Category Archives: Greece

Renting a car and driving at Crete

IMG_0021Skjermbilde 2016-01-16 kl. 14.39.32When abroad I’m usually not the one who drives. I’m not sure why, it’s just how it is. However when we were at Crete, me and my photographer, I was the only one with a driving-licence, so I had to be the driver this time.

When we arrived at the airport in Iraklio we followed the signs “car rental” and found our agent whoithout any problems. Having a smart-phone with a map-application made it easy to navigate. You have to roam in the beginning, but after the application has found the route, you can turn off roaming and the application will still help you navigate. The only time you have to roam is when you have to re-route.

Last time we were at Crete, 15 years ago, we had a rental car and I can remember being up in the mountains on very narrow, curvy roads, kind of scary. We never went to the mountains this time and driving on the highway was like driving at home. The only thing I found difficult was to drive in the afternoon/night as ther roads were very dark many places. However it didn’t scare me from renting a car at Crete. Actually I can recommened it as it’s so much easier to get around when you have a rental car!

A week at Crete in the end of October

IMG_0049Skjermbilde 2016-01-16 kl. 14.39.32In the end of October most of the tourists are gone and the island, that is very busy during the summer, is more relaxed and everybody is prepareing to closing down for the season. I was aware of this when we planned a week at Crete in the end of October and was prepared to meet an island that was tired of tourists, empty hotels and so-so weather.

What surprised me was that I was wrong in everything. I have been to Crete many times before, but it’s 10-15 years since my last visits, so comparing is not fair. However it seams like the Cretans were more relaxed and even more friendly. Most people were smiling and were very helpful and of course, very curisous when my photographer and I stopped to take pictures (and me posing…) everywhere.

Some shops, especially those close to the chartered hotels, were closed and most were quite empty, of course. There is no need to have a shop fully stocked when the hotels are closing! In the city-center of Iraklion the market and everything was still going strong with locals and the people, again, was relaxed and very friendly.

What about the weather? Although we were quite unlucky with the weather: overcast, rainy and windy, it was still 20 degrees. When the sun showed up it was actullay very warm!  (The week before we arrived the were 25 degrees and sunny.) I was prepared for cold days and was, again, surprised by how nice the weather was when it was not raining. Actually I fell in love with the island and if I was thinking of buying an appartment in a warmer climate, I would absolutly consider Crete.

What about the weather in Athens in the end of October?

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Before I went to Athens I was debating wether to go or not. I knew my body wasn’t the best as I worked very hard to finish taking the photoes for my coming book. We made it and in my mind I thought some sun and relaxing times in Athens would do me good.

Well… I haven’t seen much of the sun and I’m happy I brought my trench-coat because it’s been cold and some days it’s been raining so much that the streets became flooded! (My friends Annette from Travellingmunk and Mette from Reiselykke  actually hired a taxi to cross a big pond in the street!)  I don’t know if this is the norm at this time of the year, but it’s been like this for a week now. I think the weather was great the week before I arrived, so the first part of October  may be a better time to travel to Athens if you want summer!

What I know is that July and August is very warm, too hot for my liking (do I ever get satisfied?)! I think the perfect time to travel to Athens must be the last part of April, May, first part of June, September and first part of October, at least if you want summer. All in all I think this is the best time to travel within all Southern-Europe. I have been to Rome in 45 degrees and all I can say is that Mr. No-Backpacker should be happy he is still alive (you know the feeling when you feel you are boiling, you just can’t think clearly and a (stupid, at least in the moment) husband asks a silly question….)

I’m heading back to Norway tomorrow and it’s been around zero degrees there, so all in all, the weather in Athens is better than home!

 

Restaurants and room-service at Athenaeum Intercontinental Athens

IMG_9020The second evening here I ordered room-service, chicken-burger. Because I can’t eat bread and am afraid of getting something I can’t eat, I asked for the chicken-burger without the bread (I don’t care if I got the bread in the basket!), sauce and mushroom: Only chicken and potatoe. This is what I got: two very big chicken-breasts with potatoe. The chicken-breast were tasty and very well prepared, but the fries were too soggy.

Yesterday I had a look at the roof-top restaurant. I didn’t eat there, but if I weren’t alone I would have!

The view from the restaurant

There are also a restaurant and cafe downstairs, at the reception-level, but I would prefer this one only for the fantastic view!

Athenaeum Intercontinental Athens

IMG_9000– Welcome tom Athenaeum Intercontinental Athens! Since you are an Ambassador we have upgraded your room! (Short story: I lost my Royal Ambassador memebership because I didn’t have enough nighst as we have had appartments for some of our stays this year. We got a “soft landing” to Ambassador membership.)

Checking in was done very quick and I was followed to my room with my luggage. I am not 100% sure what room I got, but I think it was an executive room. To my surprise it was big with a full sofa, chair and a desk.

 

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IMG_8997As an Ambassador you are entitled to fruit, water and a “gift” waiting in your room. Although I don’t eat much fruit because of my diet, I like the feeling of being treated to something extra. The gift from Athenaeum Intercontinental Athens was 3 “Olivia” soap-bars.

IMG_8994IMG_8996The toiletries are Korres, which I first sampled at The Capital Hotel in London many years ago. It’s a Greek brand and I love the fact that they use local toiletries instead of the Agraria they usually use at Intercontinental. (I’m allergic to the Agraria shampoo so always have to bring my own…) I’m not sure wether I like or dislike the Korres, but so far I have not gotten any bad reactions and that itself is a good sign!

The bathroom has a bath-tub with an excellent pressure in the shower!

As I didn’t have breakfast or lounge-access included I can’t tell about thoset services but I had a quick look into the lounge during “cocktail-hour”. The lounge was modern and had a good atmosphere. The food-offerings weren’t that great, just small snacks, but it looked delicious! I don’t know what they charge for lounge-access, but usually they charge for two people, so I think it would be a good deal if you are a couple AND if you are not on a strict diet like I am. (No wheat, no lactose, no garlic, no onion etc…) I am sure the hotel would cater for me, but as I am alone I don’t bother.

IMG_9003The cafe in the reception-area is always busy with guests, but not too busy. I might go and have a coffee there later!

Getting to the hotel from the airport with the metro/tram:

Take the blue metro-line to Syntagma. You have to buy a ticket at the airport (8 EUR). At Syntagma you can either take a taxi (around 5 EUR) or if you don’t have much luggage, take the green or red tram-line. You have to go out and up the stairs and then you will see the tram-station. This is the end-stop, no worries if you are in the right direction! Take the tram to Kassomouli (the 4th. stop) and from there it’s only 50 meters walk to the hotel. (This is the same tram that will take you to the city center, Syntagma.)

More about the SPA, area and restaurants in the upcoming posts.

 

 

 

Athens, here I come!

Tomorrow I am going to Athens to partisipate at a travel-blogger conference. I signed up for this earlier this year, before I knew I was going to write a cookbook, and booked 7 nights. Although the conference is only 3 days I knew I would need some extra nights, just to relax!

To be honest, I haven’t been much in “travel-blogger mode” the last months as the cookbook project has taken all my time and energy. However I have decided to go to Athens, partisipate in some of the sessions at the conference, relax, write and relax even more. I do feel a little bit “guilty” of traveling for a week while 1. I don’t have the time to write as much as I want to in my blog and 2. I am in the finishing-stage of the book. Luckily I have other exciting projects in my mind, including traveling, so I shouldn’t feel that guilty!

Well… It might be good for both my health and my mind, so see you from Athens!