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Greece! Return to Travel

Hoops & Hospitality

Any visitor to this site loves travel and has been affected by Covid19. Whether we were kept from visit family and friends, or couldn't scratch the wanderlust itch, the pandemic has touched us all. If staying put was the worst of it, that was a small price to pay since the pandemic has taken a much greater toll on millions of lives and businesses.

Citizens of the US were not permitted in most countries until recently. My daughter and I began to plan a trip to Greece more than six months before the ban was lifted without knowing if we would be able to travel. I was careful to only make refundable reservations since I was burned by an airline booking company and a tour company (Bamboo Tours--see previous blog). Both cancelled in 2019 and I have yet to receive a refund from either one. However, I am thrilled to report that we did not have to cancel Greece and that we had an amazing trip in September 2021 which included Mykonos, Santorini, and a final stop in Athens. There were, however, a lot of hoops and enough paperwork to make it feel like I was taking a course for credit. We took four flights and a ferry each with complicated requirements. Or so they said.

The US State Department had Greece on its high risk list of places it did not recommend visiting. We decided to ignore the warning since we were going in shoulder season after most of the tourists and tour groups had left. The weather was still warm so we would be able to eat our meals outdoors. After six months of planning, until a week before we left we still weren't sure our trip was going to happen.

A week before we left, the European Schengen recommended closing the doors to US citizens again due to the high rate of Covid 19. Happily, Greece did not impose the ban on US citizens. We did, however, need to provide proof of vaccination. We also received multiple, conflicting emails from United about whether or not we needed a Covid test to enter. We got one to be sure we could get on the plane. I'm still not sure we needed the test. Greece also required a Passenger Locator Form (PLF) before flying to show where we would be staying in case we needed to be contact traced. Further research showed that any time we flew or took public transport within Greece, we could be randomly tested. That never happened. We did need to test negative before returning to the US. Athens airport has a testing facility that we booked online while still in the US. There were a few more hoops, such as a lengthy form to fill out and bring on the ferry. No one ever asked to see it, but we had it ready. The were many hoops we jumped through in order to travel again were worth it. Greece is as beautiful as it is hospitable. The people, the scenery, and the food are well worth the extra travel precautions.

We flew out of Newark Airport which was fairly uneventful. Everyone is required to be masked in the airport and on board. However, no social distancing is enforced in the airport or going through security. Fortunately, it wasn't very crowded and since all international flights require passengers to be vaccinated, we felt safe.

After we landed in Athens, we waited to board our next flight to Mykonos, our first destination. We booked a small apartment in Ornos with a kitchenette. We did not want to rent a car and I checked with the hotel to see if we could manage without one and he assured me we could. We couldn't.
It was an adventure. Our place was at the top of a hill and there was no way to get anywhere without a vehicle. The place had a beautiful pool and a view of the windsurfing beach. The helpful hotel manager gave us a few rides and we planned our days so we didn't have to move from place to place often. Taxis took us wherever we wanted to go. Taxis in Mykonos run on island time so there was usually a wait. Also, there are not many taxi services available which is a good thing to know if you do not want to rent a car. Here are some views from our place in Ornos. It was the start of an amazing, long-awaited trip.

Posted by teethetrav 13:33 Archived in Greece Tagged greece_mykonos_ornos_travel restrictions_covid19_plf_

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