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Travel Logistics

March 7, 2007

One of the things I should have considered more carefully when we decided to move to Crete was just how incredibly far Crete is from ‘home.’

Of course, it’s not like I’m flying back to Ohio every other week. In fact, I haven’t left the island since we got here. But if I wanted to…

Today I looked at travelocity to see the price and time. Total on the plane travel time from CLE to CHQ is 22 hours, 20 minutes. There’s also nearly 10 hours of layover time. 4+ at Kennedy and 5+ at Athens. By the time you add on 45 minutes of travel to CLE and 20 minutes from CHQ and the two hours at CLE before departure, well…it sucks.

Not so bad for me, really. I can sleep just about anywhere, and am currently mostly unemployed. But if my family wanted to visit me (and I’ve heard rumors that they might) it’s god-awful. My grandparents aren’t ancient, but they aren’t 60 anymore, and asking them to travel for 35.5 hours is absurd. The rest of my potential visitors actually have jobs, which in the States means they have 2 weeks (3 if they’re lucky) vacation time. So, even if they wanted to visit, they’d waste a significant part of their vacation (nearly 3 days) traveling. And there’s a 7 hour time difference.

By contrast, if I lived within 2 hours of CDG, they’d be door-to-door in 17 hours. It’s still a long way, but it’s doable, and Crete is not.

No wonder people here think that (non-military) Americans shit gold bricks. The ones who make it to Crete must have wads of cash (and tons of free time).

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2 comments

  1. Since I’m fortunate enough to live on the East Coast, my total travel time to Greece will be about 16 hours. Now, how I will work this out logistically, I have NO idea. If you have any experience with children, then you may very well be able to imagine what it’s going to be like trying to keep a 3 year old tame for so many hours. Ahem.

    If you have any recommendations for where to stay during our two month sojourn, I would appreciate it. I’m torn on whether to stay on an island or to stay in Athens. Since I do have a little munchkin, we obviously won’t be doing daily sightseeing. I think twice a week will suffice. So, we’ll need something to do and I suspect a beach is the next best choice (seeing as how we’re from Florida and that’s just what Floridians do!) Which makes me think an island would be a logical choice. However, I’m cluless and indecisive and if you wouldn’t mind giving some input, I’d love it 🙂 And if you happen to know of anyone that’s subleasing this summer in mid-late May or early June to late Julyish, that would be so awesome!! Since our plane tickets are going to be over 2 grand and I still have to pay my rent in the US, we don’t have a whole lot to spend housing, sadly. (Oh, that and I’m a single mom/college student! Where I get these ideas to spend $2k on plane tickets, I don’t know!!)

    Thanks!

    Christine


  2. Christine, very sorry for the delay in my response. I’m still catching up after so much time offline.

    First, as far as keeping a 3 year old tame, I’ll tell you what I tell all traveling parents. Those tiny little bottles they offer on the plane – you know the ones with amber and clear liquid inside? They work.

    If you choose to stay in Athens, it’s a fairly easy jaunt via ferry to some of the islands. Two months would just about do you on a larger island, like Crete. The smaller islands are good for a week or so of exploring, or two months of reading/sunbathing. They very small islands are good for an afternoon or weekend. So, my advice would be stay in/outside Athens and plan a few trips.

    I don’t know of anyone sub-letting, but I do know that offering to pet-sit or house-sit is sometimes a good way to go. The difficulty here is that you will be there in high-season and most people who live part time in Greece live there in the summer. Three sites you might check out are:
    http://www.housecarers.com
    http://www.housesit.org
    and http://www.mindmyhouse.com

    Of those three, the last one is free and has the lowest traffic. None of them commonly have listings for Greece, but there is the odd one here or there. Also, put an ad up on Craigslist Athens (www.craigslist.org) offering competent petsitting. Empty homes being vandalized/broken into is a common occurrence even on relatively low-crime islands, so someone might take you up on it. Populate the message boards like interkriti.gr and britsincrete.co.uk but only if you have a very thick skin. The people there can be exceptionally caustic and accuse you of all sorts of scamming. Don’t take it personally and don’t respond to them, they’re a bunch of jerks. Despite that, there are some relatively sane people who read but don’t post on those boards and might need something you can offer. If you have references from your current or past landlord, say it upfront. You might even offer to pay the utilities for your visit.

    The other option is to contact the travel agents and ask them for a special deal for a long let in the summer. When we rented over the winter into summer, we got a one room cottage for 450 euros/month. Your price would likely be higher as you wouldn’t be renting in the winter.

    Lastly on the housing front, camping is an option. During the season, the southern islands have very little bad weather, though they do have strong winds (if you’ve been through a hurricane you’ll be familiar with the strength) regularly. Crete is a pretty safe place regarding violent crime, though I’d be careful to not pitch a tent in a very unpopulated area.

    If you decide to rent a car, make sure you ask for a special rate for a two month rental. I don’t know about the mainland, but on the islands you should be able to get a small car for 450-500 euros/month.

    So, I hope that helps. Don’t fall in love with a Cretan (maybe not even a Greek) unless you are prepared to live a very, very different life.



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