The Greek Islands

 

Don't go to Greece if you can't live without 20 minute hot showers and soft, double ply TP that you flush down the toilet because neither of those luxuries is readily available there.  But if you are intrigued with walking amongst the historical remnants of ancient societies,  love beaches with brilliantly blue water and are enchanted by picturesque scenery, Greece is a good choice.  The Parthenon is one of those "must see" sights by day and even more impressive at night when you gaze upward from the bustling Plaka below.

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The Plaka, perhaps the oldest part of Athens, is a tourist haven with all its shops, tavernas and street life ranging from musicians to unlicensed merchants who display their high fashion "brand name" bags on sheets laid upon the street and then instantly bundled up to disappear before one notices the policeman rounding the corner.  Being a pedestrian-only area, it is a mecca for casual wandering, shopping for souvenirs, sipping a bit of local Ozzo or having a traditional Greek dinner. We shared our Greek adventure with friends Peter and Carol, who managed to find the best dark chocolate gelato there!

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The museums and archeological sites are worth the trip, but we spent much more time in the islands than in the big city of Athens and are very glad we did.  Athens, like so many large cities, is dirtied with grime and graffiti, crowded and clogged with cars and motorcycles. Thankfully, there are many areas easily accessible by public transit since finding a parking space is next to impossible.  All the walking helped us keep off the weight created by sampling all the local food and drink. The museums have wonderful historical information and antiquities and  Athens is a daily mix of ancient and modern life.  We stayed at the Centrotel Hotel, a reasonably priced hotel that was modern, clean and located in a very convenient, but seedy, area of the city. The view from our balcony was that of a charming but deteriorated building between more recent structures. Many streets are extremely narrow and watching the multitude of taxi navigate between cars is an experience in itself.  Graffiti and dirt are common occurrences.  We looked forward to our flight to Crete. 

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