Published: July 21st 2009July 19th 2009
Temple of Olympian Zeus
Some of the many ruins in Athens.
As always, we now join you from some random location in Europe. This time, it's back in our favorite city in all of our travels, Berlin. Last time you heard from us, we were on our way to beautiful Greece. We will now fill you in on everything in between then and now...
We arrived in Athens late at night and ended up having to take a bus into the city center. Our first impression of Greek people turned out to be quite negative. We hopped on the bus and asked the bus driver for two tickets, to which he told us that we had to buy them at a kiosk about 25 meters away. I, Rob, ran as fast as I could to grab our tickets. I quickly made the transaction, started on my way back to the bus, and alas, there it was pulling off into the distance as Sarah angrily walked towards me with her hands thrown in the air.
We ended up catching the next bus into town, but since it was so late, the metro was now closed. So, we would have to take a taxi from the bus stop to our hostel. We
Sarah Looks Confused
Although I don't blame her. I'm not sure what we were doing.
grabbed a taxi from the nearest stand and headed on our way. Unfortunately, since we were unaware of Athens' terrible reputation for crooked taxi drivers, we ended up paying WAY too much. By the time we arrived at our hostel, we were absolutely fed up with the Greeks. It was almost as if we were back in India!
We ended up sharing our 4-person dorm with an incredibly arrogant and LOUD Californian girl who nearly drove us up the wall, and an Australian guy, with whom we had no problems, despite his late and obviously drunk nights.
The next day, we were both quite excited as two of our friends, Matt and Chris, were due to arrive in Athens to spend a few days with us. After waking up, I walked towards the hostel computers to do some emails and was shocked and pleasantly surprised by the two Saskatoonians! Before saying hi to them, I ran back to the room and said "I think Matt and Chris are downstairs! Let's go!!!" So, before Sarah even had time to open her eyes, I pulled her downstairs to greet our friends. After a few quick hugs and stories, we all
Trio Debating a Swim
at a beach we stumbled across on Santorini.
headed out to do some sightseeing.
We spent the next two days seeing the major sights in Athens such as the Acropolis, the Parthenon, Roman Agora, Ancient Agora, Temple of Olympian Zeus, Hadrian's Arch, Kerameikos cemetery, the Olympic Stadium, and the National Archaeological Museum. We finished off the days with sweaty shirts, dry mouths, and hungry stomachs. This was cured by some air-conditioned rooms, cheap wine, Greek Salads and supermarket food. At night, we all hung out in our room listening to music on our free speakers and drinking the cheapest (cheap cheap cheap) wine we could find (thanks boys), or smoking hookah and playing cards in the hostel lounge.
After a couple days in Athens, we caught an early morning ferry to Santorini, Greece. Santorini is said to be one of the most beautiful Greek islands. Many people had recommended this island to us and said that it is the most beautiful place in the world. Needless to say, we were pretty excited to get there. After a 5-hour ferry ride, we finally arrived. Fortunately, Sarah and I had booked us a place to stay in advance so there was someone at the port waiting to pick
Sunset in Oia
On the island of Santorini
us up. This was not the first time on our trip that we had someone waiting with our names on a sign. It makes us feel special... almost like we're important...
Since we were now coming to an end of our trip, we had decided that we would treat ourselves with a nice apartment suite. Sarah and I had initially booked a 2-person apartment, however, upon hearing that Matt and Chris would be joining us, we luckily scored a 4-person suite. We were all so floored by our new accommodations. We had our own kitchen, computer in the room, free rental car, and to top it off... a private pool. Now, this is what backpacking is all about!
Greece was meant to be our vacation away from our vacation, and Santorini was definitely the place to start. Over the course of the next few days, we spent many hours in the pool, lying in the sun, drinking beer, exploring the island, and hanging out on the scorching hot beaches. We also experienced one of Santorini's most famous sunsets. The beaches of Santorini are covered in black sand, making it absolutely unbearable to touch. Luckily for our pasty white
The Whole Gang
Our last full day together :(
asses, there were sun beds with umbrellas that you can rent for the day. I was all over that, being the pastiest one of the bunch. I can barely spend more than 20 minutes in the sun before I turn into a lobster (remember, Britoni and Derek? Say hi to Thea for us!)
After 4 days in Santorini with Matt and Chris, we had to say our dreadful goodbyes. The guys were continuing on their adventure, and we were spending some more time on the island. After the boys left, we had intended on spending another 3 nights in Santorini. We later decided to extend it by one day since we loved it there so much. Our time was spent mostly in the pool, on the beach, and exploring the island's towns.
Four nights later, a total of eight in Santorini, we then hopped on a ferry headed to Milos, another Greek island. We were very hesitant to leave Santorini, as we had become extremely attached to our own kitchen, private pool, and free car rental. However... one must move on. Change is good, right?
We arrived in Milos with absolutely nowhere to stay, and were hoping
Working on our tans, or in my case... burn.
to find some cheap accommodation once we arrived. Fortunately, on most of the islands, when a ferry arrives there are a bunch of people at the port waving signs promoting their hotel, homes, and B&Bs. We were torn between going with the chatty man with pictures of his hotel, or with the cute old lady who spoke no English other than "air conditioning, balcony, private." I even asked her for some pictures, but she had no clue what I was looking for. We decided to play it safe by going with someone with pictures, and who could speak English. In the end, it proved to be a great choice. We had our own private room with a balcony, fridge, and a small gas cooker, all for €15 per person, per night. Not bad!
The next day, our first full day in Milos, we signed up for a boat tour that would take us around the whole island. It turned out to be one of the best experiences of our trip. Not only did we get to see the amazing rock formations on the island (sounds boring... but it really was amazing!), but we also got to swim at some
Our Private Pool
We spent many hours here swimming and drinking beer.
of the most remote beaches on the island only accessible by boat. The water that we were swimming in was the most beautiful water either of us had ever seen. It was completely clear allowing you to see right to the bottom, even when it was upwards of 20-30ft deep. Our favorite spot to swim was in this little bay called Kleftiko, which used to be a refuge spot for pirates. There were caves that we could swim through, blue waters, and stunning rock formations in the water! Thank god we had previously bought a waterproof camera to take some pictures in and around the water.
Since the boat tour was an all day event, from 9:00AM to 7:00PM, we were absolutely exhausted afterwards. So, after docking we headed back to our room for some much needed rest. We crashed really hard. It had been a long day of swimming, boating, and sunning. The life of a backpacker, eh?
The next day we rented a car to explore the island a little further. Milos has over 70 beaches, and many of them are unaccessible by public transport. We went to several beaches, and all of them were absolutely
We fed him grass.
wonderful. One of them, Firiplaka, was a long white-sand beach with crystal clear waters where we spent a lot of our time. Sarakiniko was the most unique beach on the island, and is where we spent most of our time. It was made of massive, flat, white rocks with very little sand. It almost resembled a glacier. We also went to a beach that was completely surrounded by cave walls, but didn't have much time to spend there.
After 24 hours of being in Milos, we had already decided that it was FAR better than Santorini. It had better beaches, less tourists, and cheaper accommodations. We had 5 nights there, but were definitely wishing we had more time.
Aside from exploring the island and laying on the beaches, we also celebrated my birthday... the big 2-5. Sarah treated me to some homemade ice cream (twice), a lovely dinner in the most romantic setting on the island, and breakfast in bed! Doesn't she rock?
After 5 amazing nights in Milos, we had to head back to Athens (UGH!). We would like to now mention that we absolutely hate Athens. It must be the ugliest city we have seen
Lounging on Perissa Beach
You can't touch the sand. It's black and it HURTS.
in all of Europe, possibly including India. We were not looking forward to our return whatsoever. But, since our flight to Berlin was from Athens, we had to suck it up for a few hours.
We spent a few hours in the city doing some emails and eating more Greek salads before making our way to the airport. Our flight was scheduled to leave at 9:50PM, but, since we hated the city we decided to head there at around 4:00PM. To top off our love of Athens, our flight was delayed...
As we were sitting at the gate, we noticed on the departure board that our flight status had changed to "late". Nobody from Easyjet came to explain our new scheduled time of departure, and instead, left us hanging and wondering when we would be leaving. At around 9:40PM, the status changed to our new scheduled time of departure... 12:40AM. WHAT?!? We were not happy. After several long hours of waiting, we finally boarded the plane and made our way to Berlin.
The first couple of hours in Berlin were not too pleasant due to our late flight, but we're going to leave you hanging... That'll be
Traditional Santorini Homes
This is a quintessential photo of Santorini that everyone MUST take.
in our next blog.
We're now off to enjoy some more German beer and the AMAZING Berlin culture. We shall see you all very soon! :( We're looking forward to seeing friends and family again, but we're not looking forward to the fact that our wild adventures are rapidly coming to an end...
There are more photos below