Greece — Is it Worth It?

We spent our last evening in Athina (Athens) having dinner at a little out of the way taverna that a man told us about — primarily only Greeks go there. We met him walking by his shop on a steep little street as we wandered about (as we tend to do, which you know well). We stopped to chat and he asked where we were from. Now that we are in Greece, people think we’re Italians. Except today a man in a little pottery shop (which he makes on a wheel and kiln all himself) pegged us right off as Northern Californians. I think he must be psychic.

Anyway, today did not start out well and didn’t get good again until this afternoon. We jumped on the Metro back to the airport to pick up our rental car. We knew that the trip FROM the airport into the city had cost us 8 Euro each. This morning, the ticket office was closed so we had to buy tickets from a machine (bad news for me — machines don’t like me and vice versa).

We had, however, used a machine to get tickets in and around the city during the couple days we were there. We didn’t look closely enough and simply bought a one-way ticket as we had before. We found out the very hard way that we were supposed to have pressed the box for AIRPORT, not just a one-way fare. We were almost at the airport stop and some ticket-checkers got on the check tickets. I showed ours and the woman (who did not make the slightest effort to be pleasant – she was downright mean!) told me they were not the right ones. We had to pay a fine, which put us into rather bad moods. We watched her as she made her way down the cars, extracting (EXTORTING) fines from several other innocent travelers.

map-greece.jpg

Grumpily, we made our way to our rental car. She’s a little turquoise something (by Chevy, but nothing that we have in the US). We named her Aggie after the Aegean Sea and Aghia this and that. We found our way out of Athina quite easily, but as we approached Corinth (the Canal), we tried to find the road to Ancient Corinth. It escaped us.

We took a wrong turn and had to stop at a feed store to ask two sweet Greek gentlemen who tried to pantomine the way to go. They spoke no English and of course Greek is all Greek to me. But at least we found our way back to the canal, took some pictures, and decided to skip Ancient Corinth.

Instead, we took the scenic road to Epidaurus, the ancient theater. We passed miles of olive trees, drove over staggering heights of mountains, enjoying sweeping vistas of the blue sea far below. The drive was very pleasant — little traffic and fabulous views. Gino is learning to read Greek signposts.

We arrived at Epidaurus and had fun experimenting with its astounding acoustics. You can sit on one of the marble seats HIGH at the top and can still hear a teensy little noise down at the bottom in the middle of the “stage.” The theater is ancient yet was a mathematical wonder in the way it arranged the seats with a perfect sight line and those incredible acoustics.

On we went to our home base, Naplion. We found it with Gino’s expert map-reading and miraculously parked two short streets away from our hotel. We checked in and moved the car where we are now parked directly in front. It’s a gorgeous place and on the very edge of the old town, which is where you want to be.

We’ve already walked all around the little streets meandering up and down the hill and down along the waterfront, had a late lunch at a taverna along the quay and are now at this internet cafe filled with young teenagers playing video games. It’s open 24 hours and has about 40 computers.

After the most stressful day we’ve had so far (trying to read Greek and still find our way) and suffering the wrath of the Metro fine, we have decided…YES, it’s still worth it!!!

We’re off now to wander the streets lit for the night. Off we go into the fresh sea air, gently warm without being humid, to tune our ear to any strains of the bouzouki.

Kalimaspera and Yassas!
M&G

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2 Responses to Greece — Is it Worth It?

  1. mariaissorandom says:

    I am not sure that you should be complaining about the woman on the metro. She is doing her job. Just like any other country, airports that are placed far away from the main city center do have a influx in the cost. (In this case it is 5 euros for each person to go to the airport.) Perhaps if you had taken just a few more moments at the machine you would have realized that there is a seperate ticket to go to the airport that is located an hour away from the city. The same applies in Milan, London, and even NYC. The fact that you would play the excuse of “I didn’t know!” and “mean Greek lady” is very ignorant. If you really didn’t know perhaps you should have asked information at the metro station. There is ALWAYS someone there to answer questions. ALWAYS.

  2. Melinda Brovelli says:

    You are absolutely right that we should have taken a few more minutes to read more carefully that a ticket to the airport was more than a simple intra-city ticket. We know that NOW. However, there was NO ONE at the ticket booth, or anywhere else we could find selling tickets. Finding a live person to ask is always our first choice rather than machines, just so we don’t makes mistakes such as this. Of course, the ticket-checker was certainly doing her job, but her demeanor could not have been more condescending and unfriendly. The fine is unreasonably exorbitant, especially since this is an easy mistake to make. Before she left just our one car, she had extracted over 1,000 Euro in fines from other “ignorant” travellers. It was certainly an expensive lesson well-learned.

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