Sunday, April 23, 2006

I'm Back!

I put Michael on a plane back to Canada this morning :( and then spent the rest of the day cleaning my room, lunching outside in the sun with my friends, and doing all my post-vacation laundry. Blah. But don't worry, there shall be no "I've been on vacation and have a sun-tan" talk cause although I have been on vacation, and I do have a tan, I also have a horrible little cold. I'm blaming it on the kid who was sitting behind me on the plane from Athens to Rome, sneezing and sniffling all his little mediterranean cold germs in my direction. grr... (achoo!) But I also picked up some good quality Boot's brand cold meds today, so hopefully I'll be on the mend soon. And since I've now finished all my chores, I can spend the whole evening watching DVD's and knitting - the perfect cold remedy! :)

While I'm watching the movie, you can look at my greece photos! (don't worry, I'll not post any of the many Classics-geek inspired gratuitous ancient ruins photos that I took! - thank goodness for digital cameras, or my student loans would be entirely wasted on film developing costs!)


a street in Nafplio, a town in the Peloponnese

a street in Hania, on Crete

a beach near Matala, Crete (south central Crete)

Mike on one of the patios we visited during our extra day in Iraklio, Crete

the waves that caused our extra day in Iraklio

Fira, on Santorini

Oia, Santorini

the requisite Santorini sunset

the Parthenon

the very tall Temple of Olympian Zeus in Athens
(fyi: I'm just over 5 feet tall, and im standing right in front of the steps)

sunset in Athens, at the end of our trip

Some things I learned on this trip:
1) Do rent a car and drive in Greece. Just don't try to drive in Athens.

2) stop signs do not always mean 'stop' - sometimes they mean 'yield', sometimes they mean 'drive right through without slowing down'

3) driving with half your car on the shoulder is totally acceptable and even expected, especially if you want to follow speed limits. this enables other drivers to pass you easily, even when the road has only one lane each way and there is an oncoming vehicle in that other lane

4) do travel in the off-season - rooms go for 1/2 price or less, and there is no need to make reservations, except in Athens. Oh, and there's no crowds. here's a fun fact to illustrate this: something like 3,ooo,ooo people visit the acropolis each year. that's more than 800 people every hour... if you go in August, you will see those 800+ people. so go in the off season, and arrive when it opens at 8am. sharing the acropolis with barely 10 other people is really amazing - sharing it with several hundred? not so much.

5) take your UK student card with you, if you have one. EU students get into every archaeological site for free. we probably saved about 100 euros this way. which was then spent in better ways (see #8)

6) do count on at least one ferry cancelation - a storm blew in the night before we were supposed to go to Santorini, and all access to the island (air and sea) was canceled. Hence the day of 3 patios in Iraklio. :)

7) go to Iraklio in Crete and try the bougatza at a coffee shop named Kirkor, next to the Morosini fountain. its really good. really really good.

8) look for the little tiny hole-in-the wall restaurants, and ask if there's space even if they look full. we found a great little place in Iraklio this way!

9) go wine-tasting on Santorini. we walked about 4km from Oia to the Sigalas winery and were really hard-pressed to pick just one bottle to take home! (excuse the pun)

10) this is a very common bit of back-packing advice, but when preparing to go to Greece, I definitely suggest taking half the clothes and twice the money that you'd originally planned on. Greece requires a few minor luxuries to be properly enjoyed... a car is way more convienient than taking busses, (most of) the more pricey restaurants really are worth it, and sometimes you just have to have that expensive bottle of Vinsanto dessert wine! :)

umm... I think that's it.. I'll add more if i think of them. But now, off to knitting.


Ellen said...

The pictures of Delphi and the Santorini sunset are beautiful! I for one think you should post some of the gratuitous ancient ruins photos.

Laura said...

Sounds like you had a fantastic time! The pictures look great too. I love Greece! After reading your post all I want to do is eat Souvlaki and drink Ouzo ;)


That looks like a wonderful way to spend some time, great pics and inspiring words. Having a greek meal in Derby for my sister's hen night this coming weekend isn't really going to come close is it!

See you soon, Hx

Jessica said...

I also remember our fantastic trip around Greek islands! But the most memorable was our stay at Tzekos Villas, Santorini. One day was enough to understand that we'll come back here not once!