Since our last blog we did sneak in our usual addiction, a trip to Beaches Jamaica. It's easy. It's familiar. But with Andy's fourth sabbatical and the kids getting older, Allyson in college and Alec a rising junior we know our time with them is growing more and more finite, so we needed to go big. We voted as a family last summer and the kids elected for water and beaches versus lots of touring with ruins and history.
Andy has forever wanted to charter a boat and do some sailing, so initially we looked into chatering a boat with a captain in the Greek islands. But then I, Avis, said it's my vacation too and I don't want to cook. So by the time we booked a boat with 3 bedrooms, sailing vessels are too small to make the kids share, a room for a captain, and a cook, and all the provisions I found it priced out to some cases more than this Unforgettable Greece Small Ship Cycladic Islands tour. So we went for it booking a B & C (smallest and cheapest and second smallest and cheapest) room on the Elysium.
Over the next several months while we awaited time to pass and our long-time friends, the Jarnac family, decided to come along. Win-win for us allowing the kids, who arean't really kids anymore to have some friends around their age (18, 16, & 13) and us to travel with some of our best friends since college.July 27 we were off having booked a round trip on United from SFO to Paris (and we might have planned a couple days at the end of the trip) and then a round trip from Paris to Athens on Agean. We recommend the slight upgrade from Economy to Premium Plus. More room, pillow, blankets, beverages, and the same meal service as First Class/Polaris.
We planned a single night in Athens as we visited it in 2014 but we wanted a little bit of experience so we utilized the the travel company and booked Elia Ermou near the Plaka, which we did not get to visit last time. After a little delay on 2 of our 4 gate checked bags our driver, Spiros, wisked us away in our Mercedes van to the hotel where we had 45 minutes to freshen up before our rooftop dinner. This hotel was your typical European hotel with a tiny lobby and tiny elevators, but numerous of those...at least 5 luckily as each one barely fit our family of 4. 2 rooms were required as rooms are small, but they were still more spacious than others we've had in France, Switzerland, and elsewhere.
Dinner was amazing ...the portions were large and the view was jaw dropping. Every table had a view of the Acropolis with open windows and even ceiling. We would dine for 3 hours and when the kids finally called it a night we joined the bartender for a round of Ouzo, a anise/licorce, flavored apertif, after he had already sent another round of fruity shots to the five of us.
Five you ask? Allyson is legal drinking age in Greece and she even joined us in judging our first bottle of Greek wine. The verdict...it tasted "dusty."
Finally in bed at after midnight, which was our goal to speed our transition to the time zone. We would not be rushed the next morning. Breakfast would be included with the hotel and our driver to the port would not arrive until 1:30, so plenty of time to slowly get up, dine, and explore the Plaka.