Greek Island Trip

June 2012
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Friday, June 22, 2012, Mykonos

This was our final travel day before returning home. The bus wasn't scheduled to pick us up until 1:10pm, so we had the whole morning free. The problem was we needed to check out of the hotel by noon and also have lunch before the bus picked us up. After packing up our suitcases and getting permission to check out at 12:30, we decided to head toward the little town at the base of the road before heading over to Ornos Beach for lunch. There really wasn't much to the town. There were a few shops, a laundramat, and an out of order ATM machine. After spending a little bit of time exploring the town we took a look at the nearby beach, which being on the north side is very windy and rough and really only used for kite surfing, before heading over to Ornos Beach.

Once we arrived at Ornos Beach, we were still quite early for lunch, so we explored the east shore which had quite a few boats docked and headed to what looked like a hotel named Santa Marina. We finally headed back to the restaurant we had dined at the night before and ordered a Greek style pizza which had feta cheese, onions, and capers. It was surprisingly good and was exactly what we needed for lunch. We then headed back to the hotel, this time taking the "shortcut" which got us back in only a few minutes. The bus then picked us up and took us to the new harbor where we boarded the Blue Line Naxos ferry to Athens.

The ferry was very different than the high speed ferry we had taken the previous two times. This ferry was very large, more like a small cruise ship, and was able to hold considerably more passengers as well as scooters, cars, trucks, and even a bus. Unfortunately the ferry is quite a bit slower than the Flying Cat and made stops at Tinos and Syros before reaching the port of Piraeus near Athens, making the total travel time about five and a half hours.

Friday, June 22, 2012, Athens

Upon arriving in Athens, Alexandra was very anxious to start exploring the city. Unfortunately the bus needed to drop off two groups at their hotels before arriving at our hotel, the Amalia Hotel. While we were driving to the first two hotels our guide was telling the group about how you have to be careful of crime and pickpockets. After dropping off the first two groups the guide said, "I didn't mention anything earlier, because I didn't want them to feel bad, but the area that your hotel is in is much safer and much nicer." Just as he said that we noticed that there seemed to be police on every corner and nice high end shops. Our hotel turned out to be only a block away from the parliament building and a short walk from the Acropolis and other destinations we wanted to visit. I guess it was worth paying extra for an upgraded hotel and having to take a longer bus ride.

After checking in to the hotel we almost immediately ran back out to start exploring before everything closed. Our first stop was to the parliament building where we caught the tail end of the changing of the guard and were able to get some photos with the guards. Like the English guards, they stand perfectly still, almost like statues, however their uniforms are quite different than the British. We then explored Plaka which is the main shopping district. While most of the stores were starting to close, the restaurants remained open, most showing the world cup game. Even though it was getting late it was still quite hot, so we enjoyed a slushy as we walked back to the hotel.

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