Our summer trip to Greece was fabulous. We saw the country from the comfort of a 7 day Princess Mediterranean and Aegean cruise ( I know purists will criticize a cruise is not really visiting Greece. But it is what it is). We started in Rome and ended in Athens. The ship was clean and beautifully new and up to date. The variety of delicious plant based foods was sufficient to satisfy my vegan appetite. Every restaurant, the service was top notch and did their best to accommodate my dietary needs. Kudos to Princess.
Our first stop was Salerno (close to Naples), Italy. We took a private tour of Pompeii, Herculaneum and Vesuvius and Naples. For 4 people, this was more economical than a group tour plus we got to see much more.
Next port was Kotor, Montenegro. In the morning, we kayaked, swam at the beach and biked back into town for lunch. Then we walked around the impressive ancient walled city of Kotor.
The next port of call was Corfu. Here we toured an Olive farm. This tour is worthy of its own blog (next month in November).
Then off to Crete where we snorkeled. It was refreshing but no comparison to Great Barrier, Belize or Hawaii. Nothing to see except a few small fish. The city of Chania was worth wandering around.
Then to island of Mykonos. Too much to do on your own for one day, so we took another tour that included the highlights of the town’s maze of blue and white buildings and across the water to the ancient ruins of Delos. Out tour guide told us some trivia that is too “cool” to forget. She said the building were painted white with lime, which is alkaline, hence making the buildings antimicrobial. This apparently helped to reduce the spread of the Plague. In addition, the white color reflects light to help keep homes cooler during hot summers. The Loulaki blue roofs because that color is abundant and inexpensive. The town was purposely built like a maze, so it allowed easy escapes for the locals from invading pirates. Invaders would get lost in the maze of all white. I can vouch for the latter!
Final destination was fabulous Athens. Friends had advised not to stay too long in Athens because of congestion, heat, and pollution. Due to time constraints and this advice, we only stayed in Athens for 2 nights but could have easily enjoyed a few more days .
We arrived in Athens in the early morning. Luckily we were able to check into our Airbnb early too. It was perfectly located on a side street off the main pedestrian walk way, Dionysiou Areopagitou Street. From there we could walk to plenty of cafes that were conducive to people watching. It is a very walkable city. Close by was a lively night market. The night view of the acropolis was spectacular.
Athens Night Market
I was impressed by how the Greeks we met were so easy going: life is to be enjoyed and worries pushed aside.
On our first day we took a Segway tour of Athens (Athens Segway Tours). During our introductory lesson, we were told number one rule is: do not hit any pedestrians! That was good to know especially as we zoomed through winding paths in the busy market place weaving in-between pedestrians. It was a blast.
The next day we took a comprehensive full day tour of Athens (Keys Tours was discounted by purchasing tickets from our bank’s travel site). It included a tour of the Acropolis and Acropolis Museum. Warnings: don’t leave the museum unless you have a ticket in hand – that includes going to book store or cafe. We did that and they absolutely would not let us back in. (Being part of a tour, our guide had on 1 ticket for our whole group. It was impossible for him to get more than one ticket). Also, wear pants, shorts or some very good underwear if you don’t want o expose yourself. The glass floors become glass ceilings for the floor below so if you look up, you can potentially see underwear, etc. Could have been better designed, such as installing reflective see thru glass facing the floor below. But maybe this is part of the whole experience(?).
As part of your full day tour with Keys Tours, we had lunch at the lovely Arcadia Restaurant. I was served a delicious plant based meal. Highly recommend this restaurant. It is within walking distance from the Acropolis Museum.
On another note, it was shocking to see how much the Greeks smoked. That was the only downside. Suppose you could bring a N99 face mask. But on average, Greeks people live longer than Americans despite the smoking. Some explanations for this are: they have fewer gun deaths, lower suicide rates, more doctors and hospital beds per capita, they are able to express their emotions better than we do hence less stress despite high unemployment and financial crisis.
Comments and Questions always Welcomed!