Athens & The Greek Islands
Sun, sand, sex, & sleeping all-day
I flew into Athens after a long flight from Holland to check out some of the historic Greek sites and to serve as a launching point to head to the Greek Islands. It was great to see some of the ruins Greece had around as the first tastes of history in my memory all revolved around Greece, their myths and ancient civilization. Athens was also great if you wanted to buy loads of genuine fake sunglasses. Every 40 meters street vendors displayed between 50 to 500 pairs of quality fake glasses for around 5 Euro each.. Think I ended up with 3-4 pairs to start (I now have one left from various incidences – easy come, easy go).
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So after a late night in Athens, and an early start the next day, we missed our first ferry to the Islands by about 30 seconds. The monstrous ferry was just leaving the port as we arrived. It was an expensive mistake. We found the next ferry and bought more tickets, and finally, we were on our way. The ferries in the Greek Islands are HUGE. Almost luxury ocean-liner size, nothing like what I thought a ferry should be, but it was a pleasant surprise and made for a comfortable trip. We headed for the island group ‘the Cyclades’ – but there are so many options. I may just have to come back one day to explore the rest.
The first island we visited was Mykonos. It was a little more expensive than the other islands, but we got a great deal on our accommodation in the end as we were upgraded to a new resort apartment which wasn’t yet open. It was fittingly named the ‘Perfect View Hotel’. Really great. Mykonos was nice, but I expected more from all the hype I’d heard previously.
The best part of it was Paradise Beach, and the Tropicana bar, which turned into a massive topless beach party as the sun went down. Free shots, great music, dancing on the bars. Naked people enjoying themselves everywhere. The ‘M.C.’ for the party was sporting an Elephant G-string. His err.. em.., trunk, was swung at anyone walking past, and the unlucky ones received a slap on the head or the cheek.
There was also one really great club on the island called Cavo Paradiso. It was built on a cliff, open-aired, and had a massive pool in the centre of it which filled with clothed and naked people as the night progressed. The rest of the island, I felt, was not as great as it could have been and soon we left to compare it with another.
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The next stop was Ios. Ios did serious damage to my liver but it was a total blast..!! It’s one of those places that is very hard to leave. We ended up eventually leaving when the hostel threw us out, about 3 or 4 days late. Our entire time there involved lying on the beach, afternoon naps, and heading out around midnight to drink ourselves stupid – till around 11 am. The latest I was out was sometime around 1pm. But who’s counting? The sleep-in till 9.30 pm was much needed before building up the courage to do it all again that night.
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After Ios, we made our way to the much-discussed Santorini which was, by far, the most beautiful island from the few we saw. It consisted of an active volcanic crater in the centre and a broken ring of land surrounding it with some of the most amazing cliffs with views you could only dream about. Santorini was a much more relaxed island than Mykonos or Ios and my liver really appreciated the break. We hired a car for 15 Euros (which was ridiculously in-expensive =), and I managed to see pretty much the whole island in the day. There are some amazing spots you could find on Santorini to sit and watch incredible sunsets, and there was a winery called ‘Santos Wines’ perched right on the cliff overlooking the entire island in all of its glory, it was an incredible spot. Sitting, admiring the view, tasting cheeses and great wines.. – I just couldn’t take it any more.
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My enquiry about work in the Greek islands was short-lived. The 20 Euros a day income quickly changed my mind. Sure it’s a great lifestyle, but there was no way I was going to survive even an hour on 20 Euro a day..
Even though it was probably time, I was sad to leave the Greek Islands. I had the option to take 26 hours of ferries to get to my next destination, Italy, or fly. No surprise, the plane won.