Monday, October 3, 2011


Did we enjoy the trip?  Loved it.  It’s certainly a more relaxing way to travel than driving.  Did we learn anything?  Europeans know food and wine and beer.  Their public transit systems put ours to shame.  You can smoke anywhere there isn't a  roof and/or there’s an ashtray.  No two toilets are the same.  Europe is not cheap.  In AmsterdamViennaBudapest and Athens, there is nowhere to park.  Paris, on the other hand is well-equipped with clearly-indicated underground parking lots and electronic signs at street-level, indicating how many spots are still available.  

More people visit Greece each year than live there.  If you want to see the picture-postcard, perfect, Greek village; go to the islands.  Don’t bother spending more than three days in Athens; it’s huge, gritty and the highlights are quickly covered.  Do use the subway; it’s safe, clean and efficient.  If you’re contemplating a Greek island cruise, try the sailing-yacht route; it’s romantic, charm-filled, can dock where others can’t (I don’t know why) and the food’s fantastic.  Should you choose a big cruise ship, you arrive at each tiny village (often by tender, an inconvenient process) with 3,000 other annoying people, so everywhere you go, it’s guaranteed to be crowded.  Use Google Earth or similar to check where you’re going beforehand; it’s surprising what you can learn. 

Leave an itinerary with a relative or friend, so if you don’t show up as expected, someone knows to start looking for you.  Don’t bother to bring AmEx Traveler’s checks; no one takes them.  Not every place takes credit cards; check before you order that big meal.  There’s lot’s of ATMs around so it’s easy to stop once in a while and withdraw your daily limit (some E300 in our case, the nearest equivalent to $500C, which spends about the way $300 would here, so if you don’t want to carry large amounts of cash, build ATM visits into your schedule).  Buy and use a Man-purse, everyone else uses them so don’t worry about looking silly, worry about being safe.  Bring any Meds you need in your carry-on luggage, even vitamins and supplements; they’re very expensive in Europe.  If you're bringing your own GPS make sure it has the latest updates.  Roads change often.

Be patient; you’re on vacation.

1 comment:

  1. Great ending to a great trip! I can't wait to be regaled with hilarious stories as I look at the thousands of well-framed snapshots you always take, while sipping wonderfully refreshing beverages... :-)

    Welcome home! - Now - gear down for real life....... Cheers and Love!