Athens - Naxos - Santorini
I start with the words of appreciation to all people, who publish reviews about their trips, in particular to Andrey Grinyov (Anagr); the plan of our journey appeared owing to his story and photographs. And I also want to thank Katerina Bereti, our tour operator; this plan was carried out owing to her.
All photographs of our journey in overall size can be found here here.
The idea to visit Santorini came to me due to viewing of the changing wallpapers on the screen of the office computer. The view of uncommon houses and blue dome of church on the cliff above the sea did highly raise questions - where is that? and how to get there? The name of picture "Fira, Santorini, Cyclades Islands, Greece" gave me hope, indeed with Greece we connected plans for the future holiday, and it have become now clearly in what place in this country we will go.
We, my wife and I, have planned the trip to the second half of September of 2006. After long studying the question on the Internet I have communicated by e-mail with Katya from a travel agency in Crete, which was recommended in many reviews on the tourist forum. The initial plan was - 2 nights in Athens, 10 nights in Santorini; however, Katya convinced to visit also any another island along the way, because, according to her, there are nothing to do 10 days in Santorini (I’d not agree). We chose Naxos, and the final plan became like this: 2 nights in Athens, 6 nights in Naxos, 5 nights in Santorini, passages between Athens and islands on the ferry boat, on the islands - transfer of hotels, in Athens - by ourselves.
In April we began correspondence, in May we already booked the hotels for September. We chose in Athens and Naxos at once that Katya has offered, though she had to work with Santorini, as our desires - caldera view and inexpensive price - were sufficiently difficult to achieve. However, everything was quickly resolved, place was found, and, anticipating, I have to tell, that we were not disappointed any hotel. At the same time in May Katya has reserved air tickets Moscow - Athens - Moscow, and we have sent her an advance payment for hotels (30 %).
In the beginning of September I received visas and insurances by means of the Moscow tour agency offered by Katya, took tickets in the office of "Olympic Airlines" and sent the remained moneyby a remittance . I have to note that the all organization of tour took place without seeing, without personal contacts, through e-mail and remittances.
So, a long-awaited day of departure has come. Greece began in the plane: all announcements were in Greek and English languages, all passengers were given headphones, in which some programs of Greek radio were broadcasted, a dinner was distributed with obligatory attribute - Greek salad.
After the arrival to Athens we came into the metro station, following the direction signs. However, on foot we passed not much, mostly passed on the lift and on a tape of moving sidewalk. The ticket from the airport up to any station of Athens costs for two persons - 10 euros, for one - 6. An interval between trains - half an hour (the most popular interval in Greece). In general it is not exactly the metro, but as though a suburban electric train, in a city boundaries turn into the metro. Inside Athens the price of the ticket and an interval is much less. Before landing an employee walked along the platform, talked to passengers, opened them a door and invited in the car. During a trip there passed ticket collectors, and it was an only time during our short stay in Athens.
The metro consists of three lines. The old line - ISAP - passes from Piraeus up to district Kifissiá, mostly on a surface and only in the center descends under the ground. The price of the ticket for trips on this line is 70 eurocents. Two other lines are actually METRO. The price of the ticket there, and also on trips with change on ISAP is 80 eurocents (exception - tickets to the airport). Before the entrance the automatic devices for punching in tickets are mounted , turnstiles are not present, so it is possible to pass, probably, without the ticket (we did not try). It is clean everywhere, there are lifts for invalids at stations, railroad cars are new and convenient.
So, we reached with one change "Metaxourgío" station, walked 200 metres and got the hotel.
Our hotel "King Jason" is worthy three stars. They gave us a room on a penultimate sixth floor so we were almost on the top. In fact Athens, in comparison with Moscow, for example - is a lower city, the highest buildings have 9 floors, nothing here should cover with itself the main thing - Acropolis. The view of the apartment houses of unusual architecture was opened from the small balcony. There were many buildings, in which 3-4 upper levels form stepped profile; a roof of the lower floor was a terrace on the upper. Directly under the windows of our room, on the roof of adjacent building there was a small house, where a family lived, their child sometimes played on this roof as in a courtyard - original penthouse. And in the distance there was Lykavittós hill, illuminated at night. According to one familiar Athenian, the place of our stay was once haunt of vice, red-light district, reconstructed and refined before Olympiad 2004.
Click the images to enlarge them.
Evening came; we had supper at the restaurant of hotel (32 euros) and have gone to walk across the evening Athens. We passed to the area of Omónia square; there was a brisk street trade by magazines, books, cassettes, and disks of all possible content. We sat on bench, drank beer. Life boils everywhere. Masses of tourists passed by, occupied hotels, came from excursions. But soon we came back in our room, tomorrow was going to be difficult, but interesting day.
At the next morning we had breakfast at the hotel restaurant (buffet) and went on survey of sights, first of all the Acropolis - the huge flat rock towering above the city. We wanted to get the tourist bus ¹400 along the way, but did not find its stop, and the idea to pass on foot seemed good. Our way ran on the brisk street Tsaldári, then rise on the pedestrian streets of Hermes and Apostle Paul past several churches in the Byzantian style, and also past ruins of Keramikós, Thissío, and ancient Agorá.