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CITY SIGHT SEEING-ATHENS
The next day while starting from the Hotel; we saw the City Sightseeing Hop On- Hop Off bus and decided to board it. It was a Double-Decker with an open top & quite reasonable, 22 Euro for 24 hours use. The bus driver provided us with the hands free that one could use to listen to the commentary that was available in 11 languages. It was a good idea to take this bus and learn about Athens history and culture from ancient times to the present. The Tour lasted for about 70 minutes. The frequency of the bus is very good. One can stop at any point and board from the same stop in next half & hour. We first stopped at Piraeus, the main port of Greece and the biggest in Mediterranean, at the main harbor called Marina Zea harbour, it is a very pretty fishing port surrounded by various water front restaurants and bars. We had a lavish lunch at the Cheers! Tavern and Bar. Great service, incredible food and astonishing marina view, one must try the Greek salad here it was delicious. Have a look!!
After a long afternoon at the Marina Zea, we boarded the bus and stopped at the Acropolis. It is located on a high stony outcrop above the city of Athens and contains the remains of architectural and historically significant buildings. We spent a long time at the Acropolis before heading back to Plaka for another relishing dinner, enjoying the music of the Greek local singers.
THE LAST DAY
On the final day at Athens, we started early with the city sightseeing tour and had a great panoramic view of the city. We stopped for a bit at the Temple of Zeus, Constitution square, Former Royal Palace, Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, Zappion Garden, Prime Minister’s residence, Old and new Parliament and the Panathinaiko Stadium where the first Olympic Games took place in 1896. After this tour, we had lunch at Thisio. This area is very crowded and home -to many cafes and restaurants. The area is known for ancient Agora.
We had the opportunity to eat amazing Indian food at Bollywood Kitchen: an Indian Restaurant. I was craving for Indian food and was relieved to find one. The food was just mind-blowing and so was the service. The staff was very friendly and we became good friends with the manager and the owner. We spent the full evening with them while enjoying the lite Acropolis view from the terrace. It was very sweet of them to drop us back to our hotel in their car.
The next morning I woke up, sadly knowing that this wonderful trip was coming to an end. Bidding Greece Good-Bye we took the bus to the Airport and I promised myself to go there once again in the near future
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Travel Month: June 2013
After a refreshing stay at Mykonos, we booked ourselves a trip to Athens; a city that has an old-fashioned look yet a modern lifestyle. We began our journey from Mykonos Port on a fast ferry and in about 2.30 hours reached Athens port- Rafina. As we were moving out of the Port it started raining heavily. I was cheered by the rains as it gave relief from the hot weather. We stayed at Athens for 4 days but 2 days are enough to see Athens though it’s an ideal place for a history lover. During our trip we divided our stay in two hotels in order to experience the different parts of the city.
We picked hotel Emmantina at Glyfada. It was a clean hotel with fabulous rooftop bar and a beautiful looking swimming pool. Just a few minutes away the main Glyfada Square, I enjoyed walking through the various departmental stores, supermarkets, boutiques, restaurants, cafes and the famous Byzantine Church. Close to the hotel, one could also enjoy the sandy beaches; the ravishing meals at the beach side taverns and admire the beautiful yachts fastened in the marinas. I did see a few tourists enjoying water –sports as well.
After a lovely stay at Glyfada we moved to the center of Athens city: the famous Syntagma Square. We chose to stay at Ilisia Best Western Hotel, a simple and conveniently located hotel. Day one, we did a walking tour of the area around exploring the National Archaeological Museum, the Benaki Museum and the Museum of Cycladic Art. We visited the House of Parliament and it was fun watching the march past of the Unknown Soldier and the change of the famous Euzony Guards. The area is encircled by Police and Army personnel at every corner of the square as well as the inside streets. From the Square we walked through the narrow picturesque streets of Plaka, the old city of Athens. We did some street shopping and visited art galleries. Later we enjoyed the extravagant dinner followed by a floor show with live music and Greek Folk dances in the traditional costumes at a typical Greek restaurant/tavern in the plaka area. Post dinner we picked up a yummy Gelato ice cream and enjoyed the walk back to our Hotel. At night the security was even tighter and we noticed more police on the road, it reassured us to move around without any doubts in mind for the rest of the stay.
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Santorini has some of the most beautiful and sophisticated hotels with mind-blowing views of the island.
During our stay we stayed in two different hotels. The first one I am writing about today is Volcano View Hotel & Villas.
Volcano View Hotel is located just a short distance from Fira Town and high on the apex of the steep Caldera cliffs. Standing on the edge of the 400m high Caldera, this luxury 4 star hotel and 5 star villas hotel overlooks the clear blue Aegean Sea and offers glorious panoramic views of the 18 km long caldera and Santorini’s spectacular sunsets.
It is the most beautiful hotel I have ever seen with great views, amazing pool and well-trained staff. The rooms are very comfortable, clean and well maintained with balcony where you can sit for hours appreciating the nature’s beauty while sipping a glass of wine with romance in the air. The restaurant of the hotel gives stunning views of the Sea and Caldera. It has a variety of Greek and International dishes, including authentic island specialties. The restaurant also serves a complimentary buffet breakfast from 7.30 am until 10.00 am. We enjoyed a delicious breakfast consisting of natural flavors and some of Santorini’s favorite traditional recipes made from the freshest selected ingredients.
I loved the pool side and the pool bar staff- Katerina, she made the experience even more unforgettable. She is bubbly, fun and very caring. She is the best bar lady of Santorini. I loved the drink she makes called Exotic Kiss – it is the best cocktail I have ever had. Her bar set up is so much fun. We had a great time with her. Check out the pictures and it will answer all the questions you might have on your mind about the hotel, view and staff.
Santorini Part 3 to follow soon with more details on Hotels and the stay.
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Santorini, Greece, June 2013
To beat the summer heat, I decided to visit Greece with my family and a friend, a beautiful country known for its history and breath-taking landscapes.
There is so much to write about this wonderful country but today I am focusing on Santorini- the most famous and the largest island of Greece, located in the Southern Aegean Sea. People say when “God was very happy, he made the Island of Santorini”. The population of the island is only 11,400 but every year they get about 500,000 tourists visiting the island.
There are two ways to get to Santorini from the mainland of Athens (the capital of the country). One can take flight from Athens to Santorini or a fast ferry from Athens port (Rafina or Piraeus) to Santorini. We chose to take a flight to save some time and were just plain excited to reach there quickly. Thankfully, It was just a short 30 minutes flight.
We decided to rent a car from the airport itself to explore the island. Renting a car is very convenient if you are visiting an island as parking is not an issue as compared to the mainland and it is cost effective. We rented a Matiz that costs Euro 45 a day. Our expedition began as soon we switched on the engines.
Santorini is a place with splendid sceneries, the volcano and the Cycladic design. It is a perfect place to relax and rejuvenate. Some of the landscapes are so beautiful that you will just get immersed in the undying nature’s beauty. It is surrounded by flawless beaches, white-washed village houses, churches, museums, art centers and two major archaeological sites; Ancient Akrotiri is an ancient Minoan town that was covered in volcanic ash which has allowed it to be amazingly preserved, even till today. The second site of archaeological importance is Ancient Thira also known as Fira.
Fira is the main town of Santorini. It is surrounded by beautiful white varnished houses, great restaurants, cafe and bars, Ypapanti Church, Santorini Archeological Museum, street shopping, gelato ice-cream parlors, high-end fashion and jewelry stores. You can shop almost anything from Fira Town market from top end fashion brands, elegant works of art to some of island’s key specialties. Art collectors would love this place as there are many art galleries featuring original works of contemporary rising local & international artists. Local handicrafts and pieces of souvenirs are also available in the market at reasonable rates. Fira has some good night life as well with cozy cafe’s, gorgeous bars and some cool night clubs. Above all what I loved the most is the view from Fira: peaceful and stunning.
I loved the beautiful smooth sandy beaches on the island. I visited the Red beach, the Black beach and Perissa beach. It was raining on the first day of our stay so we got a different feel of the beach. See the below pictures from the beach on a rainy day and later the sunny days.
Near the red beach I highly recommend trying the restaurant The Dolphins. If you are a sea food lover this is a must try a restaurant. It’s at a gorgeous place and serves great food. Have a look:
Santorini Part 2 to follow soon with more details on Hotels and the stay.
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