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Greece (1993)

a travel blog by shoshtrvls




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Day 1

Paris, France


Arrived in Paris to discovery what an extraordinarily spoiled traveler I've become. Business class was decidedly less comfortable than I had anticipated, possibly owing in part to being in the smoking section. The amenities bag was less equipped and, horrors of horrors, I couldn't get a confirmed seat assignment for the Apris-Athens leg. As a result, I virtually demanded access to a lounge area away from the hoi palloi -- possibly a mistake given its rather stuffy and humid air. What has happened to the days when I was satisfied with a coach ticket anywhere, a clean room and a bathroom down the hall? This is no doubt the "growing old" I was warned about and to which I was sure I would never succumb.

permalink written by  shoshtrvls on May 1, 1993 from Paris, France
from the travel blog: Greece (1993)
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Day 1 (Continued)

Athens, Greece


Just when I had resolved to improve my attitude, I'm advised that my Paris-Athens ticket has been downgraded to economy. Rudely and with no apologies. Moreover, no one would even consider a refund or travel credit, and it took all the anger I could muster just to get proof of the downgrade -- a stamp on the back of my boarding pass. In fact, first they stamped the ticket and then tried to take it away from me. What idiots. And what a shitty way to begin my vacation. (It's USAir from now on).

On the other hand, they did extend and increase the travel credit that I couldn't use to buy the upgrade, and waived the fee for changing my return flight. I guess I'll wait and see what they do with this.

It's now about 7:40 p.m. -- I spent less than 4 hours in Athens and am now ready to move on -- at 9:25 p.m. -- to Santorini. I spent the afternoon wandering around the outside of the Acropolis (it was closed), the outside of the temple of Zeus (also closed) and inside the Plaka (very much open). The plaka, the old section of Athens, was nice for wandering, sitting in an outdoor cafe, etc.

When I couldn't figure our what else to do, I hopped in a cab and made my way to the domestic airport. And now I'm about ready to fall asleep.

permalink written by  shoshtrvls on May 1, 1993 from Athens, Greece
from the travel blog: Greece (1993)
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Day 1 (Continued)

Thira, Greece


Te plane to Santorini was full of Americans, at least thirty o them. Behind me sat 2 women -- 1 American and 1 British. At the time they seemed quite obnoxious.

Eventually, the plane landed and needless to say, we were all accosted by the usual group of touts showing off their penions. Eventually I ended up in a minivan with the two women and a couple from Houston. We were taken to a nice, clean little place very similar to the one I stayed in in Cuzco, Peru. After getting settled, the five of us went out for dinner and a walk.

We found a great little taverna packed with Greeks (thank g-d). I learned that the American woman, Tammy, worked for the Department of Defense studying ergonomics and the Brit, Fiona, was getting her masters in child psychology. They met when Tammy spent a semester studying in Britan. They are young; I am old. The couple from Houston went back to the pension after dinner. Tammy, Fiona and I had a drink and eventually returned to base by 1 a.m. Had to put the earplugs in due to a barking dog and Fiona and Tammy's laughter.

permalink written by  shoshtrvls on May 1, 1993 from Thira, Greece
from the travel blog: Greece (1993)
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Day 2

Thira, Greece


The long travel day eventually caught up with me and I slept until 10:00. However, beginning at about 7 or 8, I could hear church bells ringing and mules being driven past my window. The manager of the pension didn't have time to say "good morning" (everyone here speaks English) before asking if I was staying another night and demanding another 3000 drachmas. Tammy and Fiona were soon up and after showers and such we made our way toward town at about 11:00.

Breakfast was oj and greasy eggs while overlooking the Mediterranean Ocean. Then it was to travel agency city where we booked a 2 p.m. mini-cruise to the volcano and Hot Springs. We then walked a bit before returning to our rooms to change for the boat trip.

In making our way to the cable car to the old part, we discovered real Thira -- shops and bars pitched precariously on cliffs above the bay. The view was spectacular and I could see why the Houston couple had left our small pension to find a place with this view.

The boat trip was OK -- first a 1/2 hour hike up to the top of the volcano where Tammy, Fiona and I had a quick picnic lunch, then a cruise around the Caldera -- it was both hard work and relaxing, especially since we took a mule back up.

We returned for more window shopping, a change of clothes and dinner theoretically watching the sunset, but it was too hazy. In any event, the food and the company was good and it was an enjoyable day.



permalink written by  shoshtrvls on May 2, 1993 from Thira, Greece
from the travel blog: Greece (1993)
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Day 3

Oia, Greece


My body clearly knows that it is on vacation as I slept in again, this time almost to 10:00 a.m. Eventually I awoke and dressed, said my good-byes to Tammy and Fiona and headed into town.

After buying my ferry ticket to Iraklion, Crete and my plne ticket back to Athens, I proceeded to rent a scooter. An old scooter. A scooter with virtually no brakes. First I rode to one of the southern beaches -- Kamari -- only to discover that the beaches of Santorini pretty well stink -- black and pebbly with nothing romantic or isolated about it.

Turning around, I headed to Oia, the other main town in the island. The ride was a terrifying one -- the road hugged the mountainside and the cars barreled down and up, caring not at all if one lonely scooter got pushed off the side and into the mediterranean rocks far, far below. Anyway, but the time I got there, all I wanted to do was go home, which I promptly did.

permalink written by  shoshtrvls on May 3, 1993 from Oia, Greece
from the travel blog: Greece (1993)
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Day 3 (Continued)

Thira, Greece


The next several hours were spent wandering around Thira's pricey chops and sitting in one of the bars overlooking the cliffs. Eventually I succumbed to the lure of the greatly overpriced jewelry and spent $900 on a gold bracelet -- more than I will probably spend on this entire trip!

The bus ride to the new port was reminiscent of the ride from Macchu Picchu to the train station -- tight switchbacks so marrow I was sure that the bus wold miss one and plummet down the mountain. Needless to say, it didn't.

permalink written by  shoshtrvls on May 3, 1993 from Thira, Greece
from the travel blog: Greece (1993)
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Day 3 (Continued)

Irakleion, Greece


The catamaran ride was uneventful and I slept through some of it. In Irakleion I found an acceptable but expensive ($25) hotel, wandered around a bit, had a not-very-good meal and eventually went to sleep.

permalink written by  shoshtrvls on May 3, 1993 from Irakleion, Greece
from the travel blog: Greece (1993)
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Day 4

Irakleion, Greece


Again I slept in, this time to 9 a.m. Anxious to get out of my not very comfortable hotel, I quickly showered and repacked and headed for Knosos.

permalink written by  shoshtrvls on May 4, 1993 from Irakleion, Greece
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Day 4 (Continued)

Knosos, Greece


The ruins at Knosos would have been disappointing had I any expectations. Even so, I found them seriously lacking. First, they were packed to the gills with tourists, many in large groups sufficient to block the views and passage of anyone not a part of them. Second, although interesting, they lacked the power of, for example, Macchu Pichu. Finally, it was impossible to get a guide and, as a result, I am certain that I missed some of the more important sites (the Queen's chamber being one). Since most of the tourists in Crete appear to be German or French rather than American or English as on Santorini, I couldn't even find a group to tag along with.

permalink written by  shoshtrvls on May 4, 1993 from Knosos, Greece
from the travel blog: Greece (1993)
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Day 4 (Continued)

Irakleion, Greece


Returning back to the center of Irakleion, I spent a few minutes in the Archeology Museum - a bit overwhelming with seemingly hundreds of identical bulls, vases, scarabs, etc., and the frescos upstairs were not particularly overwhelming as only small portions were real artifacts. Basically, these were all the originals from Knosos. The room of Roman sculpture looked to be the best, but it was closed for some unknown reason.

permalink written by  shoshtrvls on May 4, 1993 from Irakleion, Greece
from the travel blog: Greece (1993)
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Welcome to my travels. On this site you'll find recent trips and some very old trips. You'll note that for some trips I wrote very detailed reports (at least in the beginning), for others, I didn't even take notes of where I was on what dates. Nevertheless, I've done my best to document, to...

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