Greek Adventure Trip Report

Discussion in 'Adventures By Disney' started by nordkin, May 21, 2012.

  1. nordkin

    nordkin DIS Veteran

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    Here is the first of my posts on our Greek trip.

    Day 1 –Day of Departure and Arrival in Athens
    The car service actually showed up 25 minutes early so we decided to go ahead a leave early. The driver told us ahead of time he knew the fare and the tip had already been handled by Disney. We arrived at the airport and the US Airways agent seemed very confused checking us in because we upgraded to Envoy Business Class from Philadelphia to Athens and she did not understand that the first leg of our flight did not have Envoy Business Class. After 20 minutes she finally got us checked in. As we are waiting for our flight from Reagan National to Philadelphia they are asking for volunteers on every flight to travel later as the all the flights have been overbooked by at least 2 people. Our flight boarded late and then sat on the tarmac for 20 minutes. What was supposed to be a 2 ½ hour layover in Philadelphia turned into a mad dash from terminal F to terminal A. The flight was very smooth and we were able to get some sleep.
    When we arrived at the airport in Athens a porter was holding the Adventures by Disney sign and a tour guide welcomed us. He told us we were the first guests ever to arrive for this trip and he was excited. The trip to the hotel takes about 30 minutes and there is nothing to see along the way. You go through some industrial parts of the city to get to the hotel. The location of the hotel is not that great, but it is beautiful. Our room is on the second floor and we have a view of the pool and a road with a lot of graffiti. We are in one of the renovated rooms, that is very nice and looks like it is two rooms made into one. It has long hallways on both sides of the room with a sitting area and a king bed. The hotel has complimentary internet, which we were not expecting. The TV only has news stations in English. After we freshen up, we are going to take the hotel shuttle to the center of town and explore a bit.

    Will post again after we explore.
     
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  3. tufbuf

    tufbuf Disney Addict!

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    Wow, nordkin!! How exciting! We are also beginning to prepare for our tour next month. Looking forward to your updates!!
     
  4. WDWLinda

    WDWLinda Mouseketeer

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    So you're there now?? How exciting! Have a great time and I bet a lot of folks will watch your report since you're like ABD pioneers for Greece!
     
  5. WeLoveABD

    WeLoveABD DIS Veteran

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    Thank you Nordkin for doing this "on site" report--very helpful so far and we are looking forward to more!! We are heading out on June 19--nice to know things like the free internet! (Also we are coach fare folks so we will be on a very long flight on Turkish Air from LA to Istanbul and then a short flight from there to Athens). What an interesting time to be in Athens---hopefully the Euro will still be the currency in late June! (Just kidding, mostly) How is the mood of the citizens of Athens?
     
  6. nordkin

    nordkin DIS Veteran

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    The hotel has a free shuttle that takes you to the city center and lets you off in front of McDonalds across the square from the Parliament and in the middle of the Plaka. We watched the changing of the guard at the Parliament which is every hour on the hour at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier that is very plain, and then explored the National Garden. There is a wonderful animal area in the National Garden that is mainly birds. It is the first time I have seen cats, chickens, peacocks, ducks, goats, and parrots all share the same space.

    We ate lunch at a local counter around the corner from McDonalds and the two of ate for less than 5 euro with a bottle of water. For dinner we went to 4 Brothers in Pireas that the hotel conceirge recommended. It was very good, but could be a bit pricey if you aren't careful. The view over the water was fabulous and the taxi fare each way is 10 euro.

    When we returned we asked about seeing the Acropolis from the hotel and they allowed us to go to the conceirge lounge on the 8th floor to see it.

    Almost forgot to mention the tub in the bathroom is very narrow and makes it a little awkward to take a shower. I am average weight for a woman 5'7' and I felt very tight in the tub taking a shower.

    I will post tomorrow after our first day on the Hop On Hop Off bus.
     
  7. tufbuf

    tufbuf Disney Addict!

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    Does the shuttle take you back to the hotel? That's really great! We only have a day and half and we are hoping to catch the changing of the guards when we arrive. Are you considering going up Lycabettus Hill? It doesn't seem far from the Parliament but I could be wrong.

    When does your tour officially start?
     
  8. WeLoveABD

    WeLoveABD DIS Veteran

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    We have the same question re returning to the hotel and going up the hill! We have tickets already for the HOHO but are looking for things on the first late afternoon--so this has been great!!
     
  9. sayhello

    sayhello Have Camera, Will Travel Moderator

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    Wheee! Live report! Looking forward to more!

    Sayhello
     
  10. nordkin

    nordkin DIS Veteran

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    Day 2 Hop on Hop off Bus –
    We started the day with the wonderful buffet breakfast at the hotel that is in included in the room rate. They had a very good selection of meats, fruit, bread, rolls, cereal, cold cuts, cheeses, eggs, waffles, and juices.
    We took the shuttle to the center of town and caught the Hop On Hop Off Bus. We had already paid for our tickets before we left home so we just had to give them the voucher. The red loop takes about 90 minutes and the blue loop about 70 minutes. It is worth the trip to get oriented. We did find out most of the sites close at 3 so you want to get to the ones you definitely want to see in the morning. We have not decided what we are going to do on the afternoon on our own. We did go to Lycabettus Hill today and the walk is not for the faint of heart. It is a steep uphill walk that took about 45 minutes with close to a hundred steps. It was well worth the walk, but if you have mobility issues I would take a cab. Once there you have the most fantastic views of the entire city of Athens. On the way back we stopped at a restaurant called Jackson Hill and had a pasta dinner with tomato and cucumber salad for two for 21 euro total.
    Will post more tomorrow after we visit Agora, the cemetery, and the Temple of Zeus.
     
  11. nordkin

    nordkin DIS Veteran

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    The shuttle does return you to the hotel with the last one for the evening at 10:40 PM.

    The changing of the guard happens on the hour 24 hours a day. We did Lycabettus Hill and is covered in today's trip report. It is not far from Parliament, but it is a steep uphill climb on both streets and about 100 steps or so to get to the funlickular that costs 7 euros round trip to ride or you can walk it for free.
     
  12. tufbuf

    tufbuf Disney Addict!

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    Thank you!!! We can walk it, no prob, just wondering how it is since the ones I have read about says it's quite a work out. So, 100 steps to the funicular and another set to get to the top? Just don't know if we have enough time to walk it.

    Thanks for the breakfast info. My daughter will survive!! She is very picky. Hubby and I are looking forward to feasting on gyros, souvlakis and calzones! ;)

    Do you take the shuttle same place as where they drop you off? Thanks again!!
     
  13. nordkin

    nordkin DIS Veteran

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    The shuttle drop off and pick up are the same place. The shuttle stops just long enough to drop off people and let others on. I would suggest getting to the stop a few minutes early as it does not follow the schedule you they give you exactly. It is an approximation.
     
  14. nordkin

    nordkin DIS Veteran

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    Day 3 – Ancient Agora, Kerameikos Cemetary, and Temple of Zeus
    We used the second day of the Hop on Hop Off bus to visit the listed attractions. The stop for these is number 14. They are all included in the 12 Euro ticket for the Acropolis, but be chose to buy individual tickets because it was less expensive and we do not know which ticket ABD will provide when we visit the Acropolis. I should point out that as you are walking down the street to get to the cemetery about one block on your right is a memorial to the Jews who were killed for following their beliefs. I should also mention the street is a pedestrian street that will have an occasional motorcycle or bicycle.
    We visited Kerameikos Cemetary first. The charge to get in is 2 Euros. They have a small but interesting museum just inside the gate. If you would like a brochure that explains everything you need to ask for one at the gate. We enjoyed walking through the cemetery, but to be honest it reminded me of old ruins and on occasion a cemetery. There are information signs throughout that help you understand the significance and what you are looking at.
    We then went to Ancient Agora. The cost is 4 Euros and includes a ticket to the museum. This place is huge. We spent 4 hours inside and only touched the surface. Again there are signs describing what you are looking at with a brief history. It is very easy to get turned around on the grounds of the Agora and the maps provided are not that easy to read.
    We ate lunch at a restaurant right outside the gate of the Agora. I had the lamb chops and they are nothing like we have at home. They are very thin, fried, and full of fat. We discovered the same at another restaurant for dinner. It seems every meal we have had with the exception of the first one has been exactly 21 Euro for the two of us.
    We then went to the Temple of Zeus arriving at exactly 3 PM and it was closed. You can see it through the fence surrounding it and quite honestly that was enough for us. In the same location is Hadien’s Arch which is outside the Temple of Zeus.
    We returned to the hotel to relax before dinner and decided to try the one and only restaurant close to the hotel. I thought it was a hole in the wall with a limited menu. I did not care for it, but Joi thought it was okay. Again the bill was 21 Euro. Remember you will have a bread charge added to the bill automatically. Some places include service and some do not. The custom is to add a 10% tip. Although the place we ate lunch would not let me add it.
     
  15. tufbuf

    tufbuf Disney Addict!

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    Great! Too bad we won't have time to visit the Agora and I was wondering why ABD is not covering that. Anyways, thanks again for sharing!
     
  16. WeLoveABD

    WeLoveABD DIS Veteran

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    Thank you Nordkin--very helpful!! As to your adventure so far--can you decline bread at meals to avoid the bread charge? Are you finding that credit cards are widely accepted for restaurants? (I am planning to have euros for the museum fees, coffee and miscel.) We have the HOHO tickets--I don't recall picking a red line vs blue line so I assume the ticket is good for both, with the limits being a 24 hour period starting with your first boarding, right? (From what you are describing re the HOHO is sounds like the best plan is to use the HOHO in the AM for museums, and then the later afternoon to be dropped near the open parks/squares).
     
  17. tufbuf

    tufbuf Disney Addict!

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    In addition to WeLoveABD's credit card question, do they accept the swiped cards or are they more particular about the chipped ones? We had a co-worker who recently went to Paris and Stockholm and he said he had difficulty using swiped cc since they wanted the ones with the chip technology.
     
  18. nordkin

    nordkin DIS Veteran

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    The Hop On Hop Off bus ticket is good for 2 days. The Citysightseeing Company gives you the second day free. If you got your ticket through Viatour it is for the red route which is where 99% of the attractions are.

    As to credit cards, we have only had one place not accept them and that was the restaurant closest to the hotel. We have had no issues with our card being swiped. We also had no issue with our debit card to get Euros out of an ATM. I have seen a few Citibank banks here.
     
  19. nordkin

    nordkin DIS Veteran

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    Not sure about the bread charge and it averages 2 Euros. The Hop on Hop off bus runs until around 8:30 and you can use it to get around to just about everything. I would hit the museums first as it seems everything is closing at 3 due to the economy.
     
  20. WeLoveABD

    WeLoveABD DIS Veteran

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    I see in the ABD website that the 2012 trips all now say the itinerary is different and to call ABD for details; when I looked at the Greece trip details on the website it looked the same to me--so not sure what will be different in 2013. I see that the cost is down again--although likely to go back up as booking for 2013 starts (or maybe the lower Euro brought the cost down?).
     
  21. tufbuf

    tufbuf Disney Addict!

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    Isn't it great timing the euro is down?! Anyway, WeLoveABD, did you receive your pre-departure kit? We still have not received ours and I called ABD and they said we should receive them next week.

    I also asked about the guides for the June 22 tour and it will be Chris Brown (yey!!!) and Mary (sounds like) Pezzari.
     

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