This round up post is long over due! It's been two months since my trip but I have been a busy bee. After I got home to NYC, I basically kept to myself for a full two weeks. The trip wore me out and I had to recover from jet lag and dive right back into my daytime job. Then I got busier, catching up with friends, going away again (Charlotte, North Carolina to visit a friend), hosted friends from abroad for about a week, caught up with family for Thanksgiving, etc. Today, Dec. 11, is the first Sunday I've had in months all to myself. No plans, no guests, no obligations. Just total me time. Whew! Oh yeah and I booked a trip to LA for the end of this month.
Anyway, Greece was a great trip. I totally recommend late September, early October as the best time to visit. Prices are cheaper, the weather is still incredibly warm enough to go lay out and swim in the sea, and it's not as crowded. The Mediterranean diet is also amazing. Before Greece I was watching what I eat, but while in Greece, you have all this access to great, local seafood and veggies and I definitely 'slimmed' down based on eating the food. Since I've been back home, I've been trying keep with the mentality of eating clean and simple.
So in summary, my Greece trip was as follows:
Day 1-2: Athens
Day 3-7: Rhodes (Symi, Rhodes Old Town and Lindos)
Day 8-12: Crete (Agios Nikolaos, Chania, Heraklion)
Day 13-16: Santorini (Oia, Fira, Imerovigli)
Day 17-20: Back to Athens (not on purpose!)
To save you time from reading thru ALL the other posts, my 'favorite days' of the trip were:
- Day 1: Visiting the Acropolis
- Day 2: More Athens sightseeing and Temple of Zeus visit
- Day 5: The beach in Lindos
- Day 10: Elafonissi beach in Crete
- Day 14: Wandering around Santorini
- Day 15: More wandering around Santorini
Highlights for me for the trip were:
- Lindos, Rhodes: the beach here right in front of the fortress was glorious.
- Taman: I am still thinking about this restaurant since I've been home. The ribs here were perfection. I don't think I'll ever have the same quality every again. I wish I took a picture but didn't get a chance. If you ever find yourself in Rhodes, this place is a MUST.
- Elafonissi Beach: One of the most beautiful beaches I've ever been to. The drive there is a doozy but it's worth it. Wish we could've gone back one more time. Everywhere you look it's sand and the beautiful Aegean sea. I am not a strong swimmer either so the fact that you can wade very far out and not worry about being pulled out was great.
- Everything Santorini. Seriously, it's gorgeous here. Three full days is enough but I'm glad we booked four, since we ended up having to leave our fourth day. Never got to see the eastern side of the island but I'll live. The west side is where it's at!
Stuff I Would Skip:
- Agio Nikolaos. It's a very quaint area but really small and not much to do. I would say for Crete, just stick to Chania and the western end. Agio Nikolaos is way on the other side of the island so unless you have lots of time, then you can kill some here. But if not, Chania is enough and also really pretty and fun to explore.
- Rhodes Old Town. It's great for people who have never seen a medieval fortress/city....But if you've seen a bunch (I've been to a few this year between Cartagena, Copenhagen, and Nova Scotia) then they don't allocate more than a few hours here. It is very family friendly though but also the type of place with a bunch of tourist traps in the form of restaurants and souvenir stores.
- Symi. Even though one of favorite pictures from the trip was taken here, Symi itself was boring to me. Not much to see there, the town is super small. You can see it in 30 minutes. We did have a great lunch on the island but outside of eating on Symi, there is not much to do (I'm not a fan of souvenir shopping for stuff I will never really use).
Stuff that Surprised Me:
- I had no idea that every Greek restaurant would basically have the same menu everywhere. As such, I got pretty tired of eating the food. But shrimp saganaki is amazing and it would be different every time I ordered it! Some places had huge gigantic shrimp, other places not as much, some places had great sauces, others were ok. So you never really know what you'll get.
- The ferries are really modern and clean. The long 8 hour ferry ride between Athens and Santorini that I tried to avoid by flying? It was a great ferry ride. We set sail in the mid afternoon so we got to watch the sunset on the ferry and it was beautiful. Also, had great phone reception and wi-fi access on board the whole time.
- I had no clue that Greece was a country where, due to the pipe issues, you can't throw toilet paper down the toilet to flush. Ughhhhhh. You have to throw it in the trashcan nearby. While I understand why this had to be done, it was also annoying and kinda gross. And this was observed EVERYWHERE including the nicer hotels/restaurants.
- Athens airport is not great. Definitely plan to get there three hours early if you want to have time to shop or eat before going on your international flight home. Otherwise, due to the long lines, it'll take you almost two hours to get to your gate!
All in all, had a wonderful time and I would love to visit Corfu, which I've heard is a 'green' island (meaning they got trees! not barren and dry like Crete and Rhodes seemed to be) as well as maybe some of the other islands.