Trafalgar Greek Island Explorer
A little personal e-mail to thank you for your help in getting me to Greece so smoothly - there was excellent assistance by Singapore airlines and although I didn't have to use the wheelchair waiting for me, it did come in very handy to cart my and another lady's hand luggage to their special lounge. Getting a sticker attached to me like a kid off on a school outing made sure I got to the next flight on time - Lufthansa - quite good service, but Singapore Airlines service is far superior in every way. I met some interesting people while travelling, and even though I hold the record of 40 hrs travel time from home to hotel in Athens as far as my Trafalgar group is concerned, I didn't find it too strenuous at all. There are 23 in our group, 2 couples from Milton in Otago, otherwise a pretty mixed bunch, all pleasant - I am definitely the "Golden Oldie", but that worries neither them nor me!
The pick-up to the hotel in Athens worked out well too, a very nice hotel, centrally situated with kind and helpful staff, there were only 3 of us travelling the cost-saving way, two women in their late 30s, one from Canada, the other from South Africa, they soon became my adopted daughters and we get on famously, having gathered another lonely chick (from South Africa too) who stayed at the other Trafalgar hotel in Athens. First sightseeing tour was taken by an excellent local guide, and the young man who accompanies the group during the whole 10 days, Philippos, is very pleasant, well organised, helpful and knowledgeable.
The fast ferry to Mykonos was FAST indeed, which is as well, the winds are very strong - Wellington eat your heart out - and the ocean pretty choppy. The ferries are huge though, so the journey was comfortable. The three "economic ones" had a nice surprise when we were told that we had been upgraded, that meant staying with the rest of the group at a very nice hotel only 20 m from the beach in Mykonos. It makes it so much easier for joint outings of course and works well for everybody (now we are keeping our fingers crossed that the same thing will happen at Santorini). Mykonos is just as picturesque as I had been expecting, those white houses against that blue, blue sky ... very rocky hillsides, next to nothing is growing there, you see a few lovingly cared for patches with tomatoes and cucumbers - and that's about all. The temperatures are just over 30 C - but thanks to the constant wind it's not too hot at all, the ocean is still pretty cool, about N.Z. summer temperature I would say, the locals don't swim before September I believe. But of course, that didn't keep me out off the water, a daily swim before breakfast is a great way to start the day - during the day the beaches are absolutely packed, people are charged from Euro 7 to 10 for a beach-chair, and even putting your gear on one of those chairs for a few minutes could cost you 10 Euros (when I asked if that was the price for putting something on the sand as well, the waiter was not amused!!!)
Most of the group went to the island of Delos yesterday, such an interesting sight of ancient ruins, the whole place is so full of history, absolutely fascinating, I am surprised and pleased how much I remember from my days at school, I always enjoyed the Greek myth, so my education wasn't wasted after all! And today I made my way by local bus to "Paradise Beach" - a very busy, place, full of young people, not really my thing - but it might be the closest I will ever get to Paradise???
On to Santorini tomorrow, I hope it's once again a big boat, the "white horses" are rearing their heads in the ocean! Take care my friend.