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Santorini/Paros 2-6-19
Post: #1
Just back after a wonderful week in Santorini and Paros.  First hotel (in Santorini) was comfortable, but despite a lovely view of the Caldera , there was nothing much going on in the evenings and it had no real bar where we could 'unwind' after a day trip.

The TM we were meant to have could not make it due to unforeseen family problems, so we were met at the airport by an Italian lady, just there to settle us in, which she did, but to my delight she explained we were going to get the wonderful Thea, who would be with us from day 2.  I knew Thea from the Crete holiday last September and she was (and is) fantastic.  

Santorini is very crowded these days compared to when I was last there 11 years ago, especially Oia Village, so I suggest you are prepared for lots of uphill walking and steps and I would also suggest you take lots of water with you.  The capital of the island, Thira, also gets packed because of so many huge cruise ships coming in daily.

The archaeological site inn Akrotiri was fantastic as the local guide was an archaeologist and as well as knowing his stuff, he was so enthusiastic about his subject that he got us all intrigued, so much so that many of us are going to read up on the Minoan civilisation now that we are back.  They even had flushing loos 6,000 years ago!

The Caldera Islands cruise was interesting.  The first island was a volcanic hill and I only managed 2/3rds of the steep walk, but the views even from there were great.

The next day we went by  2 hour ferry to Paros and to a wonderful hotel there, which was such an improvement on the first one in terms of atmosphere and friendliness of staff. (Not saying that the staff weren't friendly in the first hotel, as they were, but it was just the lack of facilities that let the place down when compared to the second.  
I went on all the trips apart from Paros Town and Lefkes, as I personally needed a quiet day, so instead I walked to the local beach at Alyki Village, which was fabulous and I happily whiled away the time people watching and eating lunch there. 

The next day we visited the Folklore Museum which was outstanding and not to be missed.  We all thought it might be a bit dull, but in fact it was the opposite and we met the man who had made all the exhibits over a 40-50 year period.  He was so talented!  Then on to the ferry to take us to Antiparos, which was only a 10 minute crossing and well worth it.

We had plenty of time to pack on the last day as we did not leave the hotel in Paros until 12.  We then packed our luggage on the bus and travelled to the port for another ferry to Mykonos, from where we were to fly back to the UK, Mykonos is lovely, - more expensive as it is a luxury resort where Tom Hanks and Madonna have a villa, (each!).   We had a bite to eat there overlooking the beach and then we were taken to the airport.

No problems until we got on the BA flight home.  I was halfway down the plane and I remembered I had got the last sandwich on the way out, but on the return the card payment machine broke down and the staff seemed helpless.  Somehow, after 30 mins or so, they got it working again, but by then people were hungry and thirsty, - yet once again they ran out of not only M&S sandwiches but also bottled water!  They ffered trap water from the 'kitchen', but nobody fancied that.  Luckily I had bought a bottle at Mykonos Airport before boarding, but BA really are an embarrassment these days and I wish JY would find alternatives wherever possible.

However, all in all, it went smoothly thanks to Thea and her 'over and above the call of duty' outlook.  She ironed out any potential problems before they arose and JY are very lucky to have her.  One of the other passengers, Linda, knew Thea too, from a Spanish trip a while ago, and I knew Linda from the Florida trip in Nov 17, so it was a grand reunion in two cases for me!

Thea also taught us basics of the Greek language and on the last night, taught our group Greek dance steps, which they all did really well at.  (I couldn't get the hang of it, so dropped out early on).  Of course, both were optional and free. 

As will all my JY trips so far, (this was number 6), I really enjoyed it.  I am going to Puglia in September and got some tips from other passengers who have already been on that one, so that was useful to know as they all had positive comments on it.
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Post: #2
oops, got my islands muddled up. Tom Hanks and Madonna have places in ANTIPAROS, not Mykonos!
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Post: #3
Hi Mike 
Thanks for an excellent review and I shall certainly bear this one in mind for future excursions. However I am looking at going to Puglia next May (Number 4) so would be interested in the tips etc you got from your fellow travellers and would appreciate your thoughts on your return from Puglia in September. 
Many thanks Paul
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Post: #4
OK Paul. I'm going to Puglia on 2/9, so I will do a review after that, but I have already been told that Lecce and Monopoli are absolute 'musts' and that the whole trip is wonderful. With this terrible weather, (in London at least), and after such lovely weather in Greece last week, I can't wait for the next trip!
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