Monday, February 17, 2014

First Impressions of Greece

We arrived in Athens on February 14th after two days of travel. All of our biological clocks where off and we were all sleep deprived from the kids waking up ready to go at 2am. I have spent many nights in full activity for 3-4 nights without much sleep during the day time. We had an 18 hour layover in London, where we got a hotel close to the airport. We went for a little walk at a nearby park, but it was quite cold and windy, so we spent most of the time in the hotel. The kids were also wide awake in the middle of the night, so we took a night-time walk and played around the lobby in the wee hours of the morning. The kids are just now getting their sleep cycle back in tune with the diurnal cycle.

We flew into the Athens airport which turns out to be just as close to Rafina as it is to Athens. For 33 Euros we took a taxi for about a 20 minute drive to get to our house in Rafina. It was great to see some artwork associated with the 2004 Athens Summer Olympics at the airport. We did not see much of Athens since the airport was so far out of town. 

We arrived at our rental home which has a view of the Aegean Sea and is surrounded by some wonderful Greek architecture with white washed walls and terracotta tile roofs. We had our first night dinner that included olives, feta, bread, and Greek wine.  

The house is mostly marble tile floors and ceramic tile walls, which is good in the summer heat, but a bit cool in the winter. The high temperatures are in the 60s and lows in the 50s, so it is not too cold. Individual rooms have wall heating and cooling units so we can control the temperature on a room by room basis, but that means that the hallways and some central rooms are relatively cold without heaters. The hard surfaces are also a bit of a concern with the kids, but there is a nice carpet in the family room. There are also a number of stone stairways, which are off limits to the kids without supervision. The house also has balconies and sitting areas around all sides of the house. There are at least four good sized formal balconies or patios and them many smaller areas where one could set up a chair.

Rafina has a large feral cat and feral dog population. Two cats have adopted the house and spend a lot of time on our balcony to the enjoyment of the kids. We see cats and dogs throughout the village as we walk around and many residents have dogs in their yards as well.

On our first day we took a walk around the village that resulted in covering about a quarter of the main village in 3.2km (or about 2 miles which is equivalent to about 4000 steps if one is counting such a thing). Of course the majority of this walk was with a 30 lb. child on or shoulders and half of the trip was with six grocery bags as well.

We visited the dock where there is a row of shops, about half of which sold fresh fish. The other half was mostly cafes that were pretty full. Even though this is the winter off-season, most of the shops were doing a good bit of business with the locals.



  1. Jim, Hope you and family are doing well!

  2. We are all doing well. My internet has not been working in Greece for the past week. It works now travelling in Vienna. I wonder if Greece Vodaphone has blocked my computers?

    I have been writing on some papers and hope to get back to some blog posts soon.