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Holidays in Greece, autumn 2006


view down from Acropolis on Athens an Ionic column Acropolis guards in front of the Parliament the Olympieion on the hill Likavitos cast off at sunrise in Piraeus Fira on Santorin Oia on Santorin sunset at Santorin view from old Thera to the mountain Profitis Ilias sunset on the island of Naxos Kouros next to Apollon on Naxos avarage contryside on Naxos Acropolis with illumination

Well, Greece is by far no unusual destination for tourists at all. Also while choosing this we were having some relaxing holidays in mind. How it really turned out at the end this small report shall report.

Down to Greece we of course took the plain, which was from Aegean Airlines. Used to well organized German conditions one could for sure classify this flight as chaotic. Among other things this became evident because of seats where assigned twice, announcements in English could hardly be understood due to very bad articulation and that in preparation for landing the crew did not manage to clean up all the empty meal-packages and tumblers for some reason (I guess in all the hectic they finally stuffed all in the toilet). In addition there was another stopover in Thessaloniki, so that the whole process was repeated. But generally one could feel absolutely safe.

In Athens we stayed at the hotel Austria which is located not far from the Acropolis. It can actually be endured. But on the other hand it was also not that, what someone from Germany expects from a hotel, also if the expectations are not set too high. The rooms are very small; there is no carpet on the floor what does not lower the noise level at all. The skilled-labor qualities that revealed themselves based on the bathroom arrangement would cost every in Germany working workman the job. In addition there were the ants that apparently maintained a side road from one corner of the room towards the French window. Since there was no other free room available at that time the lady from the reception sprayed quite experienced inodorous ants spray. Thereupon the ants stopped their business for the time being. On the question if such things happen more often here she replied: “well, that’s Greece”.

In Athens there is not really much to see, apart from the Acropolis of course. And with this we had some luck, because on that weekend there were the European Heritage Days. This meant free entrance to the Acropolis despite paying 12 Euros per person. No question, such things are really appreciated and we did enter two times that day. Many others must have thought the same, or is it permanently that crowded there? Many tourists also went to the parliament building to ban themselves on a photo with one of the brave guards there. Looking at this one could think this a a zoo. You could feel really sorry for the guards. After having a look into the old Olympic stadium we reached the ancient Olympieion. There was also free entrance. The view down from the mountain Likavitos is also worthwhile, especially if you walk the way up. But for the change we took the cable car down. This was surprisingly convenient, because the ticket machine at the top station was out of work. A quite unfriendly employee told us to pay a the bottom station then. But nobody at the bottom station reminds you on that.

After this we went on with Blue Star Ferries to the island of Santorin, which is one of the most famous islands of the Cyclades. This takes about 7 hours. And if there wouldn't have been all the stinking smokers (obviously this is a rather big problem in Greece) and the with considerable noise in a mess talking Greek woman, there would remain only positive memory about this trip on the ocean.

The hotel Zephyros in the village of Kamari was alright, only the weather started with rain at the first day on the island. Anyway we luckily decided in the afternoon to hike the about 12km long way along the edge of the caldera. The weather became better. Because it had been quite late already, we started at the village of Oia. So there is the better part with solid an lightened track at the end, which would be no problem at all to walk it in darkness. This track, which took us about 3 hours, is really very nice. We only didn't see one of the quite famous sunsets because the horizon was dulled with clouds when the sun was going down. Nevertheless tourists from the cruising ships were holding a spectacular. At home probably none of them are interested in sunsets at all. Just here on Santorin they suddenly make one photo after the other, some even with flash and in front of a very romantic power pole. After this a day on the beach followed. The beach at Kamari consist of black pebbles and it is surprisingly civilized. There is even a box for changing clothing. At that day there had been great waves and probably for a long time I was the only one who went into this while the others were too scared or whatever. This courage was honoured with sore throat. On the Profitis Ilias, the with 575m highest mountain of the island, I still manage to get up without problems. The peak was just in clouds and the guy from the takeaway at the end of the street meant that it is too dangerous now because of the fog. Just after me there came a couple from Austria (Hello to you!), which he also dissuaded. However, as we were now three together, we started. Actually the track was partly badly marked but generally no big problem. And on the peak we were rewarded with a clear view.

On the island of Naxos the cold really started to become a problem. Because of this we were not very active on this island at all. Most exhausting on the first day had probably been the cockroach in the bathroom in the morning and in the evening the fight for the best position for a good photo (including the sun) through the ancient gate at sunset time. Naxos is a bigger island which also has quite good beaches with bright sand. But here one can betake oneself also to the heartland. And because I was not very well, we decided to undertake a trip with the public bus to the city of Apollon at the next day. This is the longest bus route on Naxos and one can get a good impression of the country side this way. It is surprisingly mountainous and all the streets are narrow serpentines. Next to the city of Apollon itself you can have a look at a very old, 10m tall stone-man, which was dug out of the stones a long time ago and since that laying around at that place. The journey back prolongated almost to eternity. And instead of the expected detente I got some fever from it. That indeed went away over night but from that on we were only lying on the beach. That helped to become better again.

We had one more evening in Athens before we had to go to the airport again. At the check-in we were asked to proceed quickly to the security check, because the employees there were on strike at that day. There were only a few counters in operation, which caused quite long queues in front of them. It actually took not that long at the end, because obviously they did also not check things very properly. Fortunately my cutlery made of metal remained undiscovered. The security area, for which we had sufficient time now, emerged as a commercial no man's land – no shop far and wide. This seemed to hit my girlfriend quite hard and the time until departure became a torture. But at the end we both agreed that Greece could be a destination for future holidays again.

... yours Supernobby

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