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IF YOU GO TO GREECE

The Sounion archaeological site is open daily from 9 a.m. to sunset. There is an admission charge of 1,000 drachmas, about $3.50.

It is possible to reach Sounion via local bus from Athens, a trip of about two hours. To avoid waiting for the return bus in the dark, we chose to go with G.O. (Greek Organized) Tours, which charges about $25 for a bus or van that leaves Athens at about 3 p.m., returning about 6. Its phone number in Athens is 921-9555.

For our winter holiday we traveled with Tourlite, which offers five-night packages that include air fare plus hotel for $699. Additional nights can be added. Its phone is (800) 272-7600. If you can, upgrade to the Grande Bretagne Hotel. This grande dame has been offering superb hospitality for well over 100 years. It has everything: superb location at the edge of the Plaka, old-fashioned elegance, great restaurant -- the GB Corner -- with a fantastic Sunday lunch buffet, the Winter Garden for afternoon English tea, and spacious rooms. To make your own reservations at the Grande Bretagne, call 011-30-1-333-000. Its representative in the United States is Leading Hotels of the World, (800) 223-6800.

As for tavernas, ask a dozen Athenians to name their favorite one and you will get 50 suggestions (at least). We discovered that every neighborhood has at least one or two tavernas that are favorites for one reason or another. Suggestions include: O Platanos,4 Diogenous in the Plaka area (for Greek home cooking and retsina wine), Ta Tria Tetarta, 25 Oikonomou (for atmosphere and their selection of mezedes, Greek appetizers), and "26" on Makriyanni close to the Acropolis (for Greek-style pizza, low prices and homey atmosphere).

For elegant dining, try the GB Corner in the Grande Bretagne Hotel, as well as English-style afternoon tea complete with scones.

For unusual dining, there's Ancient Taste, 22 Kodratou, where you can feast on dishes that ancient Athenians enjoyed, including slices of pork stuffed with plums and swordfish in berry sauce.

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