Apps That Work- One of the best learning language apps that we have found is Duolingo. Created by a professor and a student at Carnegie Mellon University, it has gathered quite a following. We have found it to be excellent (and we just learned that their Greek course will be out in May, woo hoo!). We love the simplicity and how it moves you right along. So get cracking on your Spanish or your French or your Polish....
Skip The Line-A Look at The Inside- Getting out of the lines that form at the Acropolis and Agora in Athens Greece. I cannot say how many times I have walked up the magnificent marble steps of the Acropolis, but even if I went every day of an entire lifetime, it would not be enough. I always have to remind myself that what one can see today is 'only' the bare bones. The columns were painted with mineral based paints and the roof was constructed with wood, covered in ceramic tile. Not to mention the magnificent 40 foot tall golden statue of Athena, shining in the afternoon sun. She could be seen from the port miles away by the returning ships coming back from trade or war excursions. You might not know that there are several other monuments on the sacred rock including the Porch of the Caryatids and the Temple to Athena Nike, a small temple dedicated to Athena the Victor (Nike means victory-or the winner).
When cruise ships are docked at port the entrance to the Acropolis gets jammed. So here is how you can beat the lines. Hours are from 8 am to 8 pm -7 days a week. If you get there at 8 a.m.,there will be less people. But anymore the cruise lines are offering early start times so lines can even form early. If you are going anytime during the summer months when it can get hot-and this can include May and September, forget going anytime after 10 a.m. There is only one place to sit out of the sun on the Acropolis (it is one of the highest points of the city), so it can get blazing hot. As a matter of fact they close down the site when the temperature gets too high.
My insider time to get there is 5:30-6 p.m. You will have 2 to 2.5 hours and you will have very few people there. The cruise ships have left or everyone is back on board enjoying the buffet. If you really want to make it super easy-get your ticket from the day before-it is good for 4 days. If you get the extended ticket you can use it for 9 other sites (including the Agora) right around the area, which are always less crowded. If you bring a college student I.D. then you can get a reduced-price ticket. If you bring passports for verification, anyone under 18 years old gets in free.
Of course you can always go with us and we'll take care of everything. See our Greece trip!
Skip The Line-A Look at The Inside- On a recent trip to Italy we were in Rome with guests, in cold and rainy weather. We did not care, as we were off to see the Vatican Museums and the Sistine Chapel. Our guests had no idea what was in store for them as we passed a line several blocks long of around 500 people waiting in their rain ponchos. At each checkpoint our guests hesitated as I kept smiling. We stopped at a separate entrance, for people that had a reservation, and were admitted with no waiting.
I cannot believe that people do not take some time before they leave find out how to skip the line. But of course it is hard. There are so many con games on-line and travel agencies that look like the real deal when you go to book your skip-the-line tickets. The Vatican runs it's own site. You can book your tickets starting two months before your desired visit. Put it on your calendar and start booking right when the tickets open up. Choose between a guided or self guided tour. Remember first thing in the morning or two hours before they close are the best times that I have seen. It is always crowded, but these are the periods when you have less people. Here it is-the official site to book your tickets- Official Vatican Museum Site
Of course if you want you can always go with us-we do all the work for you! Italy with the Olive Odysseys.
The Olive Odysseys
46 Shopping Plaza
Drive # 107
Chagring Falls, Ohio