Back to my Greece story. We are still on day 2. Didn't I say that this story telling is gonna take forever?
We got on the correct bus and then took the right tram to get to our apartment. I had found an apartment on the Airbnb website when I was making accommodation arrangements for the trip. In fact I booked 4 out of the 7 accommodations on Airbnb. I first discovered Airbnb during our trip to Italy. We liked the concept of staying in real homes where there are cooking and other facilities that would add more comfort to the trip. What we really liked was we also got to meet with our local host and most of them were very helpful when assistance is needed.
Someone asked me if Airbnb is legit. There have been reports about scams and money lost in bookings. Their question was how can you double ensure that this doesn't happen to you.
My reply to that is yes, Airbnb is very legit. Maybe when it first started there had been loopholes in the system. But now, I'd say it had put in security measures for both the guests and hosts. When I wanted to make my bookings for the apartment in Athens, I was required to submit a photo ID (1st page of the my passport) as verification, something which was not required when I made my bookings for Milan and Rome in Dec 2014. I believe the same goes for the hosts. So, it's pretty secured, no worries.
But having said that, you know, crooks are every where. They get ultimate kicks by hacking systems and once they were able to do so, there is no limit to the type of vice they could do. Exercise full caution at all times before you submit your payments.
One of the features in Airbnb is that you are able to communicate with your host prior to locking your deal with them. you can ask as many questions you like about the apartment, its location, facilities that come with it - everything! Most hosts would respond to your enquiries in a few hours (depending on the time difference between you and them). And another advice I'd normally give is to choose accomodations that many people have written reviews on. If there are 100 ++ reviews, go thru them one by one. This is a form of feedback for you in order to decide if that particular place was going to be your final choice. It's a laborious task, yes I admit. Like I said earlier, research is very important when one wants to do this type of free and independent travels.
We chosed this place called Acropolis - Home4u on Airbnb. The host - Athina (name of the Greek virgin goddess of reason, intelligent activity, arts and literature....i like very much!) had been in constant communication with me via email and Viber about our arrival arrangements. I sent her a screen grab from Google Maps to confirm the place. And she was very quick with her affirmations.
|Our tram & metro stop|
|Main street near the apartment|
We got down at the right tram station. Followed the instructions Athina gave us. It was quite a challenge to read the street names as they were mostly written in Greek!! We stopped and asked folks on the street and they helped us locate the place. I recall asking an elderly guy who was just about to ride off in his Ducati about which street to take and he was really sweet to actually get more help from others who knew. Later he told me, sorry I am not from here. Awwwww....so sweet!! (Nissa went like ewwwww.....Mr Daddy, your wife ni kan sure knew how to flirt!! Jet lagged & muka basi et all!!)
|Spotted this bike on our way to the apartment|
|On the main street to the apartment there are many motor bike shops. And this vespa shop was one.|
|Coffee and pastry place for our frappe fix|
|Acropolis - Home4U on Zan Moreas 23. Apartment was on 6th floor|
Athina's place was on the main street actually. If only we saw the road signs, we could have found the place easy peasy. When we got to the apartment, Athina welcome us and showed us aroud. It was a complete unit and we very extremely happy with the place. It had a kitchen, a small bedroom, washer, sofabed for Nissa and walking distance to the Metro station and other visit sites in Athens. Bliss...what more can we ask for :)
|Athina the host was already waiting for us when we arrived.|
|The bedroom - complete with its own heater. Very warm and comfy in those cold winter nights|
|Kitchen with most of the utensils needed available. Also a washer to catch up on the laundry|
|Flat screen with cable service. But we had fun watching Greek MTV too ;)|
|Other apartments in the Zan Moreas area|
|Coffee on the balcony? Nahhh too cold for us!|
|Nissa's convertible sofa bed|
|Makan time...dua Melayu who were extra famished as we got to the apartment. I made rendang & pulut for bekal during the journey. These two finished everything in just one sitting :P|