Subject: Re: Greece
Hi Tom I'm sure there are many Ziners who will have advice on Greece and there was a posting a few days ago on some choice islands. Here's my ofering.

Athens, as I understand it, is a zoo right now with building for the Olympics going on but it's always busy and noisy anyway, though you do have to see it. We had very little money at the time so we took the local bus from the airport into the city and every so often, as we approached downtown Athens, we spotted glimpses of the Acropolis. It actually brought tears to my eyes, I was so excited. However, after three nights in Athens with a day trip to Marathon (my partner is a runner) we'd had enough and headed back to the airport to fly to Crete.

Crete is a large island. We landed in Chania where we stayed overnight then took a ferry to Santorini for two nights. Santorini is absolutely stunning. Back to Chania, we hopped on a bus at about 5:00 a.m. to Omalos and hiked the Samaria Gorge - what an experience. The gorge figured prominently in the Second World War as a hold-out for the partisans who hid from the Nazis. At its most narrow, you can stretch out your arms and almost touch both sides of the hills. We walked into the town of Agia Roumeli, at the end of the gorge, got a fisherman to take us to the next town along the coast and returned by bus to Chania. The hike is not difficult, just wear appropriate shoes. It's about 9 miles. I highly recommend this adventure.

>From Chania, we bussed to Agios Nicholaos (filled to the brim with Brits, pubs and English beer so we didn't stay - nothing against the Brits, but we were in Greece after all) and booked passage on an overnight ferry to Rhodes where we spent a few days. Then the real travelling part started. We ferried from island to island along the Turkish coast, in big boats and little boats. Kos (the home of Greek medicine), Patmos (where John purportedly was inspired to write the Apocalytic book of the Bible), Samos (where we had the best pizza ever) and over to Kusadasi to view the ruins of Ephesus. Took a 12 hour ferry ride back to Pireaus (Athen's port) which in fact took closer to 18 hours because the weather was so bad. Remember to take Gravol if you plan to travel by boat anywhere in the Aegean. The whole trip took three weeks.

Because you only have two weeks, you'll have to narrow your choices - mainland, western Greece, the Peloponnese, islands close to the eastern seabord or venture further east toward the Turkish coast. Do lots of research, ask lots of questions. Some islands are known to be party islands. Others have a large contingent of Brits visiting. Still others are known to be destinations for gay travellers. So your choices will depend on what you are seeking out of the holiday.

Again, from our experience, no advance booking was necessary, particularly in September. The Greeks will meet you at the ferry and offer rooms. We never had a bad experience.

Looking forward to hearing about your choices. Lucy Toronto

P.S. The movie was Shirley Valentine and, of course, you should start drinking ouzo or retsina. In fact, your merry bunch of adventurers will have more fun planning over a good map and the chosen libation.