Friday, October 6, 2017

Rome/Greece Trip 6 Oct- 18 Oct 2017 Summary/Itinerary

Our original intent was to visit Athens and its islands. Because SQ does not fly direct to Athens and our son advised us against transiting in Turkey, we decided to fly via Europe. And because only the flight to Rome was available at the time of booking in July, hubby decided to stopover in Rome to fulfill his wishes of photo taking of a ancient city with lots of history. We redeemed the leg from Singapore to Rome using 38000 krisflyer miles/person and paid only $38/person for the taxes. On the return leg, we flew from Athens on Aegean Airlines which transits at Frankurt and then we flew back via SQ to Singapore because Aegean Airlinesis a star alliance member and they do not fly to Asia! We paid only $800 for the one way ticket which was a steal.

It was a wonderful vacation with fabulous food and sight seeing. Weather was fantastic with sunny days and cool temperature everyday. Rome was very crowded with many tourists and it started with a long queue at the immigration. Romans are not very friendly towards tourists, maybe they do not welcome tourists! At Rome, I tried to change small notes for a $500 euro at 2banks but was declined. Reason given was I was not their customer! So, do not bring big note to Rome. Even McDonalds reluctantly changed a $100 note, and that was done only after their manager approved. The airbnb/hotel owners and those restaurant owners in front of Pantheon are ok though. I guess competition is stiff with so many cafes lining the perimeter and with so many hotels in Rome.

This is my second visit to Rome. The only site I missed the last time was Plaza Navona (not very impressive) and theater. Everything looked pretty much the same from my last visit and everything looks old and ancient. The road to the coloseum had somewhat improved though. Advice on food in Rome: Must try the tiramisu. Even Mcdonald's has that. But everything is expensive in Rome. Guess everything is expensive in Europe. Iceland is even worse! The food at Napelaneon in front of the Pantheon was quite good, esp the seafood spagetti. We stayed near a Coop so we prepare/cook our own breakfast.

After Rome, we flew to Santorini via Aegean Airlines (cost: $320 sing). Santorini is a beautiful island. We enjoyed our 3 day stay very much with sunset everyday. The Kavalari hotel was great, with wonderful views of the inviting sea and calderea and wonderful breakfast, basic but very beautifully presented and more than sufficient. More importantly, it does not burn a big hole in the pocket, compared to nearby similiar hotels. We rented a car the next day to explore the island with last stop at Oia and spent most afternoons resting in the hotel before venturing out to see sunset.

Mykonos was the next stop. In Mykonos, we only hung around Chora, the town area, little venice and port area. Adonis Hotel was a fantastic hotel with complimentary transfer from port/airport. Both journeys are about 10-15min long. The island is famous for its special clobbered pavements and narrow streets. A colourful island indeed but the wind speed is about 40km/h when we were there.

We flew to Anthens after 2 nights' stay at Mykonos via Aegean airlines. Took the train to Monastiraki station and it costed 9euro/person. Next 3 days were spent visiting Acropolis, Plaka and the Roman Ruins. Hubby fell in love with Athens - he did not expect it to be such a beauty!

The last stop was Meteora, a 4hr drive from Athens and is also hubby's favourite stop, with monasteries perched precariously on the hilltop with straight cliffs! We were very impressed with the conditions of the highways of Athens.


Day 1 - Flight to Rome -> Cab to Rome -> Santa Maria Maddalena -> Pantheon -> Piazza Nanova -> Check in airbnb -> Lunch at McDonald's -> Spainish Steps -> Trevi Fountain -> Altare della Patria ("Altar of the Fatherland") -> Capitoline Hill (Campidoglio) -> Coloseum -> Dinner at RISTORANTE NAPOLETANOS

Day 2 - Breakfast -> Supreme Court - Corte Suprema di Cassazione -> Castel Sant ' Angelo -> St Peter's Square, Vatican City -> Pizza for lunch -> Marcello Theater -> Isola del Cinema on Isola Tiberina -> Largo di Torre Argentina -> Piaza Colonna -> Colosseum -> Dinner at CAFFE' TRE

Day 3 - Breakfast -> Checkout -> Cab to Rome Airport -> Flight to Athens -> Transit at Athens -> Flight to Santorini -> Cab to Kavalari Hotel -> Check in Kavalari Hotel (review) -> Walk to Imerovigli -> Dinner at Mezzo -> Walk to Fira

Day 4 - >Breakfast -> Pick up rental car -> Pyrgos -> Aghia Theodosia Church -> Church And bell tower of Christos (Metamorfosi Sotiros) -> Church of Aghios Nikolaos -> Walk around town -> Perissa Black Sand Beach -> Pastry for lunch from Santa Irini Bakery, Perissa -> Red Beach -> Akrotiri Lighthouse -> Oia -> Sunset -> Dinner at Ouzeri

Day 5 - Breakfast -> return rental car -> Fira -> Lunch at LUCKY'S SOUVLAKIS -> Rest in hotel -> sunset at Fira -> Dinner at Volacno Blue

Day 6 - Breakfast -> Bus to Athonis Port -> Ferry to Mykonos -> Check in to Adonis Hotel (Review) -> Windmills of Kato Mili -> Little Venice -> Paraportiani Church -> Chlora -> Dinner at VEGERA

Day 7 - Breakfast -> Bni's windmill -> Chlora -> Spotted the Pelican -> Chlora -> Lunch at Pepper -> Tiramisu at D'ANGELO -> Rest in Hotel -> Sunset at Little Venice -> Dinner at D'ANGELO

Day 8 - Breakfast -> Flight to Athens -> Train to Town -> check in airbnb (Review) -> Lunch -> Plaka -> Anatiofika -> Areopagus Hill (Mars Hill -> Acropolis -> Temple of Athena Nike -> Odeon of Herodes Atticus -> Propylaea -> Erechtheion -> Parthenon -> Theatre of Dionysus Eleuthereus > Thansis

Day 9 - Breakfast -> Walk to Mt Mount Lycabettus -> Hike up to Mount Lycabettus -> Shop at Carrefour -> -> Parliment House -> Synatmac Square -> home cooked Lunch -> Bathhouse -> H=Arch of Hadrian -> Anafiotika -> Philopappus Hill -> Dinner at BYZANTINO

Day 10 - Breakfast -> Changing of guards at Parliment House -> National Gardens -> Monastiraki Square & Flea Market -> Rest -> Dinner at OROSCOPO

Day 11 - Breakfast -> Pick up rental car - > -> Drove to Meterora -> Check in House Alsos (Review) -> Meteora monastries -> Kalambaka Town - > Dinner at Meteora Grand Restaurant

Day 12 - Breakfast -> Meterora Monasteries -> Drove to Athens -> Check in Rafina Hotel -> Shopping at Mcarthur -> Dinner at Hotel

Day 13 - Shuttle to airport -> Flight to Frankfurt -> Transit -> Flight to Singapore