Sunday, March 25, 2007

Greece overview (part 2)

Wednesday:

Athens: visited the Parthenon on the Acropolis and the ancient agora (central park of Socrates' day). There are a ton of dogs and cats that seem to have free reign of the city - it's like the scene in 12 Monkeys.

Thursday:
Took the ferry to Santorini. The weather was so bad that it took 3 landing attempts and 2+ hours to make one of the island stop-overs. Eventually arrived in Santorini. Took the bus up to the top of the mountain to the capital Fira and hoped for the best. Met a very friendly local with a room to rent. Problem solved.

Friday:
Hiked along the caldera (volcanic rim) from Fira to Oia (we were told it has the best sunsets in the world). 3 hours into the 6 hours hike, we came across a friendly stray dog. When we tried to "shoo" him away, we learned that he seems to respond to the name "shoo". Hiked the rest of the way and he actually led us to the best place to watch the sunset.

Saturday:
Hiked down to the Agean Sea on the east side of the island. Olga was trying to get a feel for it and she fell in. I got a great photo :) Took the ferry to Naxos. A very high-pressure room owner convinced us to stay at his place. He is a VERY proud lifelong Naxos resident. He keeps getting us to try his Naxos local wine, cheese, raqi liquor, coffee, etc. I could imagine retiring here :)

Sunday:
Greek national independence day (from Turkey). Walked all around Naxos to visit the historical sites, wade in the Agean (not on purpose), and hiked mountains. Greeks are super friendly and, unlike when we were in Spain in January, they keep giving us freebies and long-changing (opposite of short-changing?) us. It's tough to find good Gyros in the islands, though.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Greece overview (part 1)

Friday was my last day of work at the old job. We decided (basically last minute) to take a 1 week trip to Greece (plus 3 days of travel w/ nights in Chicago, London, and New York). It's certainly not the most direct way to Greece, but I have 2 weeks off between jobs and it's a fun way to get from SFO to Athens.

Sunday night:
Chicago was fun. We stayed at a place near the airport, walked over to White Castle for late-night burgers - see picture on Olga's blog: http://calisto239.livejournal.com/38970.html When we stayed up almost all night searching for things to do in London all of the next night. Success!

Monday night:
One of the most enjoyable site-seeings we have ever had. Walked all around the SOHO neighborhoods in London from midnight to 5am. Hopped between a few late-night cafes and restaurants. I have a couple pictures and Olga has the details from some characters we ran into (Olga will probably post them to her blog).

Tuesday:
Arrived in Athens in the early afternoon. Ran into two American tourists on their way out and they gave us their extra tickets to see the Acropolis and ancient Dionisys theatre. On the bus ride from the airport to the hotel, I suddenly became extremely sleepy and couldn't keep my eyes open. Finally found the hotel (it seemed like it took forever to find the right street) and took a siesta until 9pm. Wandered the streets and found a great local restaurant with no tourists inside (until we arrived). Went back to the hotel and passed out again.