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Finished Greece post

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1 parent 868a43c commit 0d7cdf75f599c3f789e3f93a09c0c12721b71666 @lparry committed Feb 15, 2014
@@ -1,10 +1,10 @@
---
layout: post
title: "The Greek Islands and Athens"
-date: 2014-02-06 14:13
+date: 2014-02-14 18:17
tags: Greece, Samos, Ikaria, Syros, Mykonos, Athens
description:
-published: false
+published: true
dont_cache_images: true
priority: 0.5
---
@@ -15,20 +15,24 @@ and had a look around. I found a cafe with wifi and looked up some cheap hotels,
then made the long walk to one of the nicer looking ones which turned out was
even cheaper than the prices I'd seen online because it was low season.
+<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lucasthenomad/12374456543/in/set-72157640970103395" title="Samos from the water by Lucas the nomad, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2829/12374456543_50b3d0ff27_c.jpg" width="800" height="450" alt="Samos from the water"></a>
+
+<!-- more -->
+
My room with a beautiful view looking out over Samos beach and into the
Mediterranean. I was quite literally the only person in the whole hotel. They
asked me what time I wanted to have breakfast the next day, so I made myself get
up the next day at that time even though I didn't feel like it, and found they'd
laid out a small buffet for me, it was very sweet of them. The staff there were
lovely and seemed really grateful to have me staying with them.
+<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lucasthenomad/12374911863/in/set-72157640970103395" title="Buffet breakfast for one by Lucas the nomad, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3747/12374911863_569e014b39_c.jpg" width="800" height="600" alt="Buffet breakfast for one"></a>
+
The whole town of Samos felt eerily quiet. There was pretty much no one on
streets and pretty much all the shops but restaurants were empty. It made a nice
-change, feels like lazy Sunday every day, with nobody fighting to get my
-attention. At this point in the trip I'm very happy that things are quiet; I
-think that peak season in the islands would be horrible
-
-<!-- more -->
+change after Turkey, feels like lazy Sunday every day, with nobody fighting to
+get my attention. At this point in the trip I'm very happy that things are
+quiet; I think that peak season in the islands would be horrible
While in Greece I ate a lot of Mediterranean salads, which consist of a huge
proportion of raw tomatoes, which in the past I have never really liked. Any
@@ -47,33 +51,43 @@ because of the taste/texture anymore!
Out the window of my hotel I could see an abandoned old building over the other
side of the bay so I ventured over and explored it a bit. Most of the walls
(glass?) had been removed, and the place was mostly stripped out, but it didn't
-look like demolition was in any way in progress and it had a bit of an eery
+look like demolition was in any way in progress and it had a bit of an spooky
feeling to it. The rooftop would have made an awesome site for spinning some
fire at night!
+<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lucasthenomad/12374932753/in/set-72157640970103395" title="The view out my balcony by Lucas the nomad, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5550/12374932753_8a1c096f2d_c.jpg" width="800" height="601" alt="The view out my balcony"></a>
+
The domestic ferries between the Greek Islands are gigantic! They're how I'd
imagine a cruise ship would be like: multiple bars and snack cafes, seemingly
endless corridors, etc. I wandered around for a while and find the first class
-area, which they let me into even though I only have a tight-arse ticket simply
-because the boat is so empty. Win! The ferry is so large and stable that I don't
-need seasickness tablets for once, and can get some blogging work done. This
-shit takes up way more time and effort than I ever thought it would, but it'll
-pay off when I'm done and have a detailed record to look back at when I'm old
-and my memory is failing, and I like to think at least my mum enjoys reading
-them.
-
-My next island is Ikaria, an island I'd heard about from another traveller who
+area, which they let me into even though I only had a tight-arse ticket simply
+because the boat is so empty. Win!
+
+<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lucasthenomad/12374834555/in/set-72157640970103395" title="One of the Ferries. Huuuuuuge! by Lucas the nomad, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7429/12374834555_0e540ac83f_c.jpg" width="800" height="450" alt="One of the Ferries. Huuuuuuge!"></a>
+
+The ferry is so large and stable that I don't need seasickness tablets for once,
+and can get some blogging work done. This shit takes up way more time and effort
+than I ever thought it would, but it'll pay off when I'm done and have a
+detailed record to look back at when I'm old and my memory is failing, and I
+like to think at least my mum enjoys reading them.
+
+My next island was Ikaria, an island I'd heard about from another traveller who
told me how they had some of [the longest lifespans in the
world](http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=103744881) because
everyone was super laid back (I was told that shops would "close" but leave the
doors open and unattended, so you could leave the money for your purchase on the
counter if you needed something).
+<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lucasthenomad/12509720573/in/set-72157640970103395" title="First sight of Ikaria by Lucas the nomad, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7391/12509720573_24c709c159_c.jpg" width="800" height="450" alt="First sight of Ikaria"></a>
+
They're also famed for having naturally radioactive radon hot springs around the
island. I went for a walk to Therma, a little town over the hill from where I
was staying to have a look where they have some springs diverted into buildings
-for a more western spring experience, but I decide it's not for me. The walk up
-over the hill is very scenic, passing a lot of beautiful cliffy terrain.
+for a more western style hot spring experience, but I decide it's not for me.
+The walk up over the hill is very scenic, passing a lot of beautiful cliffy
+terrain.
+
+<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lucasthenomad/12509645095/in/set-72157640970103395" title="Ikaria hillside by Lucas the nomad, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7372/12509645095_c500edb35d_c.jpg" width="800" height="600" alt="Ikaria hillside"></a>
I ate dinner most nights at a nice little restaurant that was on the flat level
between two of the many staircases that weave up the hills of the town.
@@ -82,22 +96,22 @@ There were also lots of very curious stray cats and kittens investigating
around, one little kitten even tried to jump up on my table but slipped right
back off again.
+<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lucasthenomad/12509731443/in/set-72157640970103395" title="Nice little restaturant I frequented, half way down a multi-segment flight of stairs by Lucas the nomad, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3709/12509731443_f90f102f08_c.jpg" width="600" height="800" alt="Nice little restaturant I frequented, half way down a multi-segment flight of stairs"></a>
+
I ended up going to one of the more traditional radioactive hot springs where
the water comes out of the ground right near the ocean at about 50-60ºC (ie. way
too hot to be comfortable) but it quickly mixes with the sea water giving you a
lovely gradient of temperatures to bath in.
+<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lucasthenomad/12510219904/in/set-72157640970103395" title="This whole area sheltered in the rocks had warm water of varying temperatures by Lucas the nomad, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5498/12510219904_56d50745f3_c.jpg" width="800" height="600" alt="This whole area sheltered in the rocks had warm water of varying temperatures"></a>
+
The rocks are all stained a rusty brown colour form the radon near the hottest
parts, and then out further as the water cools enough for things to grow the
rocks are covered in green moss or algae. I lazed about in them for about half
an hour, figuring with the life expectancy statistics for the island the
radiation can't be _that_ bad for you
-
-
-
-
-
+<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lucasthenomad/12509891903/in/set-72157640970103395" title="Further out where the water was a little cooler it encouraged green moss (algae?) to grow by Lucas the nomad, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7377/12509891903_cc0a5828ee_c.jpg" width="600" height="800" alt="Further out where the water was a little cooler it encouraged green moss (algae?) to grow"></a>
The next island I headed to was Syros, the island that the ferries to
practically everywhere seem to pass through. My evening ferry was quite a bit
@@ -112,19 +126,21 @@ views looking out ~270º around the island; up the hill to the cathedrals and
out to the bay and the Mediterranean. There was even a little shady park across
the road to hang out in and read or spin poi!
+<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lucasthenomad/12510302884/in/set-72157640970103395" title="My little private courtyard outside my room by Lucas the nomad, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3729/12510302884_3c30531ba4_c.jpg" width="800" height="601" alt="My little private courtyard outside my room"></a>
+
I really liked Syros, it felt a lot more like an island that people live on year
round. There still weren't many tourists but the place didn't feel completely
deserted. Food prices were a little more expensive, but the food itself was of
very good quality.
-I didn't actually do much touristy stuff to write about on Syros, I mostly just
+I didn't actually do any touristy stuff to write about on Syros, I mostly just
spent my time relaxing, reading and spinning poi and it was a great place for
it.
Next I got a fast ferry from Syros to Mykonos, an island that I had high hopes for from
others high recommendations. That fast ferry lived up to its name, pulling into
the port and turning around it came in with such speed it looked like it was
-going to do a big fishtale or something.
+going to do a big fishtale into the dock or something.
I wandered around the ferry a bit, this one being the most crowded one I'd been
on yet, exploring outside a bit and then found door leading into what turned out
@@ -135,21 +151,25 @@ class section that you needed to present your ticket to get into if you came via
the normal entrance. I kept a low profile and relaxed in spacious glory, not
like those schmucks in economy :P Intentionally getting lost for the win!
+<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lucasthenomad/12510133835/in/set-72157640970103395" title="People about to charge off the ferry onto Mykonos by Lucas the nomad, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7390/12510133835_15ebca351b_c.jpg" width="800" height="600" alt="People about to charge off the ferry onto Mykonos"></a>
+
Mykonos was actually a bit of a disappointment. The restaurants are all really
overpriced, the end of shoulder season meant that there weren't many tourists
around (which after a few weeks of not really meeting _anyone_ it gets pretty
lonely and I'd decided maybe having _some_ tourists would be a good thing), and
-there didn't seem to be anywhere you could go and just hang out. There seemed to be
-no public spaces, parks or even benches, all the beaches are lined by restaurant
-that want to sell you overpriced drinks or are covered in sun lounges that you
-have to pay for the privilege of sitting on. It seems like somewhere you
-come to in the high season with a bunch of rich friends to get drunk and party
-every night, and then sloth around on overpriced sun lounges to nurse your
+there didn't seem to be anywhere you could go and just hang out. There seemed to
+be no public spaces, parks or even benches, all the beaches are lined by
+restaurant that want to sell you overpriced drinks or are covered in sun lounges
+that you have to pay for the privilege of sitting on. It seems like somewhere
+you come to in the high season with a bunch of rich friends to get drunk and
+party every night, and then sloth around on overpriced sun lounges to nurse your
hangover.
-I actually ended up living off food from little Gyros shops while I was here because I
-could get a gyros, a Greek salad and a drink there for less than just the salad at
-a real restaurant.
+<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lucasthenomad/12510160085/in/set-72157640970103395" title="Windmills near where I was staying by Lucas the nomad, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7330/12510160085_e8b3704427_c.jpg" width="800" height="450" alt="Windmills near where I was staying"></a>
+
+I actually ended up living off food from little gyros shops while I was here
+because I could get a gyros, a Greek salad and a drink there for less than just
+the salad at a real restaurant.
Towards the end of my time there even the weather turned ugly, most days not
reaching 16ºC and being extremely windy; I liked to think of it as helpfully
@@ -160,17 +180,23 @@ devoid of human life and didn't really live up to its name at all. Back home it
would just be called "generic dull beach without any surf and lots of ugly
sun lounges"
+<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lucasthenomad/12510223195/in/set-72157640970103395" title="Sun beds by Lucas the nomad, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7440/12510223195_1416b8deff_c.jpg" width="800" height="600" alt="Sun beds at Paradise Beach"></a>
+
Final stop in Greece was in the capital, Athens. I had low expectations for
Athens because I'd had a few friends talk the place right down, but I actually
really enjoyed it.
+<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lucasthenomad/12521796675/in/set-72157640970103395" title="Athens by Lucas the nomad, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2853/12521796675_0ba9b8179b_c.jpg" width="800" height="221" alt="Athens"></a>
+
I stayed in a nice sociable hotel and went on a free walking tour on my first
day and met a number of really nice people and saw many of the sights around
Athens. We had a very charismatic guide, George, who claimed to be an
archaeologist and taught us how to identify different column types and where
fires had occurred. It was all good stuff and we covered a good number of the
ruins around the city.
+<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lucasthenomad/12510842254/in/set-72157640970103395" title="Our guide, he claims he's an archeologist, I have my doubts but he was a good guide none the less by Lucas the nomad, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3714/12510842254_c72ac0e297_c.jpg" width="601" height="800" alt="Our guide, he claims he's an archeologist, I have my doubts but he was a good guide none the less"></a>
+
I met up again later with a pretty girl from the tour for some drinks and
trivia, which we were appalling at. In trivia I generally rely on the other
people in the team because I just don't seem to retain the sort of information
@@ -183,14 +209,22 @@ queues to actually get in, and large tour groups everywhere; but the rest of the
Acropolis was actually relatively uncrowded and very pleasant to just stop and
appreciate it all.
+<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lucasthenomad/12521887083/in/set-72157640970103395" title="Parthenon by Lucas the nomad, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7415/12521887083_a68958c26a_c.jpg" width="800" height="601" alt="Parthenon"></a>
+
I visited the Agora which has a very well preserved temple that is almost
entirely still standing,
+<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lucasthenomad/12510502765/in/set-72157640970103395" title="Athens by Lucas the nomad, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7398/12510502765_794aef0d23_c.jpg" width="800" height="601" alt="Temple of Hephaestus in the sea of Athens"></a>
+
And a reconstruction of one of the long market buildings (using a lot of new
materials) which was *huge*. 50 Columns, 4M tall give a very imposing effect.
Very impressive to think these structures were there so far back in the past.
+<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lucasthenomad/12521971605/in/set-72157640970103395" title="Reconstructed Agora by Lucas the nomad, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3734/12521971605_283c773128_c.jpg" width="800" height="601" alt="Reconstructed Agora"></a>
+
All up I quite enjoyed my time in Greece, especially Athens, but I cant help but
wonder what the islands would have been like maybe just a few weeks earlier, and
travelling with some friends. The islands don't really seem solo backpacker
friendly, there's a distinct lack of hostels on them.
+
+<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lucasthenomad/12521860725/in/set-72157640970103395" title="Me in front of Athens by Lucas the nomad, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2819/12521860725_4fdf314622_c.jpg" width="800" height="601" alt="Me in front of Athens"></a>

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