Greece Trip Report (June 22, 2012-July 1, 2012) and then some

Discussion in 'Adventures By Disney' started by WeLoveABD, Jul 5, 2012.

  1. tufbuf

    tufbuf Disney Addict!

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    We arrived late at our next hotel Porto Elounda in Crete. The 2-hour high speed ferry ride was comfortable.

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    The hotel swimming pool which is salty...
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    This was taken from the hotel lobby. The beach is easily accessible from the hotel.
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    First activity in Crete, kayak to the island of Spinalonga. We are getting briefed on as to how to kayak properly.
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    My DD and Chris kayaking
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    It was kinda hard to take photos as we kayaked so DH was able to take a couple of photos. Here I am with my kayak partner. We really have to concentrate on the task since it was windy and a good chance of us capsizing.
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    Our kayaks parked on the island of Spinalonga waiting for the next batch. Since everyone in the group kayaked, we had to be divided in two groups.
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    The ruins in Spinalonga. Because of its strategic location, it served as a fortress for the Venetians in the 1600s. The Turks later took over in the 1700s. In 1903, a leper colony was established on the island which closed in 1957.
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    The enticing clear turquoise water of the Aegean. We did get a chance to cool off and swim right after kayaking. It was refreshing. Greece has the second cleanest coastline in Europe, next to Spain and Mary said the only reason that is so is because Spain is bigger. ;)
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    We left the island via private boat.
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  3. abdalums

    abdalums Earning My Ears

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    Great photos, Tufbuf! We leave for our pre-nights on Monday. As I'm packing, is there anything you wished you had packed and didn't and is there anything you packed and wish you hadn't? Your insight and tips would be helpful. Thanks.
     
  4. tufbuf

    tufbuf Disney Addict!

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    I think we packed just the right stuff for the trip. I could have packed much lighter. The dri-fit shirts, like the ones you buy from REI is perfect for the weather and activities. If you packed a few shirts and shorts and just wash them every few days, you will be fine with the excursions. Thats what DH did. I wasnt into washing but i might justdo that next time. It was really hot when we were there. You have balconies in Fira and Porto Elounda, the clothes dry extremely fast.

    Have fun!! It's an extraordinary adventure well worth it. Oh and try to read a few Greek myths and some on the sites you will be visiting. It helps understanding the ruins as well as getting oriented. ;)
     
  5. tufbuf

    tufbuf Disney Addict!

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    The night before, the kids had their second junior adventures night. The adults chose one of 3 dinner venues within the resort. It was a really nice touch and we enjoyed the evening. The view was spectacular and the food sublime. DH and I ate at the Yacht Club. Unlike other dinners covered in previous ABD, they did not give us a set menu. This one, we ordered straight from the regular menu and the meal was quite pricey. For the two of us, it probably cost about a hundred euros, would have been more if we ordered fish or steak.

    Anyway, next stop, Knossos. In Greek mythology, this was where King Minos reigned and the legend of the Minotaur and the labyrinth originated. The area was continuously inhabited from 7k-3k BC up till the 5th c AD. The area was excavated and partially restored by Arthur Evans, a British guy.

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    The restored north entrance with a charging bull fresco
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    Next stop was lunch at the village of Arolithos where we learned to make tsaziki, a yogurt-based sauce used to dip just about everything.
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    Another gorgeous view from where we had our meal
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    The streets of Arolithos
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    Samples of komboloi beads
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  6. tufbuf

    tufbuf Disney Addict!

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    Our last day, we headed to a rustic village in the Cretan mountainside. First glimpse, DD said it looked like District 12. :rotfl:

    This is where we met the village crazy man (referred by WeLoveABD ;) ), Andreas. He can easily milk his 50 or so sheep in an hour or so. The method looked back-breaking to me. The milk was later cooked and made into cheese which became part of our lunch meal.

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    One of the shepherd's shearing the sheep wool, in record time too.
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    We drove a short ways to Kato Karouzanos where the cheese was prepared. The kids took turns churning the cooking milk while Andreas chattered away.
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    We were also treated to freshly made Greek coffee
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    This is the outside oven sealed shut with bread dough which WeLoveABD referred to in his report.
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    So that's my photo report which hopefully supplemented some of WeLoveABD's trip report. I just featured photos which are all in the itinerary list. I will leave the farewell dinner for the people to experience. It was a grand food fest from beginning to end and we didn't have enough Greek salad! :)
     
  7. nordkin

    nordkin DIS Veteran

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    The swimming pool in Elounda is not the one in your pictures. We thought so at first as well. Those are private swimming pools for the rooms attached to them. The public pool is down next to the beach. When we were there not all the private pools had water in them, so we asked why the pool wasn't filled and were told they were private and the public pool was down by the beach.
     
  8. sayhello

    sayhello Have Camera, Will Travel Moderator

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    I love that! :thumbsup2 It's a whole new frame of reference!

    Thanks so much for posting your pictures, tufbuf! They really were a fabulous companion to WeLoveABD's Trip Report!

    Sayhello
     
  9. WeLoveABD

    WeLoveABD DIS Veteran

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    Have a great time--and we would love to hear how the trip has been tweaked now that there have been a few trips under ABD's belt!

    And thanks tufbuf for the great photos--my DW found out the hard way re the pools at the Crete hotel--took a swim (with others) and told it was private, although it hugged the building and you can sit around it! However, the beach area (and pool next to the beach) was actually a much better location and I really loved the time I had swimming and hanging out there.

    We had a great group, too!!
     
  10. DMarq

    DMarq Adventuresome Family!

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    Great thread everyone! Thank you very much!

    The memory is still fresh in my mind - since we just got home a couple of days ago. Our family of 4 enjoyed the Greek Odyssey trip ABD (July 6-15, 2012). Awesome folks in our group of 29! Our 10 and 13 year old kids enjoyed the company of all the junior adventurers on the trip... from the 1st dinner in Athens til the farewell dinner in Crete, all the junior adventurers ate in the same table and hung out as much as they could.

    We definitely loved the pre-night and post-nights - we only stayed 1 pre & 1 post night, which was just right since our family had already been in Paris for 5 days prior. We were well adjusted to the time difference (coming from California). Our ABD guides were superb!

    It was HOT in Greece... we came prepared with a couple of small umbrellas (which we brought for the Paris weather). The umbrellas came handy in Delphi and Knossos since the kids enjoyed their portable shade. Lots of sunscreen for sure!
     
  11. WeLoveABD

    WeLoveABD DIS Veteran

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    Who were your guides? Also--I am interested in how things changed (if at all) from our trip in late June--for example, how did they structure the day at Kalmari Beach (did they arrange for chairs/umbrellas, provide lunch? We loved the beach but it was a bit of a scramble to decide on a restaurant and then thereafter fit in beach time). Did they still have lunch at Cap't Johns, and if so did they offer more kid-friendly options? It is a great trip--our kids rated it their favorite of the ABDs so far!
     
  12. sayhello

    sayhello Have Camera, Will Travel Moderator

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    Welcome to the ABD Forum, DMarq! So glad you enjoyed your ABD! Are you planning on doing a trip report? :)

    Sayhello
     
  13. DrChuck23

    DrChuck23 Earning My Ears DVC Gold

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    were there any "Disney only"/special access activities that would separate this tour from those offered by other tour companies?
     
  14. WeLoveABD

    WeLoveABD DIS Veteran

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    I would say yes, although I don't know what other tours offer. I do know that we were the only group inside the Olympic stadium in Athens, and there were many specialty lunches and dinners in small out of the way towns. In Crete--I didn't see any other groups kayaking to Spinalonga, and we also went into the middle of Crete to a small village to see goats milked, cheese made from that and other activities that seemed pretty unique. All of the resorts were great, having two guides makes a big difference over most other tours offered---lots of attention to detail. Yes there were other groups touring the various sites--and taking a dip in the waters of Santorini, but not so much in private sailing ships. Looking at the totality of what was done, and how it was all put into play, I would have to assume this was a pretty unique tour and distinct from what other tour companies offer.
     
  15. abdgeek

    abdgeek DIS Veteran

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    I just finished the Greece ABD(July 20-29) and had a great time. I wanted to pass along a few tips.

    If you come in early, make use of the free hotel shuttle to Syntagma Square. Most of the sights that ABD doesn't visit (Hadrian's Arch, Temple of Zeus, National Garden, Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, etc) are within an easy 5-10 minute walk from Syntagma Square. There are also several museums in that area and you can take the metro at Syntagma Square to wherever else you want to go. Ask the concierge at the hotel about the places you want to visit. He is very helpful and has tourist maps of the area.

    The ferry ride we had from Santorini to Crete was very rough. Virtually all of the boat was sick and that's not an exaggeration. Landon and Elena, our guides, were great in assisting those who were sick. Make sure you take something before the ferry if you're prone to motion sickness. Some of the women said they did but it didn't help. Apparently, some crossings are milder than others.

    We had free wifi at all of the hotels. However, the wifi at Porto Elounda in Crete was the most challenging. We were each given 4 hours of free wifi for our length of stay, but most people couldn't get on from their rooms. You can get free wifi in the lobby, so most people did that. A lot of people complained that the Internet was slow and this was the only hotel where I could not watch my news app on my iPad. The other hotels had unlimited wifi.

    It is super hot in Greece now. Bring a hat and wear it!!!! Those of our group who didn't bring a hat wound up buying one after a full day in the sun. The guides keep you hydrated, so don't worry about that. Also, bring breathable clothes or ones you can wash in the sink. You will need to have two changes of clothes a day and will have to pay for the hotel to do your laundry if you can't wear your things multiple times.
     
  16. sayhello

    sayhello Have Camera, Will Travel Moderator

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    Welcome to the ABD Forum, and thanks for the tips, abdgeek!

    This trip is definitely on my short list for 2014.

    Sayhello
     
  17. DMarq

    DMarq Adventuresome Family!

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    Hi, Sayhello... so sorry for falling off of this thread :-(. Been wacky busy! I would love to post a trip report -- but I only have Video Journals (pics & video, etc) to document all our family trips. And I have absolutely no idea how to share a video here on this forum... or whether or not I can. I don't see very many video postings - mostly pictures and very descriptive reports... which are awesome by the way!
     
  18. sayhello

    sayhello Have Camera, Will Travel Moderator

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    You can either a) upload your videos to a photosharing site like Photobucket and then post the links here, or b) set up your report on a blogging website, and post the link to your blog there.

    Let me know if you need information on how to do that.

    Sayhello
     
  19. WeLoveABD

    WeLoveABD DIS Veteran

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    We went in June--I'm very interested in any changes they made (if any)--I noted in my trip report a few suggestions our group made, such as setting aside an ABD section of beach chairs at the black rock beach, and rethinking the Capt John lunch, etc.
     
  20. DMarq

    DMarq Adventuresome Family!

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    Doesn't look like there were many (any) changes. The beach chairs at Kamari Beach were not a problem... we were practically the only game in town and we had most of the beach to ourselves anyway. We still went to Capt John's for lunch and no one had any issues actually. In fact, everyone had a great time after jumping from the 'pirate ship' into the agean sea - that water was super salty, yet all the tweens and teens loved jumping in and floating around. Thank goodness everyone who got into the water were pretty good swimmers - we didn't realize how deep the water was :-). By the time everyone got back on the boat, everyone was starving and the food at Capt John's hit the spot for us. That donkey ride afterwards was pretty wacky though! No wonder I had no video footage while on them - as I was holding on to my dear life up that hill! Not complaining - it was absolutely a lot of fun!
     
  21. sayhello

    sayhello Have Camera, Will Travel Moderator

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    Hey, I have a question! (Will probably have more, although this report/thread covers a LOT! :thumbsup2 )

    The donkey ride up to Oia, did anyone on your trips walk up the stairs instead of taking the donkeys? I can't do the donkeys for multiple physical reasons (I'm falling apart! OK? ;) ). But I'd really like to go up the stairs & see the views & stuff. But if it's going to take a really long time, or hold up the trip, I'm assuming there's a ride up there, also?

    Thanks!
    Sayhello
     

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