Greece: Athens to Spetses
I thought that traveling in Greece would be tricky for a quad, but much to my surprise it is not insurmountable or even very tricky for that matter as long as you are willing to be adventurous. Forget curb cuts and in many of the places that I traveled forget curbs. For the most part Athens is like many other cities, with no real accommodation or adaptation for wheelchairs, they did however just host the Olympic Games and certain parts of the city have accommodated wheelchair travelers with parking spaces, (take your placard if you are driving) curb cuts and some ramps. In general if you doscuba not have the ability to go up curbs alone or with a traveling assistant, you are going to have to speak Greek or be really pretty in order to get help. I only spent a few hours in Athens, however along the coast, where I spent 10 days, I found that the Greeks were exceedingly accommodating when it came to lifting and assisting. Now for the good part:
Greece in June is everything that you have read and dreamed about, sunny skies and warm breezes great fresh food and if you like fish or lamb you have it made. If you are a vegetarian you will love the variety of fresh vegetables….and the olives, oooh my! We did not get to the famous Santorini or Mikonos, but we did get to smaller islands and a very special one called Spetses. The water taxi guys, upon seeing my wheelchair, moved the “accessible” boat into first place and they were willing to lift me in to the boat. The only drawback to Spestes was that it was overly commercial (touristy), but the views of the harbor and the gazillion dollar boats are well worth the trip and a dinner at the dockside with the wine and calamari in the late evening is very memorable.
Be prepared to pay in expensive Euros, most lunches came to US $25.00 a head and dinners about $35.00 plus wine. The standard piece of fresh bread and a hunk of their delicious fresh cheese can substitute very nicely for lunch and bring the average cost of eating out, way down. Oh, make sure that you sample the OLIVES! Try the local wines; they are not expensive and very pleasing.
Driving through the countryside is wonderful no traffic, no rush, and plenty of places to stop for O-L-I-V-E-S. Along the drive, ever so often you will encounter Roman ruins dating back thousands of years. The coastal roads are excellent and the vistas are spectacular, here you will encounter magnificent mansions with helicopters to ferry the rich shipbuilders and their guests back and forth from Athens.
All in all Greece is great, it is what I had hoped for and oh; did I mention the olives?