We had a room in Piraeus, the port city next to Athens, for only two nights.  Everything we’d read about Athens described it as big, crowded, loud, and dirty, and said that visitors could  and should see the Acropolis in a single day, and then get out.  The Acropolis is magnificent, and duly impressive, and while it took us longer than it should have to find the entrance, we enjoyed our time seeing the Parthenon, the temples, and the ancient agora.  The food was better our first full day there than it had been on our arrival, so things were looking up.

The day after seeing the Acropolis, we headed to Poros, an island about 2.5 hours by ferry from Athens.  It had been recommended on the website of a travel writer on Greece because of its convenient location, good food, beautiful villages, and nice beaches.  Our ferry arrived on time and we fought our way past the crowds of tourists to eventually make our way to the Kichli Studios, where we had a reservation for five nights.  The trouble began when we got there.

A woman at Kichli said they had no room and when I explained we had a reservation, she called her husband, who apparently owned the place (and, it seemed from their website, at least two hotels).  He explained to me that we did have a reservation but there was a problem with the room so we would have to be moved to another property with a “good room, very good room.”  We waited a few minutes for our ride to the new property to arrive, and a man drove us to a hotel where we were to have our new room for the night.  After waiting about 2 hours we were told they didn’t have a room for us (they said a pipe burst in the room), and we were moved to yet another location for the night and told we’d be brought to the Kichli the next morning.  Of course, the next morning, the owner arrived to say the Kichli was still not available but we would stay at another place, where he would take us.

Thus began our love/hate relationship with Poros.  We loved the owner of the new property, the room, the food, and the sea.  But we hated the grumpy Greeks, the move to four rooms in 24 hours, the hours of waiting, and the move to a different village (which was nice but didn’t seem to have a bank machine or a laundromat, so we had to walk about 30 minutes dodging traffic on a road with few sidewalks just to get to the village we were originally meant to be in and which had these amenities).

Our last full day on Poros exemplified the dichotomy.  The food at lunch and dinner was some of the best we’d had, and our hostess Vicky kindly arranged a taxi to the ferry for us for the next morning.  But we had to walk into Poros Village (the main village) to drop off our laundry and when we arrived to pick it up at the time we’d been told it would be ready, the place was closed and the phone number provided on the door didn’t work, necessitating a return trip later in the day.

We also had to pick up Amy’s passport, which the owner of the Kichli had taken when he dropped us at our room. We had been told (though not by the owner at the time he took it) that the passport would be at one of his hotels, and though we asked a woman at the hotel to they wouldn’t deliver it to us, despite the fact that it was their doing that we were in a different location, in a different village even.  Since we were already in Poros Village for the laundry, we went to pick the passport up and pay for the room, only to be told the price had gone up, even though we had confirmed at the time we were dumped off that it would be the same price.  More waiting for the owner to arrive and declare the original price was good, so we paid and got the passport.  Waiting, feeling lied to and mistreated, and more waiting makes up a big part of our memories of Greece.

In the end, we felt Greece was the least pleasant country we have visited, but we knew we were visiting in high season, and one local said everyone got grumpy then.  Maybe a less touristy island (is there such a thing in Greece?) in a different season, and we would have enjoyed our time, but we were mostly happy to leave.

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