I'm going there

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Sandra
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Re: Going there too!

Post by Sandra »

abm wrote:
Sandra wrote: Is it possible by public transport?
It is possible. See the Pothos travel guide: http://www.pothos.org/content/index.php ... eps#greece.

I went there last year by public transport and found it fairly convenient. Just take a good and recent travel guide with you and take into account that in the smaller towns and villages such as Veria and Vergina many people will not be able to help you in English.
In my experience the bus service from Veria to Vergina was very good, the only problem being that there is no timetable at the busstop near the site in Vergina and no one in the village seems to know when the buses back to Veria are going. However, if you just wait, it will show up in normally not more than an hour :-).
The bus service from Thessaloniki to Pella is very good as well, just make sure that the driver knows you want to get off at ancient Pella and not at new Pella if you happen to be the only tourist on the bus.
Thank you very much! As I can't drive car (and am afraid from traffic in Greece), will definatluy use public transport and try to visit at least Vergina and Pella...
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Efstathios
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Post by Efstathios »

Public transportation is good. Greece is a popular touristical destination afterall. As for driving on Greek roads, it's somewhat similar to driving in Italy. But the Italians have learned to obey the laws a little bit more. Nevertheless if you keep it at an average speed and middle or right lane at the highway it's fine. Be sure to check the mirrors often because in the cities mainly we got a lot of motorbikes.

As for communicating with the locals that dont speak English, there is always the universal language of moving your hands to show what you want :P

Common words for "thanks, please, hi" e.t.c., can be found in any guide. Whatever question you have about these, ask.

Something that i encourage everyone that's going to visit Greece to do (that also complies generally in visiting other countries) is to take the time to know each place by it's characteristics. And i what i mean is, dont do what the Japanese usually do, seeing a place most of the time through a camera, and moving forward from one place to another like they are at a museum. Just sit and smell, see, listen. Smell the sea, or the pine trees. These places are essentially almost the same as they were back in the ancient times. Ok, you wont see a lion roaming around Pella, but you get the point. :)
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marcus
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Post by marcus »

Efstathios wrote:Something that i encourage everyone that's going to visit Greece to do (that also complies generally in visiting other countries) is to take the time to know each place by it's characteristics ... Just sit and smell, see, listen. Smell the sea, or the pine trees. These places are essentially almost the same as they were back in the ancient times. Ok, you wont see a lion roaming around Pella, but you get the point. :)
Beautifully put, Stathi - and I'm sure everyone will agree with you.

I deleted your comment about the Japanese, purely because I wanted to focus on the rest of what you said. However, I was intrigued (and amused) by something I saw a Japanese group doing when I was in Iran - they all had ear pieces, and their guide was speaking to them all through a radio-mike - which would have made sense had there been 30 of them and they were wandering far and wide ... but there were no more than 15, and they were all within about 30 yards of him. Bizarre!

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karen
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Post by karen »

Hi all:

Paralus & Stathi -- got the cellphone covered -- my friend's ordered one to rent. Best deal we could find.
If you're renting a car out of Athens rent it from Swift.
Great -- we'll look into it -- thanks.
Further, if you've not booked a hotel, the Attalos is excellent value for money and a block from the Monastaraki metro station which links directly to the airport.
Aso a possibility, thanks...
I promise not to pick on the Greek god Alexander.....
Glad to hear you'll be appropriately worshipful. ;)

I have bought myself a nice direct-to-hard-drive video & still cam, that I can just throw into the laptop case with the computer, so I'm totally equipped for chronicling...

Last week we planned out our rough route, and here it is:

Monday 6/16/2008 Arrive Athens 7:10 a.m.
Tuesday 6/17/2008 Athens - Akropolis, Theatre of Dionysos, Akropolis Museum, Agora
Wednesday 6/18/2008 Athens - National Museum
Thursday 6/19/2008 Eleusis, Korinth - stay in Nauplio
Friday 6/20/2008 Mycenae, Epidauros (?)
Saturday 6/21/2008 Nemean Games
Sunday 6/22/2008 Olympia
Monday 6/23/2008 Olympia - Delphi
Tuesday 6/24/2008 (Amphissa) - Delphi - Agios Lukos - Chaironeia - Thebes
Wednesday 6/25/2008 Thebes (Electra Gate) - Thermopylai - Meteora
Thursday 6/26/2008 Meteora - Vergina - Naoussa? Lefkadia tombs - Edessa
Friday 6/27/2008 (Lefkadia) Pella - north - Thessaloniki
Saturday 6/28/2008 Thessaloniki - Makednian museum
Sunday 6/29/2008 Mt Olympos, Dion
Monday 6/30/2008 Leave Athens 11:20 a.m., arrive Toronto 2:50 p.m.

Ruthaki or anyone else -- got ideas for places to stay near the sites?

Thanks to everyone for all your help so far!

Even more excited,
Karen
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wmp
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Post by wmp »

I'm off to Greece on 1 June for my annual wander on the mainland, and can recommend the following, some from personal experience:

Nafplio - I've stayed for some year at Pension Helen - parking is very close by, which is a bonus in the Old Town. Her son runs Hotel Byron, one of the beautiful boutique hotels in Nafplio, if you have a little money to spare! her website is http://www.pensioneleni.gr/english/inde ... =page&id=1
I'm told Pension Marianna is marvellous - I stayed there before the re-build & like it, so it must be pretty good now, given the views - see http://www.pensionmarianna.gr/ Again, parking is easy - in the old Itz Kale parking lot above the pension.

Delphi - lots of hotels, some good, some less... - I've stayed for some years at Hotel Pan, run by a lovely family (the owner of Pan was the mayor of Delfi some years back) - it doesn't have a lift, so is only regarded as 2 star, they don't have a website, but their fax is 2265-083244, tel 2265-082294. It is on the lower of the 2 main streets in the one way system of Delfi - parking sometimes awkward, but Mr Pan keeps an eye out for you & can suggest alternative places to park if the main street is full. Some friends of mine stayed at Hotel Vouzas, but some years ago...

I stayed at Kastraki many years ago - which seemed easier than Kalambaka, but can't give any up to date information.

In Vergina I stay at Pension Sofia Hatsiagapidou on one of the main roads up to the tombs site. They have large rooms, & you can listen to the village life of Vergina as the sun goes down on your own balcony... Views are of the village and the hills surrounding. There is a new hotel in Vergina (behind the central church) but I've never tried it. Pension Sofia can be faxed on +30 2331 092511.

The tombs at Lefkadia are marvellous - do go to the Great Tomb (on the road going from Naoussa toward Edessa, left side) & see if they'll take you to the tomb of Lyson-Kallikles. That is truly amazing, esp. the climb down the iron ladder into it! But the painting is so clear & beautiful.

I rent cars from Transhire (www.transhire.com) but they're a UK agent - the Greek firm who supply the cars are Ansa International http://www.ansa.gr/ - good, but might not be as competitive as Swift.

I'm not a great poster on the Pothos site, although an avid reader... (Marcus has met me, & can probably vouch that I'm harmless, so do PM me if you want more info.)

:)
karen
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Post by karen »

Hi wmp (et al):

Thanks for the great info!

Are you in Greece past the 15th? Maybe we could hook up.

I might well be PM'ing you.

Warmly,
Karen
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Paralus
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Post by Paralus »

I am seriously jealous - though not of the time of year. You will be sharing the place with a million others!

I'd suggest a slightly different route. From Delphi (where we stayed in the family run Kuoros hotelinexpensive and a great view in the middle of town) I'd head north through Thessaly to Meteora thence onto Macedonia (Pella ,Vergina). You can then return down the coast via Pydna, Methone, Lamia, Thermoplylae, Chaeroneia, Thebes, Marathon and Athens. Consult an atlas - you'll see it's a loop. Best road atlas I found (here) was the AA Europe: very detailed and up to date.

Thebes is a bastard of a place to park a car. The place was also short on rooms when we were there in January!.

If you've time, try to get to Sparta and its museum: I didn't have the time and must do it next time. Allowing a day for Olympia is good. We did Mycenae and the Argolid and then took the "old road" through Arcadia: this is a must - beatiful country I must say and many a little village (as in the small photo set in an earlier post).

The Attalos is a must in Athens: very dangerous roof bar which brought me undone on more than one occasion.
Paralus
Ἐπὶ τοὺς πατέρας, ὦ κακαὶ κεφαλαί, τοὺς μετὰ Φιλίππου καὶ Ἀλεξάνδρου τὰ ὅλα κατειργασμένους;
Wicked men, you sin against your fathers, who conquered the whole world under Philip and Alexander.

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Fiona
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Post by Fiona »

Karen, what a wonderful trip you've got planned out. I hope that it turns out to be all that you've dreamed of.
Sandra, wmp, hope you also have a wonderful time on your own trips.
Fiona
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wmp
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Post by wmp »

Karen - I'm actually leaving Greece on the 16th (a public holiday, so driving back to the airport will be fun) - think I might be battling through departures as you come through arrivals - oh, what a shame...

Paralus - isn't Sparta Museum closed for renovation? One of our postgrads. was due to go there back end of last year / early spring of this to do some work with them, & I think she had to go last summer, rather quickly before it closed.... I guess it might be open again, but given the state of the museum (much rising damp & dodgy electrics) I fear it might still be closed... But Sparta isn't a bad drive from Napflio if you wanted to see the theatre site & the menelaion. The theatre is roman - & has the only known track & groove mechanism in roman theatre design (according to Geoff Waywell who excavated it - I still have his plans somewhere at home). The menelaion is a little hard to find (especially if it's raining, as it was last time I went there) but the view over the Evrotas valley to the Taiyetos mountains from the sanctuary is superb (yes, even in the rain!).

Atlas - I use the Greek Road Editions maps - prepared with the help of the Hellenic Army Service apparently. As with all road maps of Greece they can be a bit hit & miss (mainly due to new road construction) - or perhaps the generals just don't want to let on to the pbi where they really are...

As for the time of year - better now than in July / August... :)

Karen - I see you intend to see the Nemean Games - or are you taking part? I've always fancied the 7km walk / run / crawl from the temple of Herakles to the stadium site, but never quite managed to sign up to it! The Nemea Stadium is very atmospheric - usually there's no one there when I've been in October - & I do hope they've mended the tunnel to the stadium so you can go through it - the graffito is very interesting. Any of Stephen Miller's publications on the site are a must.

From Nafplio I'd recomment Tiryns - you can't miss it on the main Argos / Napflio road - the cyclopean walls reveal a certain paranoia - and a little known site - the Bronze Age pyramid at Elleniko (on the old road from Argos to Tripolis) - you can spend some while there wondering why it was built & staring over the Argolid plain. And of course the neolithic (& later) site at Lerna, just south of Argos. Not very Alexandrine - but still worth a look.

While driving Olympia - Delphi you need to be aware of the police speed traps on the Olympia - Patras road, and the Rio-Andirio bridge is so much nicer (if more expensive) than the ferry.

Oh dear, I'm rabbiting - that's what happens after a week spent staring at research ethics approval applications and studentship award panels.

trying to keep quiet,
wmp
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Post by tribalshimmy »

I have been to Northern Greece and to Pella, Mieza, Vergina and Dion and I'm glad you'll be going with someone who speaks Greek as English isn't so well spoken as on the islands, it's not such a tourist area either and you can be surprised at how little regard the Greeks appear to have for their history. For example, that a busy main road cuts through the site of Pella, with the wonderful little museum on one side and the main site opposite.
They were in the process of rebuilding Pella when I went there, with workmen making large bricks to build up the walls and to reconstruct the stables and steps that would lead up to the palace.
Despite my first impressions, that it looked like a cross between a building site and a garden centre, I loved the place and the archaeologists were good to talk to and pointed out the site of the palace.
Mieza was hard to find, though there is a small wooden sign with 'School of Aristotle' on it pointing down a narrow lane. It is beautiful and isolated, totally different to what you expect, with caves and signs of where the buildings would have been. I left a piece of the Illiad there as a tribute.
Vergina I'll leave you to discover, although you cannot take photos in the building and the entrance to Philip's tomb is protected by perspex glass. Take your car to go up to the ruins of the palace otherwise it's a steep walk up a hill which overlooks the small town, but the theatre is there, where Philip was killed.
Dion calls for a day to look around it and that too is in a beautiful setting, but I was trying to work out what Alexander would have seen to what had been done after his death, just to try to get an idea of the place through his eyes.
I stopped at the Hotel Issus, about 3km from Pella and the rooms were pleasant enough and it made a good base, with friendly staff.
BTW if you're a dog lover beware. There are so many strays struggling to survive out there, a lot of not pleasant sights. I actually rescued a stray while I was there, my wonderful Yassou, and if you find yourself in the same predicament I can help with who to go to.
Have fun and enjoy.
karen
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Post by karen »

Hi all:

Question for anyone who might know -- how do you access Thermopylai? We're trying to figure out how to get to it from the highway...

Warmly,
Karen
karen
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Post by karen »

You guys rock -- so much knowledge here -- and right now my friend is kind of panicking because we want to book rooms, and we are unclear on driving times. wmp and others, can you help?

(Paralus, we're taking your suggestion...)

We are also looking at Matt Barrett's recommended travel agents...

Warmly,
Karen
karen
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Post by karen »

Paralus --
You can then return down the coast via Pydna, Methone, Lamia, Thermoplylae, Chaeroneia, Thebes, Marathon and Athens
Got any suggestions for place to stay along the way (except Athens -- we're booked at the Attalos)?

Warmly,
Karen
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Paralus
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Post by Paralus »

karen wrote:Question for anyone who might know -- how do you access Thermopylai? We're trying to figure out how to get to it from the highway...
Park at the monument: the “hill” (and where the wall was) is across the road. You need to be most careful that the Greeks don’t run you down when crossing! From there you take the old national highway (E65) south to Chaeronea and around through Marathon and Athens.

You’ve done well with the Attalos: Sophia will ply you full of good Mythos beer and Macedonian red up there on the roof. The Monastiraki is absolutely full od eateries and bars – not to mention the Keramikos down the road and the Acropolis.

Are you taking the metro into town? It is the only way – trust me.

You’ve had a squizz at the route I suggested then? That run from Meteora through the home cantons of Coenus and Perdiccas looks a treat (we couldn’t make it in ’07 – time)
karen wrote:We are also looking at Matt Barrett's recommended travel agents...
Matt Barrett’s site is a gem. He may well have some places to stay. There are several on the old national road down to Thebes. Just watch the prices. Do as much on the net as you can before you go. I booked Olympia (as it was a weekend) and Delphi. The rest I winged it – as with everywhere else we travelled.

Meteora is a good stop on the way north from Delphi via Amphissa. Plenty to choose from and a nice drive after spending the morning at the Oracle site.

Coming from Australia I found Greece reasonably compact. The distances aren’t all that long and the roads – by and large – are good. The same can’t be said for the drivers. You’ll soon learn the ropes: stay well right and learn to ignore double unbroken lines; unbroken lines…in fact any bloody lines marked on the road. Learn to “half-cart” and watch out for buses - and any other vehicle – taking exception to being on your side of the road when they want it.
Paralus
Ἐπὶ τοὺς πατέρας, ὦ κακαὶ κεφαλαί, τοὺς μετὰ Φιλίππου καὶ Ἀλεξάνδρου τὰ ὅλα κατειργασμένους;
Wicked men, you sin against your fathers, who conquered the whole world under Philip and Alexander.

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karen
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Post by karen »

Hi Paralus (et al)

Great stuff here -- thanks again. I've passed everything on to my friend.

Distances seem small to me also, as a Canadian. And I've heard all about Greek drivers. It reassures me to remember I have pretty fast reactions ;) Question: what means "half-cart"?
Do as much on the net as you can before you go. I booked Olympia (as it was a weekend) and Delphi. The rest I winged it – as with everywhere else we travelled.
No way we'll be winging it... my friend is one of those who likes to have everything tightly planned before she even sets foot on a plane. And I'm going along with her because she's the one who's been there before. Question -- what time(s) of year were you there? And did you stay in Thebes?
The same can’t be said for the drivers. You’ll soon learn the ropes: stay well right and learn to ignore double unbroken lines; unbroken lines…in fact any bloody lines marked on the road. Learn to “half-cart” and watch out for buses - and any other vehicle – taking exception to being on your side of the road when they want it.
Reminds me, I must get health insurance.

I am quivering with anticipation......

Ever more excited,
Karen
Last edited by karen on Tue May 20, 2008 7:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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