Our first stop was a 14 hour stopover in Athens. Our aim was to head to Rhodes, but there are no direct flights to that island, so we began in Athens. It was really difficult to adventure on no sleep, so we once again, passed out for a bit in the Athens airport. They happen to have a nice lounge area there with comfy seats. Much bigger airport than expected, and we paid to have our luggage stored in the airport. Once we (better) rested, we Ubered to the Chabad of Athens, who has a kosher restaurant, as well as a mini Kosher market. The Chabad is in the center of town, and they gave us locations to visit, and also warned us about the pickpockets. Athens has a lot of ancient ruins all over – the pictures speak for themselves we think 🙂
Took an Uber back to the airport for flight #5 to Rhodes! We rented a car, and our hotel had free parking. Parking around the country wasn’t too bad, and street parking seemed free. We stayed at the Boutique5 hotel there, and decided to splurge and get a room that had our own private pool, and fits three to sleep. It was Shiva Asar B’Tammuz, so we played it pretty low key our first day. We took pictures by the beach, which was on the same property as the hotel, and bought more clothes for the suitcase-less (they have an H&M).
DAY #2 RHODES – jam packed. Get pumped. (Recommend wearing clothes that you can do extreme activities in). When going to Rhodes, you must get in touch with Stefanos (firstname.lastname@example.org OR +30 694-599-5168) who planned and booked our entire itinerary for us, and speaks a great English. We drove to horseback riding on the beach in the a.m., then to Kalithea Springs, followed by another springs tour. Rock climbing was the final activity of the day which included repelling, mountain climbing, and up-lining.
DAY #3 – Jeep Safari tour, once again book through Stefanos. They picked us up at a nearby hotel, and they essentially gave us a tour of the whole island, with other tourists on board. They played music the whole time, windowless jeeps, with water fights between all the jeeps on the tour. They had free water the whole time, as well as an included BBQ (which wasn’t kosher. We brought our own food from Israel). All the guides were really nice and friendly. Stopped by cool shops on the side of the road, old army bases, youth water springs, water tunnels… lots of cool stops essentially. It was about $70 a person, but it was also an all inclusive full-day activity. Highly recommended!
DAY #4/SHABBOS – one of our guides from our jeep tour met us at our hotel with scuba gear, and we went scuba diving before Shabbos. The Chabad of Athens delivers food for Shabbos (both meals), throughout the islands of Greece. You pick the meals you’re interested in, and they accommodated for a gluten free diet as well. They deliver the food to the hotel kitchen in a cooler – all the food was double wrapped, so the hotel was able to heat up the food for us for Shabbos and bring it to our room. We brought our own utensils, and ate on a table on our private patio.
DAY #6 – Stefanos booked us a full day kayaking tour (about 10 hours, they pick you up from the hotel), where you kayak to little villages and islands around Greece with a guide. You also get to explore some caves. They bring you a non-kosher lunch, but we obviously brought our own food. One of the islands we rowed to, Lindos, had a kosher Ben & Jerry’s store (cash only), but that was really the only kosher food we could find on our own. It was approximately $137 for the day. They also brought snorkeling gear along the kayaking trip.
DAY #7 – Last day – we explored the old city of Rhodes, where we saw ruins and the Jewish Ghetto, with the Holocaust memorial that was there. They had just started filming a documentary about the Jews of Rhodes while we visited the old shul there. We flew back out to Athens then Tel Aviv to Netanyah, where we stayed with family and chilled. On our way back to America we had a stopover in Milan, where our connecting flight back to America got cancelled. We stayed in Milan’s airport the entire night, where we again contacted our American relatives who got us on new flights. We ended up with a stopover in London back to America (flight #10, but who’s counting at this point), without our suitcases. American Airlines did not refund any of these cancelled tickets, and we got our luggage delivered to our houses a week later!