Part i: What we learnt about Greece

Sunday, May 5, 2019

You're here because you're either looking for a getaway or are headed to Greece sometime soon. Rest assured, Dan and I have covered Greece, all from the major cities to the little nooks and crannies of it.

For brevity, I attempted to sum Greece up in a couple of words but unfortunately failed miserably because of the different vibes and experiences in each city. That has led us to conclude that it boils down to the particular city of Greece you're headed to.

There are, however, certain practices and tips on travelling Greece I should probably share. A few being:

Go in the right season
We were tempted by the affordable air flights to Greece during off-peak but soon realised that we couldn't fully experience everything it had to offer. There was a huge disconnect as we walked along Greece's beautiful beaches wearing jackets and sneakers instead of a bathing suit. During off-peak is when most hotels or attractions are closed too.

Transport around the islands
You have the ferries or planes. I personally have no preference for either. Both ferries and flights don't come often so, take a look at the schedule to plan your days.

Ferries tend to be a little bumpy when the weather is bad (especially around the Cyclades and when they're docking). They usually do multiple stops to different islands, so don't worry if you're boarding the same boat as another person going elsewhere.

Greek Time
Greek time is the worst thing ever. Our ferry was 2hours late and there were no announcements to inform the passengers. All we could do was to be on standby at the dock to run onboard when the ferry reached. We experienced this epidemic with the bus up to Meteora in Kalambaka which didn't arrive at 10am as expected (they don't have those signboards with no. of minutes on them). You'll just.... have to wait.

Tip: Plan your itinerary with some leeway for delay.

Because Greece is so rich in history and culture, it'll be such a pity if you don't go on the tour for the stories. Dan and I visited the Parthenon without a tour guide and it felt like we were just looking at a mess of concrete slabs. There are tons of day tours available. We bought an Athens-Delphi tour from Klook.

Tipping is practised in Greece and as a Singaporean, this practice still baffles me. We read that we had to tip in restaurants, cafes, bell boys, hotels and tour guides.

Tipping in food places - Our gauge was that you have to tip wherever they serve bread and olive oil. You can either round the number up or leave a little 10% thank you change on the table as you leave. We didn't tip once at a restaurant, not knowing about this prior, and our server was furious.

Tipping in hotels -  Apparently, there's a new law for tax in hotels. You have to pay 3 Euros a night on top of your booking.

The portions in Greece are big and I'd highly encourage you to share your meals. Dan and I were so full, even when we only shared 2 mains and 1 starter. What I love about the culture is that the waiters never assume that you're having the entire main to yourself. Unlike some other countries, the waiters automatically place all served food in the middle, which encourages sharing.

Water - Sometimes, I feel so privileged in SG to have drinkable tap water. In Greece, BUY bottled water. We didn't like how hard the water was in Greece (lots of minerals). If you're planning to boil tap water, wait a while for the minerals to settle at the bottom before pouring out.

Hope that's helpful! I'll be doing a couple more blog posts on Greece tips like where to eat, and the Airbnbs we stayed too in the coming days.

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