WOW…. August 17th and we begin our homeward journey tomorrow.
August 1st began at 4 am for our longest travel day yet – we arrived at our hotel in Mykonos after 12:30am after three different planes,getting off at the wrong ferry stop, and finding our hotel lady two and a half hours after we were supposed to arrive! Phew. We got lost in the maze of the town the next day – worse than the alley ways of Venice because every building is identical: white with blue trim. Seriously, every building. It’s really truly like that. The crazy intense wind was so strong we actually jogged most of the 1 km trip back to our hotel. It was the easiest run ever. We hit Tropicana that night on Paradise beach for what I now term one of a few ‘molest fests’ – where crazy Italian men (yes, I know, we are in Greece now…apparently a big vacation stop for Italians) pet our hair, try to sip from our drinks, and occasionally attempt a kiss with no preamble… no eye contact, no dancing, no talking… just walk straight up for a kiss. So crazy…ok maybe creepy. The beach party was in full swing by 7pm when we arrived and we were completely burnt out,done, and home in bed by midnight.
On August 3rd we met up with our second ‘tour’ of the trip with hopes of getting on our sailboat and sailing off to the next island in the morning. Instead, we met Andreas, who gave us the bad news that our boat had not arrived due to bad weather and the worse news that he was ‘officially on vacation’ so not too pleased to be trucking us around for the next little while. We (Karen from New York, and Nandita and Vanessa from [if you can believe it] Calgary…what are the chances??) ferried to Syros (probably the most useless and dead island of the Cyclades) for the next two nights). Day two of our ‘tour’ the boat arrives, we meet our Skipper Denny along with the other two ladies Ann and Linda from England only to discover the chances of sailing out the next day were slim to none. And sure enough, we have another full day and night to enjoy the….nothingness… of Syros. Courtney’s birthday (and Karen’s as well, crazily enough) was the next morning, and we attempted to celebrate and bring joy to the day with a cake from Ann and Linda and Barbie cards and birthday hats from the three Calgary girls. We spent the day at the beach and had yogurt ‘shots’ for birthday dessert at dinner. Definitely not the birthday celebration Courtney had envisioned, but probably not one she’ll soon forget either!
Finally, on the 6th we sailed! As Nandita would say, after we’d recovered a bit, our first day of sailing was, ‘not awesome.’ And that would be putting it gently. She, Courtney, and I pretty much thought we were going to die. Eight am we basically shot out of bed, crammed a toothbrush in our mouths, and threw on a tee shirt before realizing below deck was the worst place to be with the rocking of the boat.So… we spent the next six hours half sleeping, getting sick once or twice, and talking ourselves out of jumping off the boat. Ya… not awesome. We arrived on Naxos and basically launched ourselves to the beach to cool down and recover. That evening we hit an open air theatre to watch Mamma Mia – a movie set and filmed on a Greek island and even had a scene or two of the characters bumbling on a sailboat – like us!It was hilarious, and a nice ‘normal’ thing to do on the other side of the world.
August 7th – with three days left on our tour – we sailed again and with numerous vices to prepare ourselves for the trip did quite well. On Ios we beached, and that evening celebrated by barhopping until 4:30am for Nandita, Vanessa, and I, and the birthday girls, Courtney and Karen walked home in the full daylight to arrive home at 7:30 am. Another beach day (no sailing!) and then on the 9th we sailed to Santorini. Inside the crater the sea was calm and for about two hours we experienced the what we all expected our entire trip to be, chilling, sunning and relaxing on the sailboat – while sailing.That evening we went to Oia to see an amazing sunset for our last night together. The next morning, Nandita and Vanessa dropped us at our hotel (with a poooolll… no salt!!) and we explored the Perissa black sand beach area of Santorini. That afternoon we rented a quad…for kids apparently since we never surpassed 30 km/hr and went into Fira for the evening to find Karen and shop like mad! Beach and pool consumed most of our next 2 days – rough life, I know.
Then the island of Crete met our arrival after a late, ‘speedy cat’ ferry delivered us at 9:15 pm only to discover the last bus going to Hania (where our hotel was booked) left at 9 pm. Super! We were left with taking a 120 euro cab,which translates into about $200 CDN!!! Freak! Let’s just say it was all ‘part of the experience’. I like to put a positive spin on it and say we hired a leather seated, air conditioned Mercedes-Benz and driver. Sounds much better that way. Hania was pretty relaxed with a Venetian feel, and of course, a beach. 🙂 One day was spent hiking the 18 km Samaria Gorge, which took us about 4 hours, but the day in total was a looooong one. Leaving our hotel at 6am to catch our bus, which was, you guessed it, late. Then the hike which we completed at 12:30pm, only to discover the next boat did not depart until 3:45pm, we were being held hostage in a village, that apparently depends on forced tourism. Brutal. Boat, then bus brought us back at 7pm, a 12hour day, for a hike that basically mirrored our local landscape and vegetation. Ah well…
On our overnight ferry to Athens we met an Australian girl Jess who was killing time in Athens before her flight and had stayed at the hostel we were booked in so basically took on the role of ‘tour guide’. We arrived at 6am, after a slumber party in the ferry hallway/foyer, where everyone stakes claim to a spot on the floor by laying out their sleeping bags rather than sitting in a chair all night. Takes you back to those elementary school gymnasium sleepovers…but with snoring adults. Jess met us at the port and we dropped our bags at the hostel before wandering aimlessly for the next 4 hours until we could properly check in. It was over 40 humid degrees in the stinky, dirty, grafitti’d place and we were all tired and sweaty so we took retreat in a movie theatre, where there was AC, reclining chairs and CANDY! We watched ‘Get Smart’ with Steve Carrell, hilarious! or was it just because we were so happy to be cool and delirious, either way we had a great time. One scene really captured us all in the moment, it was a dance off between the 2 main actors and when the dance ended and the characters applauded we found ourselves doing the same. It took us a minute to realize what we were doing and all broke into laughter. Again, possibly due to the delirium.We hiked up to the Acropolis after dinner for the full moon ‘free’ night which also ended up being an eclipse. Cool. Our last day in Athens started and ended with coffee, finally some that is familiar and ‘supersize’ for us North Americans. The traditional Greek folk dance was a bit weird and the costumes closely resembled pajamas with a load of poop in them. Interesting….
Now we are off to London, where we are hosting a small reunion with people we have met along the way that live in London. We are so excited to see them again and share our travel stories since we left each other. Tuesday we fly back to Canadia (Aussie speak) and take ‘pause’ off of reality…please be gentle on us. Courtney heads straight to Vanto stand next to Laurelle on her wedding day and I stay in Calgary to jump right back into work setting up my classroom new and fresh since getting moved into the portable and preparing for another year of 10 year olds to enlighten. Looking forward to seeing everyone!!!
Kimberly and Courtney
I’ll also add this link, perhaps it will work, which chronicles our epic day in Athens with Jess – who, I might add, lives here in Adelaide! How awesome! Reunion!!!