Learning Center
Plans & pricing Sign in
Sign Out

Greece 2004 - Santorini_ Myconos_ Paros


									Greece 2004 - Santorini, Myconos, Paros

                                                                              Santorini - 10 Fantastic Days!

   Santorini is the most awesome place to just sit and drink in the view. A glass of wine in your hand doesn't hurt either! We arrived on Thera (Santorini) on
   the high speed catamaran at 11:15 from Crete. Hopping on the local bus, we went up the switchback road to Fira town then a taxi to Imerovigli and our
   hotel, the Phenix. We are perched on side of the caldera looking down at the cobalt blue water - awesome. There are three cruise ships in today, one of
   which is the Celebrity Galaxy. Our room is the lowest one down (50 steps) in the small complex, #12,
   and is the most private. We have two baths, two bed rooms and a tiny kitchen and, of course, this lovely
   porch overlooking the sea! What could be better?? As we sat on the porch, I plugged in the Bose headsets
   into our MP-3 player and turned on Yanni's Santorini!! My brother and his wife stayed here four years

   Our lunch was at a small taverna just down the cliff side walking path from the villa. We then continued
   our walk toward town and stopped at the grocery store to get water, soda, and breakfast stuff. We are
   about one mile west from Fira town and will take the cliff side walk down to town for dinner. The
   walkway has steps and courses through the hotels, tavernas, and shops all the way down to the town. We
   just meander down the path each day or evening and then catch the bus or a taxi back. We finally found
   the nut store and olive store in downtown Fira and were able to buy them for munchies! Yummyfresh
   olives not in a jar and nuts not in a bag - we did eat a lot of them over the five weeks in Greece. The last
   time we were here there was a "nut man" who came out with his cart in the evening and sold all kinds of nuts.Oh well, some traditions unfortunately die.

file:///C|/Documents%20and%20Settings/Owner/My%20Documents/Webpages%20cybertec/webpages/trips/greece2004/greece2.htm (1 of 12)12/19/2004 9:53:35 AM
Greece 2004 - Santorini, Myconos, Paros

                                                              On our first full day on Thera, for that is the name we prefer to call the island instead of using the Italian
                                                              name of Santorini, we went to the archeological museum (Museum of Prehistoric Thera). Fantastic!! There
                                                              is excellent documentation around the artifacts and the four of the best-known wall paintings - women
                                                              quarter, blue monkeys, papyrus, and the African -are beautifully displayed. All of these were brought back
                                                              from the Athens National Archeological Museum. Today, Saturday, June 5th, for some reason the museums
                                                              were free. We also went to the old archeological museum, which had 6th C BC artifacts. We had walked into
                                                              town and walked around all day, then caught the bus back to the villa. We lounged around the pool (water
                                                              was cold, one swim across the small pool was enough!). Our apartment is small but the place has a small
                                                              refrigerator and a one-burner hotplate so we can make breakfast (eggplant fried in olive oil with nuts, onions,
                                                              garlic, and feta cheese along with smoked salmon or eggs). We also make a great Greek salad to take with us
                                                              for lunch on our daily outings.

   Right now, we are sitting in the wind...the sun is behind the thin clouds and the wind is whipping up the side of the caldera and the air is chilly.
   Thankfully, the wind is not as bad as the first night for then the wind was banging the door all night until John wedged the door closed with a towel.

   One of our reasons to keep visiting Thera is to go to the ancient (1,450 BC) Minoan city of Akrotiri. We were up and out to catch the 9 am bus to
   Akrotiri and got there before the tourists arrived. We had the whole place to ourselves. Unfortunate for
   us, the entire site is under reconstruction. They have completed putting a new roof over the entire
   complex, but the scaffolding used to take down the old roof has not been removed, which sadly obstructs
   the view. In addition, they have plastic and other coverings to protect the archeological dig so you really
   don't get to see very much. Admission is free, probably because of the construction. They won't finish
   the construction for another year. The dig may continue for another 50 years as they started around 1965.

   The Black and Red beaches are just down the road from Akrotiri and we walked down an along Black
   beach and climbed over the rocks - oops another gorge! - to Red beach where we sat for a couple of
   hours having lunch and a swim, i.e. John had a fast snorkel-swim despite not having beach shoes. There
   are lots of round rocks on the beach so he really stumbled into and out of the water. We walked back to
   the bus stop and arrived early enough to wait with a dozen other people for 50 minutes until the bus came.

   The following morning the whole caldera was a whiteout! The fog had settled in the caldera...the view cleared slightly for a minute or two and then filled
   in again. There are two 4-masted ships that sailed in under the cover of the fog and they are the only ships in port today. At least the wind isn't blowing
   today and last night was calm. Maybe with the wind, the clouds don't settle in the caldera.

file:///C|/Documents%20and%20Settings/Owner/My%20Documents/Webpages%20cybertec/webpages/trips/greece2004/greece2.htm (2 of 12)12/19/2004 9:53:35 AM
Greece 2004 - Santorini, Myconos, Paros

   There are several Greek words that we have in our vocabulary:

          q   thank you - ef hah rees TOH
          q   very good - pay LEE ka LO
          q   please - par ah kah LOH
          q   excellent - tel LEE O
          q   good morning - kah lee MEH rah
          q   good evening - kah lee SPEH rah

                                                                         Today we took a trip to Kamari Beach to rediscover our 1974 visit. We took the bus to Fira town and
                                                                         then the bus to Kamari Beach. WOW! What a difference!! As far as the eye can see there were
                                                                         beach chairs, tavernas, restaurants, and hotels. This is THE beach resort of Santorini and they have
                                                                         developed the area well - lovely beach area with calm seas and lots of swimming. We strolled along
                                                                         the area and found the Kamari Beach Hotel where we stayed in 1974. Of course, the hotel has
                                                                         changed...the place now has an Olympic size pool and many more rooms. We talked with the hotel
                                                                         desk people and told them we were guests there 30 years ago.

   We lounged on the beach about four hours and John enjoyed several snorkel-swims out to an artificial reef made with very large rocks that were not
   there 30 years ago. The water is chilly so he didn't stay in long. We then had another bottle of retzina and yummy calamari before we walked down to the
   beginning of the southern end of the beach area. We were looking for the first restaurant on the beach where we had eaten in 1974 and found Irini's
   which had a sign saying "founded in 1965"!!! Irini is still living and we talked and had a drink with her. In 1974, she cooked us a great lobster dinner
   with fried green peppers in olive oil. Great memories! After our wonderful afternoon at Kamari, we boarded the bus back to Fira and another bus to our
   villa in Imerovigli, then on to a very light dinner near our villa.

   The next day, Tuesday 8 June, we started our walk to Oia from the top of the highest hill, at Imeroviliga, which is at 340 meters elevation. The path was
   along in front of the hotels and tavernas until the end of the next village. We then found that the path had degenerated to unpaved. We descended to
   about 240 meters in elevation and climbed a second hill for the next four km and climbed another peak to 280 meters elevation. The third hill we crested
   about the eighth km point and a slow descent down to Oia, which is 200 meters above sea level. The path was good in some areas and very poor in other
   areas. The hike essentially was in the shape of a backwards letter C. We mostly overlooked the rim of the caldera throughout the hike. About half way to
   Oia, we had to walk along the road for about 100 meters. One part of the "path" of about a distance of 500 meters was rather treacherous with slider type
   (pumice stone) footing. We ran into several people doing the hike in both directions, so we weren't the only people walking along this path. Three hours
   and 11 km later we arrived at a restaurant in Oia. As we walked into Oia we passed the shop where we bought the wall hanging and our "masterpiece"
   was not visible, thus the owner had put our wall painting in the back room preparing to ship our art work on July 1. We rewarded ourselves with a good
   lunch for all we carried on this hike was water. We returned via taxi to the Phenix where we jumped in the chilly pool and relaxed.

file:///C|/Documents%20and%20Settings/Owner/My%20Documents/Webpages%20cybertec/webpages/trips/greece2004/greece2.htm (3 of 12)12/19/2004 9:53:35 AM
Greece 2004 - Santorini, Myconos, Paros

   We headed out for the evening toward Fira to the Petros M. Nomikos Conference Center where copies of all the Wall Paintings of Thera (Akrotiri) are
   on exhibit. Since we walked two km in the other direction, we had 13 km under our feet today! The wall painting exhibit is marvelous even though they
   are recreated and not the original frescos. After viewing them, we got into a very lively discussion with the museum curator who shared his beliefs of the
   wall paintings for we asked about the blue monkeys. In the 1992 book by the Archeologist Dr. Christos Doumas, he says the blue monkeys have
   prehensile tails. My question is whether the Minoans knew about the new world for
   only monkeys in the new world have prehensile tails. There is one exception where the
   baby guenon monkey in Africa has a prehensile tail to hold on to its mother. Another
   question is we have never seen the blue monkeys in a wall painting with their tails
   wrapped around an object that would lead you to believe they were prehensile tails. We
   chatted with this gentleman for over a half hour. He said yes the Minoans had
   knowledge of South America. We then got a guided tour of some of the finer details of
   the wall paintings. We asked whether the river that is shown in one wall painting is the
   Nile..yes! He then talked about the manicures and pedicures on the females and showed
   them to us. We proceeded to talk about Egypt and the pyramids and the Sphinx. He too
   had read Hancock's book for he proceeded to relate details we knew that came from
   Hancock's book. He said there is a new book on the market and he will email us with
   the title and author. What a delightful time!

   We had dinner at a lovely little taverna in Fira with stuffed eggplant and chicken fillet
   with pepper, mushrooms, and tomatoes.

   Sunsets are awesome as we sat on the caldera of Thera. As you sit on the edge of the caldera looking down at the two different cruise ships in port, the
   sun is glistening off the edges of the caldera. The whitewashed buildings in Fira town are sparkling with the sun. The steep cliffs reflect the light back so
   that the sea is a deep cobalt blue. You can see the different colors in the strata of the earth - white, browns, reds, pinks, grays, dark browns, and greens on
   the cliffs and rocks. The view is almost like sitting on edge of the Grand Canyon with water filling up 1/2 of the canyon. We sit 340 meters up the side of
   the caldera and the cruise ships are just little toy boats..truly little, as you gaze down over a thousand feet at them in this huge bathtub called the Thera
   Caldera. Here in Imerovigli, we are at the highest point along the cliff side and look down on Fira town with its glistening white buildings trimmed in
   blue. The rugged cliff sides go straight down to the sea. As we look toward Oia where the sun is setting, we realized we will be living there this weekend.

   Today was the day for the Atlantis submarine trip. We started out by waiting for the non-existing bus from Oia for 45 minutes and finally got a cab, for
   we were also carrying our beach stuff. We then waited at the travel place for 45 minutes until they took us down to Vlychada Beach, which is on the
   backside of the island. We were scheduled to be on the noon ride, but the submarine didn't go until 1 pm. The submarine was made in Spain and 20 some
   companies were involved in the design and production. The sub can run as a surface ship using diesel engines and underwater using batteries to power

file:///C|/Documents%20and%20Settings/Owner/My%20Documents/Webpages%20cybertec/webpages/trips/greece2004/greece2.htm (4 of 12)12/19/2004 9:53:35 AM
Greece 2004 - Santorini, Myconos, Paros

                                          electric motors. We boarded at the pier and the submarine took us on the surface for five minutes out to a place that they had
                                          selected for this endeavor. They had tried the sub over in the caldera, but that was too deep, too dangerous and too difficult
                                          to transport people. This was an easier journey. The sub goes out and down about 30 meters and you do get to see the
                                          bottom. A scuba diver comes along and feeds the fishes to start attracting fish to the area. All we saw are little ones. The
                                          actual ride under the water lasts about 35 minutes. A guide told us that they think the old port of Akrotiri was where we went
                                          and the surrounding land sank due to an underwater shift. I thought the sub was at least a half-mile from where a port should
                                          be. Further study is needed. We then had the rest of the afternoon on the beach. Again, the water is chilly...don't know when
                                          the Med warms up!

                                          What is Santorini? Cliffs..cliffs showing million of years…cruise ships that look like toy boats on the sea below...steps that
                                          go up, up and down, down...towns and villages spilling over and clinging to the edge of the caldera...ancient Minoan
                                          civilization…. 4th C BC towns....sunsets..volcanos..steps...earthquakes..awesome!

   Mama mia!! Truly this is the land of mama mia. At the villas next to us there was a wedding al' a mama mia!! Two
   musicians were around the pool, the bride, groom, and a few people of the wedding party. Lovely romantic setting. After we had dinner we returned to
   our villa, put on our headsets and took to the dance floor - the flat cement rooftop two steps up - put on Mama Mia and danced our hearts away! Thank
   you for the music!

   Off today to find the folklore museum today which is on a back street close to Firastani village. We found that the curator or caretaker is from Georgia
   (former Soviet Union) and came to Greece four years ago. He gave us a personal tour of the rooms of the museum pointing out the various implements
   that were used in days gone by.

   Tonight we had dinner at the Skaros taverna just down the path from the villa toward Fira. Lovely place, and of course we are overlooking the caldera.
   We returned, put on Yanni music and once again took to the dance floor for a spin!

   Our villa at the Phenix was lovely with a small swimming pool (not heated so the water was chilly). We had 60 steps to walk down from the street level.
   At the end of our week's stay, we moved to Oia where we have never stayed before. We have a different perspective of the caldera from this angle since
   we are looking back at Fira with the glistening sun shining on the town at sunset. We moved to the Kyma Villas, a lovely small place with 10-12 rooms
                                                  and a heated pool. That is, the pool isn't chilling as you get in! The villas has kitchen facilities, but
                                                  breakfast is included. We had to negotiate breakfast for they offer continental - breads - and they agreed to
                                                  give us omelets. Kyma is just 50 feet from the bus stop (next stop to the end of the line) and 48 steps down
                                                  and 12 up to get to our abode for three nights.

                                                                   In walking around Oia before dinner we checked out our wall painting. Our "masterpiece" is all wrapped
                                                                   and ready to be shipped. We found that the wall painting weighed 12 kilos or 26 pounds.

                                                                   There may be a more beautiful, picturesque, and romantic place in the world to have dinner, but here in
                                                                   Oia, the Ambrosia has got be vying for the number one spot! What a beautiful and elegant setting. The
                                                                   restaurant is perched on the back of Oia overlooking the caldera shielded from the wind. The place doesn't
file:///C|/Documents%20and%20Settings/Owner/My%20Documents/Webpages%20cybertec/webpages/trips/greece2004/greece2.htm (5 of 12)12/19/2004 9:53:35 AM
Greece 2004 - Santorini, Myconos, Paros

   have a view of the sunset, but the view of the sun shining on Fira and the pinks in the atmosphere circling the caldera is awesome. The restaurant has
   three tables on the first level and up eight steps there are twelve more tables. All the tables and
   chairs are covered in white, with candles, and white napkins. The menu is elegant (as is the
   price, but well worth it). Oyster mushrooms with fried cheese balls in a yummy sauce; shrimps
   in an avocado half with a mango sauce. Both had red pepper corns, which had been soften so
   that when you bit into them along with the shrimp you had a burst of mild pepper. Dinner was a
   beef fillet with a beef burgundy sauce with mushrooms and vegetables; swordfish steak with a
   citrus sauce with cauliflower and broccoli and, of course, a lovely bottle of local Santorini wine.
   Wonderful, excellent (tel lee O) dinner!!

   Here at Oia we are lower in altitude than Imerovigli and there are birds and roosters that wake
   us up when the sun rises. We had a lovely breakfast on the porch provided by the villas. Instead
   of the usual breads that they normally serve we got a bacon omelet. We rented a scooter to
   explore some of the back roads of the island from Oia to Fira. We stuck to the back roads where
   there was no traffic and we didn't have to contend with tour buses. The roads are rough and the
   scooter seat was uncomfortable, but coincidently the scooter was a Trekker scooter! We drove down to many of the beaches that are on the backside of
   the island. Little rocky beaches tucked into the landscape, nothing that would draw you to jump in and swim what with the water being chilly. Dinner
                                                  was at a small taverna just down the street from the Kyma where we had stuffed squid - stuffed with
                                                  eggplant, onions, peppers, and garlic - delicious, and grilled shrimps. Again remember that most all the fish
                                                  is frozen and not freshly caught. The Med has been partially fished out.

                                                                 Our last day on Thera we just lounged around the pool and drank in the awesome view. As we were leaving
                                                                 to walk around the village for dinner, we chatted with a German couple who recommended that we eat
                                                                 down at the port of Oia at Katina's (taverna with the bright orange chairs). We decided that we would get a
                                                                 taxi down instead of walking the 500+ steps. We walked around the little port and remembered our stroll
                                                                 here in 1992 when we took the pictures of Oia from the sea level. Dorrit Keller used those pictures to paint
                                                                 an Oia Masterpiece for us. The painting hangs in our bedroom. We had a delicious lobster dinner. Then the
                                                                 chore was returning to the top of the mountain without walking. There were no taxis to be seen, so we
                                                                 waited till someone approached their car and asked them to take us to the top of the cliff. You can still do
                                                                 that in Oia.

   Thera isn't cheap any more, ever since they joined the EU and the Euro became their currency the prices really went up. The accommodations on Thera
   range from 100+Euros per night. Oia is cheaper than Imerovigli. Dinners range from 29 E and up depending on the entrée with an average of 60 E
   including the wine. Most entrees are 10-17 Euros.


file:///C|/Documents%20and%20Settings/Owner/My%20Documents/Webpages%20cybertec/webpages/trips/greece2004/greece2.htm (6 of 12)12/19/2004 9:53:35 AM
Greece 2004 - Santorini, Myconos, Paros

   We are off to Paros on the 11:10 a.m. Cat 4 ferry, which arrives in Paros at 1 pm. We got the bus from Oia
   to Fira and then took another bus to the pier down at the bottom of the cliff. When we arrived at Paros, we
   stopped at the information booth right on the pier in Parikia and got accommodations. This is the best thing
   to do for they have notebooks of all the hotels, studios, apartments, and will call to verify the price. Once
   you select a place the people come and pick you up. We chose to stay near the beach at Ohar, which is about
   one km to the left from the port or center of town. When we agreed to the accommodations, the information
   booth people wanted cash for the three days, which wiped out all our Euros. On Paros the accommodations
   are reasonable at 50 E/day instead of 140 E/day on Thera. Once we got settled in the room (with kitchen and
   bath and the sandy beach just across the street) we walked back into town to the ATM for more Euros from
   the ATM and lunch. Traveling in Europe with ATM's at your every turn has eliminated the currency
   problem for extended trips. We always have a backup, but ATM's are very handy.

   As this was our first day on Paros, we had a late lunch (3 pm). We spent the rest of the day on the beach, which surprisingly is sandy. Water is
   invigorating, not too chilly. For our first dinner on Paros, we had skate salad, which was fantastic. The skate was shredded, mixed with spring onions and
   a mustard sauce…yum! Shrimps, beets, and red mullet rounded out the dinner, of course, along with a bottle of retzina.

   The next day we arranged to rent a car for two days, so early in the morning the car was delivered and we were off for a counterclockwise
   circumnavigation of Paros, the marble island. We drove along the pier area and headed south, but first we needed to load up our empty gas tank. Yes,
   they rent the cars with an empty tank! The roads on Paros are good and soon we find that we have driven right past our first planned stop at the Valley of
   Butterflies. We didn't see much to talk about or see at Drios Beach or any other place along the coast until we got to the northern coast and the beach at
   Santa Maria. We rented an umbrella and two lounge chairs and the water was delightful. Good snorkeling! Later, we drove to the village of Naoussa and
   walked around the town. Naoussa has a lovely fishing harbor with tavernas lining the quay. We sat down to people watch and have some retzina and

   Architecture is different here on Paros. The houses are square or saltbox type with flat roofs. Thresher equipment was processing hay in many fields. All
   the fields seem manicured with stone fences dividing different sections. Millions of people have built walls with billions of stones. The villages are
   growing to accommodate tourism, particularly Naoussa and Piso Livadio. The coastline between these villages has the best sandy beaches, that have no

   By 5 pm, we were back at our villa and set out to find a parking place where our landlord said we would find a barbershop for John. Five weeks is a long
   time between haircuts. However, a good-looking woman barber with a large bare midriff is different and John had a good time. We then walked around
   town, found a nice restaurant and had a good dinner. By 8 pm, we returned to the car only to find that parking was allowed only from 7:00 to 19:00 and
   our car had a 34.5 Euro ($40) TICKET. A grumpy couple returned to our villa and a good sleep in the AC without mosquitoes. The next morning our
   landlord, Socrates, advised us, after making a phone call, to pay the ticket and if we gave him the Euros, he would pay the fine that afternoon. So, off we
   went in the car to the Marble quarry on Paros that is still active after about 4,000 years. We then stopped at the village of Lefkes, which is in the
   mountains. Lefkes has a lovely view of the sea and everywhere in the village you walk, the direction is down…then of course to return to the car you
   need to go up…up..and up. They don't allow cars to drive in their village for the streets are truly little narrow walking streets. Lefkes is a lovely clean
   town. We ate our Greek salad enjoying the view overlooking the town. We finally found the Valley of the Butterflies. Great place! Butterflies, but in this
   case, Petaloudes or tiger moths migrate to this valley on Paros to increase the population, that is they do not eat here but instead only mate. This is a little
file:///C|/Documents%20and%20Settings/Owner/My%20Documents/Webpages%20cybertec/webpages/trips/greece2004/greece2.htm (7 of 12)12/19/2004 9:53:35 AM
Greece 2004 - Santorini, Myconos, Paros

   oasis in the middle of arid land where trees grow, the climate is cool, and the tiger moths are happy.

   As we were returning to our villa, we drove by the parking area where we got the ticket and noted that the 7:00 to 19:00 signs were covered over!!
   WHAT???? Why??? We told Socrates, our landlord, and when we finished swimming for the afternoon we found that he had tried to pay the fine.
   However, we were lucky and he got the ticket cancelled and returned our money! Yea! Socrates, pronounced as SoCRATes, and his wife are real nice
   people and their villa is a very nice place to stay. Paros is a nice place to stay for three or four days. So, our next adventure is on to Mykonos by the Cat 3


   Our arrival on Mykonos was, as expected, a greeting by a large number of landlords and ladies trying to entice us to stay in their "really nice" place.
   They even came equipped with photos of the inside and outside of their establishments. We interviewed several and finally selected one lady who had a
   car and offered to drive us and the luggage up the hill with the offer to drive us back
   down if we did not like her place at 40 Euros per night. The drive up the hill to Studio
   Maroylina took a few switchback loops as we climbed the hill-mountain in her car.
   Maroylina's villa had six units with a great view of the sea, especially sunset, and
   harbor. Our studio has a little kitchen, a balcony and AC…and a resident cat that liked
   to climb over the balcony and come in the villa. The GPS measures our altitude at 110
   ft from the dock. We decided to take the view and suffer with the 160 steps up and
   down to town.

   After moving into our villa with our luggage, our next task was to find the mini
   markets. On Mykonos, the markets are divided by specialty. The one closest to us (back
   on a modern road that was built since we were last on the island) has water, soda water,
   coke, beer, liquor, paper products, and dry goodies like chips, cookies, and candy. We
   did not buy any chips, cookies or candy. At least hauling the liquid refreshment isn't up
   160 steps! After hauling our initial stuff back to our residence, we walked down to the
   town and sat at the harbor for a cool drink then started exploring the maze of streets.
   Now the stores (all over the tourist areas in Greece) are jewelry, jewelry, jewelry, and some clothes and shoes. We found a grocery store that had dry
   products, feta cheese, bacon, eggs, and olives. Next we needed to find the veggie (green grocer) store and did buy tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, &
   lemons. We are set for breakfast for two days and lunch for three. We also found the nut store for pistachios and almonds. We are eating lots of nuts for
   they are delicious.

   The little streets of Mykonos were, supposedly, laid out in a maze to confuse the pirates back in the 1800's and to block the Meltemi winds that howl
   from the north. Now the streets overwhelm the tourist. The government built a new dock system two km from town for the cruise boats. Most ferryboats
   still use the dock that is close to town.

   Mykonos is not as clean as the town used to be. People still clean around their own homes, but the streets in the maze have some debris. Now the town
file:///C|/Documents%20and%20Settings/Owner/My%20Documents/Webpages%20cybertec/webpages/trips/greece2004/greece2.htm (8 of 12)12/19/2004 9:53:35 AM
Greece 2004 - Santorini, Myconos, Paros

   has a mechanized noisy street cleaner, like a big vacuum cleaner that you push, which ran at 8 pm on Friday night!

   Our first venture around town was to visit the archeological museum. The museum was located near the port and directly below our villa. We don't
   remember the museum being in the building or the building for that matter ten years ago when we last visited Mykonos. The museum has artifacts from
   Mykonos and other islands and from the 5th Century BC to 3,000 BC. A very interesting 7th Century BC amphora showed scenes of the Trojan War
   with a replica of the Trojan horse. The Maritime Museum, located in the center of the maze in old town is excellent! Models of many old time boats are
   quite detailed. Excellent instrument displays and old maps complete the collection. There was a traverse board of 1619, which was used for navigation
   on ships. John will have to research this item on the Internet.

   We walked around the maze of town ferreting out where we had stayed before and observing that here too there are lots of jewelry stores and clothing
   stores. Of course, tavernas and snack places abound. On our first night, we ate at a restaurant with a view of the windmills. Poor choice---the waiters
   were not very service oriented and the meal was very costly. Since we don't eat potatoes or rice, the main course was served without anything. Our
   second night we picked a better taverna, El Greco where we had a skate salad, stuffed zucchini, veal in a garlic parsley sauce, and stuffed lamb. Excellent

   We took the bus from Bus Station 2 out to the beach called Plati Gialos (Yialos). The beach is all built up now with tavernas and hotels and, of course,
   beach chairs and umbrellas. We walked over the hillside to the next beach, Paranga, just to check out the scenery. There was a lot of scenery, but
   Carolyn did not remember the beach from past trips. We needed to buy some bottled water, but the hotel bar wanted three times the going rate. We went
   to a little store next door and there the price was right.

   Another day, we rode the bus out to Paradise beach. This bus ride was truly a ride like a can of sardines! The bus pulled out of the town full. The aisle
   was full of people, but the driver let us and a few others aboard his bus. He then proceeded to stop at three more bus stops in town and cram at least 20
   more people on the bus! Paradise Beach is a good "sandy" beach that has itsy bitsy stones that are OK to walk on. The water is still chilly, but John went
   snorkeling anyway and there were a fair number of people in the protected area in front of a large "reef". Beyond the "reef", the water was about 30 feet
   deep with all kinds of fish. Restaurants rent the beach chairs and there are lots to choose from. This beach is fully equipped for large all night beach
   parties with many bars and large swimming pools. The bus ride back to town was on an almost empty bus! As we walked back through the maze of old
   town, we stopped to buy more eggs & cheese since we are staying a forth night. Our studio, even though the place is up 160 steps from the town or sea
   level, has a really great view. We like having a patio where we can sit prior to dinner (we eat around 7:30) and sit after we come back in the evening.

   Mykonos town has grown over the last 10 years. As you look at the town, there are lots of whitewashed homes climbing the hillside. In addition, there
   are lots more cars and scooters around. Many people live far from the center of the town and need a car. There are now two large parking lots on either
   side of the town. Next to the old port where the ferryboats dock there is a large area that isbeing reclaimed from the sea. In a few years, this will probably
   be turned into parking lots and hotels with swimming pools.

   One evening before dinner, we visited the Folklore Museum which is an old ship captain's mansion located next to the famous Paraportiani church in the
   Kastro on the postern (paraporti) gate of the medieval fortress. The church dates from 1425. The Kastro is adjacent to an area called Little Venice. The
   Folklore Museum is supposed to be the best one in Greece. There is a large collection of memorabilia pertaining to life on Mykonos. Supposedly, a
   windmill was part of the museum, but now two of the five windmills on the hill behind Little Venice have been restored into a home and a jewelry shop.
   The other three windmills are not restored.
file:///C|/Documents%20and%20Settings/Owner/My%20Documents/Webpages%20cybertec/webpages/trips/greece2004/greece2.htm (9 of 12)12/19/2004 9:53:35 AM
Greece 2004 - Santorini, Myconos, Paros

   As we left the museum, there was an outdoor wedding at the Greek Orthodox Paraportiani Church. We watched as a red car bedecked with a bouquet of
   flowers arrived at the little square in front of the church blowing its horn. The bride, bride's father and a flower girl got out of the car. The father gave the
   bride to the groom between the car and the wedding guests and the ceremony proceeded. There were no vows or words spoken by the couple. The priest
   and the cantor did all the speaking and singing. An interesting scene was from a small window above the wedding square where there was a husband and
   wife leaning out their window. He was dressed in an undershirt!

                                                                    On our last day on Mykonos, we rented a car to drive around the island and see the
                                                                    other towns and beaches. Initially, we drove north along the coast for great views.
                                                                    There really are not other towns except Ano Mero in the center of the island. Otherwise,
                                                                    there are villas, and some very elaborate ones, scattered around the island. There are
                                                                    many nice coves and beaches, but some are exposed to heavy surf and wind during
                                                                    some parts of the year. We stopped for our swim and beach sitting at Elia. This beach is
                                                                    also fully equipped for large all night beach parties with many bars and large swimming
                                                                    pools. There is even a campground! Late in the afternoon, we drove back to our villa
                                                                    where we left our car and walked down the hill to Mykonos town for dinner. We didn't
                                                                    want to trust that we would find our way back home with the car in the dark...we knew
                                                                    the way on foot and drinking and driving do not mix very well! After an hour of
                                                                    walking around the maze of walking streets, we finally found the restaurant that
                                                                    Carolyn wanted to eat at ---ARCHAEON (a rewrite of "Archeology") or the restaurant
                                                                    of ancient Greek Cuisine. Only spoons and knives are used. The wine served when you
                                                                    arrived was a honey white wine. Entrees were delicious and unique...potatoes or rice
                                                                    were not served since the ancient Greeks didn't have that type food. We had beets with
   chickpeas, sausage slices with mustard, pork stuffed with plums, and monkfish wrapped
   in grape leaves. Delicious!!! In the morning, we loaded the car with our luggage and drove down to the pier. While Carolyn watched over the luggage on
   the pier, John turned in the car about two blocks away, walked back to the pier, and we boarded the ferry to Rafina. We took the slow ferry to Rafina,
   which took 4.5 hours on (once again) flat, calm seas with a gorgeous blue sky.

   Amazing, simply we travel on the ferries across open sea or near a deserted island, people on the ferry are making and receiving cell phone
   calls! Where are the cell towers? What connects the cell towers if they are on deserted islands?

   Smoking is alive and well in Greece, sadly. They do have some smoke free places like the high-speed ferry and a room on the regular ferry; but
   restaurants are still filled with smokers. Greece still has a long way to go with pollution of their waterways. On all the ferryboats there are signs stating
   that throwing things overboard is illegal, but looking at their harbors and streams, they still need to work on the problem.

   Our ferry arrived at Rafina at 1 pm and we checked into the Avra Hotel right near the ferry docks. The guide book says that the hotel is a derelict, but the
   place has undergone a reconstruction and is very nice. The charge was 100 E for a seaside view with breakfast. After getting settled, we had lunch at a
   nearby café and walked a short while then sat on the balcony watching the ferry traffic. This is a rather large ferry port, the second largest mainland port,
   with big ferries coming in all the time. This is not a tourist town for English is not apparent except on the food menus. We figured out where the airport

file:///C|/Documents%20and%20Settings/Owner/My%20Documents/Webpages%20cybertec/webpages/trips/greece2004/greece2.htm (10 of 12)12/19/2004 9:53:35 AM
Greece 2004 - Santorini, Myconos, Paros

   bus loads so we will take that bus and then the # 96 bus from the airport to get to the Hotel Fenix in Glyfada despite the travel agents at the port saying
   that would be a stupid thing to do.

   At the ferry port in Rafina, there are many fish tavernas and little shops selling fresh fish. We decided to have dinner at one of the tavernas so we would
   have our last fish dinner of swordfish, calamari, red mullet and beets swimming in olive oil. We couldn't select from the menu for we didn't understand
   the fish names. For example we asked about one and the waiter said the fish was a "fin fish" then he went back to get one. I followed instead and was in
   the kitchen while the lady proceeded to show me all the fish that they had and I selected which ones we wanted. The dinner was delightful because eating
   was blended with people watching. People getting off the ferries and getting on buses; people driving down to the port to get fresh fish; and people
   simply walking along the quay.

   We left the hotel at 8:40 am intending to catch the 9:15 bus to the airport. We had picked up a printed schedule from the bus stand in the evening and
   saw that the buses left at 15 after the hour. We couldn't be sure that the bus would stop at the top of the hill so we walked down to the bus stop at the port
   where the bus started. We got there about 8:50 and loaded our bags in the bus and were prepared to wait outside where the temperature was cooler. At 9
   am, not 9:15, the bus left with us and only us aboard!! Thank goodness we were there early!

   We had decided to go to the airport from Rafina and then catch the # 96 bus at the airport that would take us to Glyfada and the Fenix Hotel rather than
   going into downtown Athens (Syntagma Square) Athens and catching a bus for Glyfada. Our plan all worked as planed with a stop at the Olympic
   airways to reconfirm our flight the next day. The Fenix Hotel is about 50 minutes from the new airport. We really should not have decided to stay here.
   We had been suckered in at home on the Internet where the advertisement for the hotel said the place was convenient to the airport. The ad was old and
   referred to the old airport. We should have returned to Athens and the Plaka because the airport shuttle from there is so easy. The airport shuttle to
   Glyfada took us 50 minutes and we saw that the traffic going in the opposite direction was really backed up due to road construction for the Olympics.
   With the opening of the new tram, however, the Glyfada area hotels should prosper. The new tram stop will be about 300 feet from the Fenix Hotel. The
   bus stop is just 150 feet from the hotel. The hotel is nice and even has a swimming pool. We took a walk over toward the water and saw the new tramline
   that the Greeks have built. As we watched, the cars and probably the drivers were being tested. We walked along the tramway, which also has walkway/
   bikeway all the way south into central Glyfada, about a mile. The Glyfada area is full of marinas and the marinas are full of fairly large private yachts.
   Someone has a lot of money in this area south of Athens. We had our last Greek gyro in Glyfada and walked back to the hotel for a delightful afternoon
   at the pool. At least we explored Rafina as a possible port to leave from and return to in the future. Staying in Rafina is no problem as the airport is only
   20 minutes away by bus. The main choice for lodging relative to the airport is Athens, near Syntagma Square, and Rafina. Glyfada, south of Athens
   along the Attica coast, had been just minutes away from the old airport. Forget about Glyfada and the renowned beaches of rocks. Head for the islands.

   Some Greeks make a historical claim to the invention of time. Nanosecond - the time between when you hear a car horn and the light changes to green!
   A microsecond is the time from when the light turns green that you hear a cataphony of horns. As a fashion statement, belly buttons are in, for most all of
   the young chippies wore low cut hipster pants and short skintight tops that stopped well above the belly button.

   Drinking water in Greece has changed since we were last here in 1992. On the mainland and in Crete you can drink the tap water, but on Poros,
   Santorini, Mykonos and Paros, we were told to buy bottled water.

   During our five weeks in Greece, we certainly enjoyed the Greek food and wine. We looked forward to selecting great restaurants or local tavernas. We
   can say that of all the meals we ate we can identify three restaurants that receive the McHale Five Star award: Galini in Koutouloufari Crete; Ambrosia
file:///C|/Documents%20and%20Settings/Owner/My%20Documents/Webpages%20cybertec/webpages/trips/greece2004/greece2.htm (11 of 12)12/19/2004 9:53:35 AM
Greece 2004 - Santorini, Myconos, Paros

   in Oia Thera; and Archaeon (ancient Greek Cuisine) in Mykonos. All were fabulous meals, excellent service, and delicious wine. We also had no trouble
   maintaining our "no bread, no pasta, no potatoes, no rice, and just a little sugar". We sometimes had problems in getting this message across to the
   waiter. Obviously, the Atkins food plan has not hit the Greek cuisine yet.

   We caught the airport bus and arrived in plenty of time to be checked in. Everybody had to have the checked luggage hand-checked. Our bag was so
   tightly packed the checkers were really challenged. Somehow they got everything back in our bags. Ten hours later, we were back at JFK in New York
   after leaving at 12:30 pm Athens time. Our bus connection to LaGuardia was a delightful 30-minute ride (the bus driver was a riot and he did all the short
   cuts during rush hour traffic to get to LaGuardia) and an uneventful flight with US Air got us back to National Airport. We took the subway to Silver
   Spring and a taxi home. Home by 8 PM East Coast time.

   John & Carolyn

   See our photos of our Greek trip

file:///C|/Documents%20and%20Settings/Owner/My%20Documents/Webpages%20cybertec/webpages/trips/greece2004/greece2.htm (12 of 12)12/19/2004 9:53:35 AM

To top