Some readers will be aware that I am shortly to head through to Greece after an absence of 20 years. My wife Maria and I intend to be away just over six weeks.
Knowing how difficult it can be to obtain accommodation in high season, I’ve decided to arrange most of this from the NZ end after doing due diligence online. One of the things that did surprise me was that a number of hotels and pensions were not disposed to accept credit cards. Fortunately for me though , they were prepared to waive a prepaid deposit; perhaps having a Greek wife may have helped in that regard.
Our itinerary will see us spending some days in Piraeus with family – our nephew’s wedding in Nikaia is going to be a real highlight! We’ll commute to Athens from there. Then a relaxing three days on the tiny island of Agistri (pronounced Angistri), followed by time with family in Argos (and a few lovely days in Nauplion). Then its off to Samos where we will get to spend most of our time, before returning for a final few days in Piraeus.
I thought to mention here though a Greek gentleman who has become something of a legend in his field of work in Greece .. a man brought to my attention by the gifted commentor on Greece and “things Greek,” Matt Barrett. I’ll be putting up a decent review of Matt’s site at http://www.greecetravel.com/ shortly and later we’ll also get to visit some of his other great Greek sites.
I picked up on Matt’s recommendation to engage the services of George The Famous Taxi Driver, when we found ourselves arriving in at Athens airport in the very early hours of the morning. I’m still trying to come to grips with the fact that Greece is no longer the shoestring budget traveller’s paradise it was thirty odd years ago and having to convert the abysmally weak Kiwi dollar to Euro, effectively I find that for many things I’m paying twice the price of what I’m paying here in NZ. But hey .. I guess there’s not much I can do about that.
Anyway .. returning to the matter at hand. The cost of taxis is no exception and aside from the risk of finding oneself ripped off, a taxi trip into central Athens is not cheap; around 30 Euro. After midnight .. you can double that. Our destination .. Piraeus .. add a further 10K to the trip .. so I was most pleasantly surprized when I found I could hire George at 60E to collect us from the airport and drive us through to our hotel in Piraeus. No taxi queues, no risk of being ripped off. And being dropped off right at our hotel. Most reassuring as parts of Piraeus are known to be a bit on the seedy side.
George (and Matt) have received a raft of testimonials from very satisfied customers. Okay .. maybe I am jumping the gun a bit putting up this post, but as I say .. most reassuring knowing that he will be there waiting for us and so I thought to let you in on the secret of George right now rather than have you wait a few more weeks.
George set himself the goal of being the very best taxi driver in Greece and it sounds like he’s made it! He readily comes into his own with the excursions he is able to provide .. so if you fancy a trip down to Cape Sounion to view the famed temple and watch the sunset, or a visit to the monasteries perched atop Meteora .. or even a budget priced island hopping excursion .. take it from me George comes highly recommended. He will leave you the richer for your Greek experience, you will learn things you would not otherwise learn and get to eat some of the very best food you will find in Greece. George The Famous Taxi Driver could end up being the highlight of your trip to Greece.
Footnote: George’s son Dennis is now working alongside of his Dad making this a real family affair!
Update: The Greek trip has been and gone and although we never did get to meet George, our cab was there at the airport ready and waiting .. and waiting .. as our flight was late in. Our driver we were to learn was one Alexandros (I believe one of George’s relatives). Never holding back on any opinion of anything and acting out the commonly perceived Greek male macho role, we nevertheless found him to be very friendly and very obliging. I would without hesitation recommend George The Famous Taxi Driver and his staff to anyone wishing to have a worry free, and no less expensive way of getting to their destination in the wee hours of the morning.
Taxis in Athens charge double rate after midnight and if we’d been foolish enough to engage one instead of hiring the services of George we would have paid even more to get to our hotel in Piraeus.