and squashed up against the side of the wall by the donkey she burst into tears so her husband had no option but to punch the donkey in the neck.

Now before you go all PETA on me it hurt him a lot more than it hurt the donkey.  Trust me – his hand was red for days. 

Any idea when these cruise ships go away?

The problem was of course that there were no less than 7 cruise ships in the harbour.  Imagine pouring out all those passengers into the tiny streets of Santorini.  The people pressure was unbelievable and I was told that 11 ships were expected the next day.  What a shame.  It is indeed a beautiful island with stunning little hotels literally hanging onto the side of the cliffs.  My best bet – if you really want to see Santorini go in October, sleep late, eat lunch at the pool of your hotel and then by 4 pm you should be safe to venture out and enjoy the island as it was meant to be enjoyed.

She's shopping - he's sleeping

After seeing Monemvasia I am sure there are many such undiscovered and beautiful places to visit in Greece and I plan to find them.  Stay tuned!  Preferably somewhere without a donkey ride involved!