In August 2002 we went to Greece for two weeks and did a bit of island hopping, here’s what happened…..
Becca and Tanya had spent six weeks on a field trip on the small Greek island of Samos, poor them. When there horrible workload was over Andy, Sarah and me went to meet them, we landed in Athens and took the bus to the port. After about ten hours in a McDonalds we finally got a boat to Santorini to meet them.
Santorini is a small volcanic Greek island. It was originally a very large volcano which blew its top a long while ago; this has left a crescent shaped island with a small volcano poking out of the middle. Since there were three geologists amongst us it was thought entirely necessary to go to the volcano, after much climbing and nose holding (sulphur), we reached the top. The boat journey took us past a small remote church where the sea water was warmed by the volcano. Everyone jumped in and swam to it, everyone but me, since, alas, I cannot swim. Oh well, someone had to take a picture or two.
There was one small museum on the island, Akrotiri, it boasted a small town which they had dug up. Becca and Sarah seemed to know all about it, I think they had read up before hand.
It is on this island that Becca and I got engaged. She had been planning it for a while so she had a ring made up ready to pop the question, I of course beat her to it and asked for her hand before she had the chance. I was, predictably, a little unprepared and had no ring, so we took the opportunity to go ring shopping in Thera. We found the perfect ring for Becca, it was very sparkly and the perfect fit, unlike mine which I wore around my ankle until we could get it resized.
It was here that Andy and Tanya decided to part company with us and they headed off to Samos.
Crete is the largest of the Greek islands, and it’s very very hot. It’s also where the Minoans set up shop some 5000 years ago. It’s home of the ancient town of Knossos, it was one of the first places to have multiple storied houses, and the palace is so complex that the town was considered a labyrinth. Toss in the fact that the Minoans worshipped the bull and you get the story of the minator!
Crete has a plethora of cafes and restaurants in its main square, every time we went to eat here the owners would tempt us in with freebies, sadly it was usually ouzo.
One thing that was very nice was all the ice cream shops around, I think we had ice cream breaks every few hours every day.
On the coast of the island is a Venetian fort, the place looked really imposing, and seige proof too.
Instead of going all the way from Crete to the mainland we figured we would stop off on a random island on the way, so we picked this one. Island hopping being so popular and all we thought we would sort out a hotel when we made land fall, BIG mistake. We arrived in the afternoon and immediately began to ring around for hotels, after trying everyone in the phone book we came to the realisation we were screwed, so it was a night spent in the port for us. Being slightly apprehensive about our luggage we shackled it together and gave Sarah an espresso, this ensured any potential thief would be scared off!
The next morning we ate in a restaurant overlooking the port, while phoning the hotels again we happened across another traveller looking for a room to stay in. We chatted for a while until we found a hotel, and as we headed off to it she started to follow us, she wanted us to join her on a camp site but we wanted to go to the hotel. When we got to the hotel we eventually got the manager to get rid of her. It was here I lost my sunglasses, dammit.
Now Milos apparently has a very nice beach, it was a bit far from the port town where we were staying so we got a taxi. The beach was, as promised, very nice, the sea was a nice clear blue, and you could see the bottom of it. It was when we left the beech that we ran in to trouble; we didn’t book a taxi to pick us up as we were told we really didn’t need to. Yet when we tried to get one we could not, and so began the long walk back to the port. Not too much of an issue I suppose, unless you have to catch a ferry soon, and so the walk became slightly more hurried. By the time it was getting dark we were knackered and suffering from a high degree of chaffage, then all of a sudden hallelujah, we managed to flag down a taxi! Got back in time to catch our ferry. And so we vowed never to go back to Milos.
When we got to Athens we met up with Andy and Tanya. One of the first ports of call was the Acropolis. It was very cool, this was one of the places that the girls hadn’t swatted up on so we thought we would get a guide to show us around. The guide had an id badge on with his photo when he became a guide, the funny thing was in his photo he was about 20 yet he was now about 80! After looking at many great things we decided to leave, just as we did the Heavens opened and a huge storm began, I guess the gods didn’t like us being there.
Needless to say, much fun was had by all, maybe we will go back again one day.
All the pictures here and many more are in the Greece section of the photo album.