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Nomad’s Travel Diary

Saturday, 09 May 2009

Location: Island Hopping, Greece

MapWell it’s official…. Greece was the best holiday we’ve ever had. On Saturday we woke up and headed to the airport with optimistically packed bags, filled with summer clothing. We hadn’t had a summer in 18 months due to snow chasing and badly timed continental moves. We were over ready to shed some of our pale skin so we had high expectations. Flying into Athens we were greeted by warm air and a long bus ride to the ports. We hadn’t planned anything so we figured we should stay by the port that night and catch whichever ferry left first in the morning for the islands. We were up at 6.30am and down at the dock eagerly boarding a Blue Star ferry to Santorini. The trip was 8 hours but as we were sitting in the open air (cheap tickets) with the sun on our face and the Ocean around us it was hardly a waste of a day. We met some interesting people on the way including an American studying in Rome and a French man who spoke not one scrap of English. With Craig (very) limited French we managed to stutter through an hour or so of conversation. The last people we met were an English couple who we stuck with until we hit the island. They had accommodation booked for their arrival so we jumped in their hotels van and caught a ride up the sheer cliffs that greeted us. Definitely not a ‘turn up and walk it’ kind of destination. We managed to negotiate a pretty good deal with one of the hotels on the Cliff top for 50 Euro a night. Much better than their advertised 100 Euro. And the views over the Caldera were utterly breathtaking. We went and watched the sunset in a bar which overlooked the Caldera Roofs and spent the night drinking Ouzo and congratulating ourselves for making to Greece. The next day we hired Quad bikes and spent the day with Katie and Tom (English couple) riding around the island. We covered all the beaches and even managed to watch some pretty amazing sunsets from Oui which is the northern tip. From here you can see the most typical Greek style houses.

The next day we booked tickets to leave to another island so we spent the afternoon hanging out by the water and sun tanning. We went back to the ferry port (this time legitimately by our own transfer) and hopped on a ferry headed to Naxos. This thankfully was only two hours away. When we arrived it was about 5 in the afternoon so we quickly hired another Quad bike and asked what the nicest section of the island was. After finding out that we needed to head east to find the best beaches we set off to Aniga Anna. About 10 minutes out of town we were stopped by the police and fined 360 Euros for not wearing helmets (something we had been assured was ok). We went back to the guy we hired the bike from and he laughed when we said we had been fined. Apparently in Greece the police are well aware that tourists are not traceable for their fines. The fine is only valid if you are in the country. To make their quotas look better they will quite often sit in areas frequented by tourists and hand out fines. We also coped a fine for ‘not having insurance’ the truth was that we couldn’t read our insurance because it was in Greek – but then they knew that. Let’s just say we didn’t pay any fines...
We ended up at the beach we decided to stay at close to sunrise. We found a little Greek kitchen and rented a room for the night above it. We then walked up the beach a little further and had THE MOST AMAZING seafood. The Calamari was indescribable and the fish was so fresh. The next day we woke up to the sound of the beach lapping right outside our room, we had left the balcony open all night but were smart enough to have slept under a mosquito net.

After having a light breakfast we took off across the island riding down dusty paths that lead through the middle of cornfields and farming communities. There were lizards of all various shapes and sizes everywhere running under the bike and up the walls. We got quite used to seeing stock tied by their horns to prevent them running out onto the road. Fences anyone?
We found beach after beach that were absolute perfection. The clearest water ever and the whitest sand possible. Add to this the fact that there was NONE around and we were in heaven. It was amazing. After a day exploring all the sites and finding perfection after perfection (yes you can tell I was in love with this island) we pointed the bike back towards Paros and the ferry dock.

We went back to Athens with heavy hearts (and sunburnt skin).

Once we reached the mainland we got our bearings and caught a bus into town. After exploring the Acropolis and Zeus’ Olympian Temple (in INSANE heat) we found ourselves on a bus heading back to the port to collect our things before hitting the airport. We didn’t have our bearings as well as we thought because lo and behold we stayed on the bus too long and had to walk for about half an hour back towards the port. By this time we were running late until we got to the airport and realised we had mucked up the flight time and we were early.

All in all we came back to London with a tan and a great memory.. But Greece is a goer and probably the best holiday I’ve ever had.