I went to Greece last summer. It is located on the Southeastern part of Europe. This country lies between the Aegean, Ionian, and Meditteranian sea. Talking about Greece, means talking about all the gods, goddess, and the ancient olympic games. And don’t forget, Santorini.
This is one of the places in my ‘Place to visit before I die’ list. I know I set a high expectation towards this country, and to be honest I felt a bit disappointed when I finally visited that place and stayed for around 2 weeks. I went there with my family, by the way. During the period of our visit in Greece, we went to Athens, Kalampaka, and Santorini.
On the first day we arrived in Athens, there was a strike. The taxi driver told us that Greece is currently having economy problems. Yeah, we already know about that though. During our stay in Greece, particularly when we stayed in Athens, we experienced a couple of strikes actually. And that was NOT a nice experience at all.
First stop was Athens. One practical tips to have a pleasant visit in Athens is to take a city sightseeing bus. You just need to buy the cheapest ticket and they will bring you around the city. We visited Acropolis on the first day. Acropolis is a ruin of an ancient town located on top part of Athens. It is believed that this town was inhabited starting 4 millenniums BC. People said that the most important part of Acropolis is the Parthenon. However, my personal favourite is Odeon of Herodes Atticus, which is an amphitheatre that used to be functioned as a concert hall. Just now, I googled if they have ever organised any concerts there in the present day. They have! And the event will be held this month. Okay, I’m drooling to go back there. lol. Anyways..if you are planning to visit Acropolis, it is better to have a visit in the morning as this place will be loaded with people at noon. And don’t forget to bring your sunglasses or umbrella and wear shorts instead of jeans, since it is very hot there especially on summer times. Also, it is better to wear sneakers because the most of the walkways inside the Acropolis are made of marbles. When I visited Acropolis, I wore a pair of sandals (the sendal jepit andalan). And I tripped. Nice!
The next day, we took a one day cruise to some islands surrounding Athens, which Hydra, Poros, and Aegina. Those islands were so-so, in my opinion. Picturesque view, but nothing more. Sorry.
Our third destination was Kalampaka, the location of Great Meteoron. We planned to go there by train, as it is located quite far from Athens. And there was a train strike that day. Great! I thought we were going to be stranded in Athens. *drama mode on* We asked the officer what should we do, then. They told us to take the bus, instead. And when we asked about our train ticket refund (as we had already arranged everything from Jakarta), guess what their answers? “We don’t know” Nice! Finally we tried to find taxis to bring us to the bus station. A practical tips if someday you are trapped in the similar situation. There are lots of taxi drivers in front of the train station saying that they can bring you to the bus station, but it costs 10 Euros. Don’t take taxis from outside the train station. Walk 200-300 meters off the train station and just stop whatever taxi passing the street (just do it the Indonesian way!). It only cost less than 3 Euros actually from the train station to bus station, anyway. And surprisingly the bus station was so cozy, equipped with air-cons, and some food stalls. Long story short, it took 5 hours bus journey from Athens to Trikala and then we changed with smaller bus to Kalampaka which took another 30 minutes.
All of the pain in the a** experience that day was paid off by Kalampaka’s amazing view. Foods are good in Kalampaka. They have a decent selections of traditional dishes. I love the crunchy lamb chops we had on the first day of our stay there. On the second day of our stay in Kalampaka, we took a half day tour to the Great Meteoron. It is a monastery located 615 m above the sea level and was built by St. Athanasios Meteorites circa 1340. It is amongst the Orthodox sacred places. Just for your information, majority of Greek people are Orthodox.
In Kalampaka, we stayed in a B&B owned by a nice and helpful lady. She’s the one who prepared our breakfast every morning, which includes that unforgettable home-made cheese pie.
On the third day we took a train back to Athens. And the drama started again, as we must transit for 2 hours in a middle of nowhere small town, called Paleofarsalos, where we could find no body except the train station janitor. lol. We reached Athens in the late afternoon, tried to get enough rest because the next day we gotta catch morning flight to Santorini.
I think I will keep Santorini’s story for another post.