Zorba time in Athens and the Greek Islands - Wooohhpaa!

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Europe » Greece » Attica » Athens
August 13th 2009
Published: September 8th 2009
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We checked in for our flight with Sleasy Jet at around 10am. After their usual delays, we were finally lined up to board the fight (i swear i’ve never been on an Easy Jet flight that is actually on time)! As we were standing in line I saw another couple that looked like our kind of people. Mid twentyish, friendly, trendy, fun (you know everything we are hahahahah!!). Before i continue I would like to explain to you a thing we were taught and so now refer to as “couple flirting”. Basically it seems couples (generally the girls do it more!) suss out other couples, how similar they are, if they look like they want to be friends etc. After weighing up whether or not the other couple makes the cut, you position yourself so you can strike up a conversation, once you are close enough....bang!!... the couple flirting begins! Anyhow so as we stood in line people shoved, pushed (very normal for a sleasy jet flight) and basically moved us around until what do you know we eventually ended up right next to the other couple in line. Little did we know (as we found out a few days later) they were analysing us and they too were trying to get next to us in line......see what i mean “couple flirting”! As I had already sussed them out I knew from seeing the passports in their hands that they were Kiwi’s! Again little did we know that these 2 Kiwi’s we just met were going to be our best buddies for the next week and hopefully for a long time to come. After giving each other 20 questions we discovered that we were going to be staying near each other in Athens and then all going to Santorini at almost the same time straight after. The flight flew by (hahah pardon the pun). We were soon in Athens on a bus headed to our accommodation with Jess and Liam. After yabbering non stop on the bus it was time to get off, but not before arranging drinks for that night!

We arrived in our hostel in Athens and were absolutely ecstatic, the room was more like a hotel, new furnishings, new private bathroom and our own tv with Sky - woo hoo score! We had a little bit of time to chill, shower and watch the Hills (YAY!!), then it was off to the hostel bar. We entered the bar and were greeted with 2 big Ouzo shots......seriously we’d been in the country less than 2 hours and the ouzo had begun already! We chased the shots with our first Greek beer “mythos”, then headed off to meet Jess and Liam for dinner. We all wandered around Syntagma Square searching for the best place for dinner. We ended up going off the beaten track a bit and found a great little restaurant with delicious food and most importantly icy cold beers served in even icier glasses. We found out later that the area we had actually stumbled upon was the region most locals go for the best authentic food and best prices - nice work team! After dinner it was time for more beers at a charming bar down the road. Already slightly pissed we headed off to the bar. The boys hurried ahead while Jess and I gazed in awe as we staggered past all the amazing, dreamy looking shops. It was then we decided that day 2 in Athens would consist of the boys going to a sports bar/pub etc while we hit the shops. We selected the best table in the bar, got comfortable, played an awesome drinking game called 21 and basically drank far too much beer. After a few hours it was off to bed to get some much needed sleep for the big day of shopping ahead.

Vince and I woke up rather late feeling a little fuzzy from all the beer. As we eased ourselves into the day Vince decided it was time to finally shave his head! For those of you that don’t know Vince has been talking about shaving his head for like the last year and he decided that now was the best time. So off we trundled to the hairdressers, and i was petrified i don’t mind saying! What if he had one of those bobbly shaped yucky skulls?? I sat at the salon with one eye open watching as the hairdresser slashed away his beautiful locks. It seemed like an eternity, but eventually Vince got up and walked towards me...............and finally I could breathe, it actually suited him - thank god!

So after the big nut cut we were once again back in Syntagma Square meeting up with Jess and Liam. The boys scooted off as fast as possible to the nearest pub and Jess and I got in serious shopping mode, prepared to spend some cash in the amazing shops we had seen the night before! Unfortunately for both of us it seems that the amazing, gorgeous shops we saw the night before may have been the result of our beer goggles. It felt like we went into every single shop in Athens but neither of us could find anything we really wanted to buy. And typical the one time the boys tell us to go shopping and spend up on ourselves we can’t find anything - Murphy’s Law or what? Sadly for the boys we met back up with them and ruined their mojo. It seemed they were having a delightful time without their girls there! Well at least 2 out of 4 of us had a successful day, the boys got in plenty of beers, watched the cricket, and Vince even managed to sneak in a spot of gift shopping for his family - urrrgggh how annoying! So after killing the boys party at the pub, we all decided to grab a quick dinner and head home for an early night. That night changed Vince’s and my life forever! We discovered what can only be crowned as the best European travellers food ever........Gyros! At first I thought they would be just like a kebab (Turkish Style), no big deal. But after one bite i realised i was in a whole new league, they were delicious. These little pita delights crammed with meat, onion, tomato, hot chips and tsiziki were filling, cheap (at only 2 euros a pop) and mouth watering - in a nutshell they are heaven for backpackers. So then it was back to the hostel to rest up for our huge sightseeing tour the next day.

Day 3, Jess and Liam headed off to Santorini, while Vince and I had our last day in Athens doing a 5 hour walking tour of all the big sights. We headed out reasonably early into the scorching heat with our tour guide Walter. We explored countless ancient ruins including, the main city Greek marketplace, the temple of Zeus, the Roman Forum, Hades temple, Haydrian’s library and obviously the great Parthenon just to name a few. And don’t be misguided by my quick summation of these places, the ruins are staggering especially when you consider exactly how old they are. For structures that date back to BC times, they are in very good condition, it really is quite mind boggling. Amongst other sites we also saw the first modern Olympic village and stadium, the Presidents house and changing of the guard (complete with guards in very traditional dress, including shoes with huge pom poms!). After a long day in the sweltering heat, we gladly went back to our air-conditioned room in the hostel to pack up and get ready for the mayhem of the Greek Islands which began the next day!

After getting our cultural fill of Athens, the next morning we were off to Santorini. We jetted across the ocean and were welcomed by a big smiling greek man named Stelio. In his van and off to Stelio’s place at Perissa beach we went. Again we were extremely pleased as our hostel booking had come up trumps again. A lovely huge air-conditioned room, with private ensuite, balcony overlooking the beach and separate single beds - much to Vince’s delight. We’ve only been married 1 year and he already loves the idea of separate beds, hmm should I be worried? That night it was off to Thira, the main town in Santorini, to meet none other than Jess and Liam! Our night was much the same as that in Athens, only this time, there was plenty more drinking to be had at the bar/club we found (see pictures below!). This bar overlooked the beautiful Cliffside town of Thira, had a nice cosy little dancefloor and was even complete with TV’s showing the AFL - so everyone was happy! After numerous rounds of sambuca shots, vodka sunrises and more beer we were all dancing up one hell of a storm. At some ridiculous hour we decided it was time to go, but not before indulging in our favourite little treat, yep another gyros! Sadly for me I may or may not have been a little ill in a nearby garden and as such feeling rather poorly I missed out on the gyros. Oh well not to worry tomorrow was a new day with plenty more gyros to be had.

The next day it was Vince’s turn to be ill, and as we later found out Jess too joined in on the fun of the after affects of far too much alcohol! Once we had got ourselves respectable we headed to the beach for some lazing and tanning. Perissa is a black sand/stone and rock beach - as are all beaches on Santorini. It was actually not so bad and kind of a novelty seeing black sand. The only downside....if you think white sand gets hot to walk on, then oh my god you should try walking on scorching black sand, it is like hot coals. After teetering our way into the water 1) because of the black burning sand and 2) because of the massive rocks in the water (which hurt too!) we finally got to sooth our bodies and blistered feet, with the cool glistening water. Later that evening Jess and Liam came to Perissa to meet us for dinner. This time we calmed ourselves down a little and went easy on the beers, mainly because Vince and I had another tour the next day, so no way in hell did we want to be hungover whilst being dragged around by a guide!

Day 3 in Santorini and Vince and I were off on a tour of an active volcano, hot springs and another nearby island. Our Williams luck was in full force this day, as we possibly had the most annoying tour group ever. A boy that literally sounded like a donkey yelping everytime he opened his mouth , a group of extremely aggravating tourists (i won’t mention the nationality but trust me they were rude, loud and pushy - got any ideas?? He he) and a stupid family in particular the father, that thought it was ok to walk on peoples towels at the beach.....and yes he walked on our towel, but don’t worry Vince gave him a very big serve! So trying to look on the bright side of things Vince and I hung to the back and enjoyed the trip none the less. The volcano wasn’t as you would expect....but still very remarkable. Unfortunately no lava...damn....but there was smoke puffing out the top and yellow sulphur forming all over the active layer of the volcano. It was then off to the hot springs, again not at all what we pictured. It was actually a hot spring in the middle of the ocean! You literally swam through lovely blue icy cold water and before you knew it, it had merged into thick muddy brownish/yellow warm water. Now i’ve never experienced hot springs before, but I can’t say that this was the most relaxing thing i’ve ever done. I think we had the idea that it would be beautiful warm water surrounded by rocks where you can just sit and enjoy the water around you (kind of like a spa bath). Well it was more like this: kind of stinky water (I’m guessing from the sulphur) and the bottom was covered in some furry sloppy stuff and very squelchy mud. So in between trying not to touch the bottom, not get your head in it and trying to breathe shallow it was definitely an experience! But hey.....the water was warm, they didn’t lie about that!

From the springs it was off to a tiny island to enjoy this time sparkling blue waters. As with many of these islands the port is very low and there are hundreds of steep steps to actually get up into the towns. So how do you get up these steps when you are tired or feeling lazy? Well in Greece you get up there on the donkey train! Hey when in Rome right? So we climbed onto our respective donkeys and got ready for the rocky ride ahead. The scary thing is, these donkeys aren’t actually linked together they just walk up when and how they choose. So when you are hanging off your donkey over the railing (which is waist level for people walking) it gets a little hair raising. Especially as you look down the cliff face and hope you don’t get too up close and personal with the rocks or the port below. We finally made it to the top, although the number of times my donkey just stopped and looked around I didn’t think i would make it. So after the slow ride we were safe and sound at the top only to realise it was almost time to go, so back down the steps we went and onto the boat - sorry little donkeys - i think they death stared us as we walked past - all that hard work for nothing!

So that brought our day tour to a close and we sailed back to the main port of Santorini and then bused back to Perissa. After our long day it was off to Jess and Liam’s place for a nice home cooked dinner thanks to Jess! We hired a little quad bike and zoomed across the island to our kiwi buddies place (when i say zoomed, i actually mean crawled.....around 30km/hour max but hey it got us from A to B). It was a lovely evening with nibbles, dinner and lots of drinks. It was also great to vent about our tour group with people who understood us! After a great evening we all turned in for the night - rather early considering our previous efforts together! The next day was island exploration on our quads. We literally drove from one end of Santorini to the other, exploring beaches, markets, winding roads, cobbled paths and gazing in awe at the blue and white stone buildings that are perched on every Cliffside. At the end of the day we made it to Oia where hundreds of people flock to daily to watch the impressive Santorini sunset. We sat at a gorgeous Cliffside bar complete with pool, sunbeds and a view to die for. We settled in for the afternoon and waited for the blazing sun to sink gradually into the horizon. After a spot of swimming, sunbaking, a few games of cards and a few beers, the moment had arrived. Cameras were snapping like the paparazzi and people were oohhing and aaahhing at the magical colours forming before them. The sun was but a slither to go when we turned on our flash expensive camera to get some final photos. All of a sudden the atmosphere was pierced by a GRRRRRRR CRUNCH CRUNCH CRUNCH sound. All eyes were off the glorious sun and they were now turned to us, as that sound was actually our camera. And what timing we do have, yes thats right at that exact moment our camera decided to crap itself and stop working - yay for us! All we can say is luckily Jess and Liam got the final shots! As the sun disappeared Oia became like a football match. The tiny cobbled streets were flooded with tourists trying to escape back to their hotels/resorts. After saying our final farewells to Jess and Liam we finally made it out when it was very dark and drove our little quad bikes home - albeit one hour later!

Come morning it was off to our next island, the party island named Ios! We arrived at the Far Out Beach Club in Ios to our bungalow for the first night. And no its not as glamourous as it sounds, by bungalow we mean wooden box with a fan (and the fan actually pushed air up not down!). So with not the best of rooms to sleep in we were ready to party and stay out all night. The beach club was right on the water with two massive areas complete with pools, numerous bars, sunbeds and music! Come 5pm these areas went off. Lady Gaga pumped out from the stereos and the pool side became party central. Vince and I jumped on the band wagon and started our heavy drinking session for the night. We swished around by the pool, chatting to randoms and enjoying the festivities. Around 9pm we headed into the main town to have some dinner and get ready for even more partying in the world famous Ios bars. After dinner we were all ready and rearing to go...........but only one slight problem. It was 11pm and as we discovered then the partying in Ios doesn’t kick off until at least 2am Hmmm.......! Unfortunately for us oldies, we couldn’t wait it out til then and lucky for us we found some other oldies (two 27 year old girls) heading back to Far Out. We all jumped in a cab and headed home, pretty sure we were the only ones in bed before midnight!

Well our early night wasn’t all that bad, as the next day we were pretty fresh and that meant a glorious day on the beach complete with tubing! You definately wouldn’t want to be hungover being hurled around behind a speedboat in the choppy salty water. We chose to do the 3rd fastest tubing “extreme hell”. Sadly for Vince he had to go on at my level as my little baby arms wouldn’t stand up to the man rides of “Mach 1” and “Mach 2 turbo”. Anyhow they weren’t wrong when they said extreme hell! Maybe it had something to do with the very strong winds and choppy water that day, but we were dragged around and catapulted into the air at all angles! My little arms were hanging on for dear life, and if it wasn’t for Vince grabbing me in the dying stages of one corner I would’ve been sent plunging into the high seas for sure. Vince did actually come off at one point, not because of the force but because of his modesty - he didn’t want to lose his DT’s and boardies and finish the tube ride nude....oh come on Vincey why not, give the spectators a thrill?!! He he After the tubing i was absolutely exhausted, it is hard work staying on those bloody things, and to make matters worse i was bleeding from my elbows and one knee! Damn dangerous sports! Well it wasn’t really, it was just my delicate skin was rubbed raw on the material of the tube, and hey presto bloody arms.

The next day we were off to Francesco’s a hostel right in the heart of the main town of Ios. Francesco’s was also one of our highly recommended hostels, beautiful air conditioned rooms overlooking the town, gorgeous pool and a great big gang of Aussie’s were staying there! Once we were at Francesco’s we had managed to readjust our body clocks somewhat. After dinner at a beautiful Thai restaurant we headed out to the hostel bar around 10pm to meet and greet all our fellow guests. After getting to know the gang, the whole bar got taken out to get the party started. This was around midnight we headed into our first bar. From there it was all downhill, the drinks flowed like a never ending waterfall, and the deals got better and better everywhere you went. 2 cocktails and a shot for 5 euros - I mean come on how can you say no!? From Circus bar to Superfly, Rehab to Orange bar and on to Sweet Irish Dreams we did some serious bar hopping and before we knew it ,it was 5am. As soon as i looked at the clock i crumbled into pieces and the fatigue set in, it was bed time for us, but not before a sneaky Gyros or 2 on the walk home!

Day 2 at Francesco’s was pretty much the same affair all over again. Thai dinner, party with hostel, and bar hop the night away! Only this time we were far more sensible and managed to be home by 3am as we had a ferry to catch the next day and hangovers and ferry’s really don’t mix! All in all Ios was great, it was hard for us oldies adjusting our body clocks to be able to start fully partying around 2am, but we managed to get there in the end! Ios really does have some amazing bars though, and our highlight would have to be Orange Bar. Orange Bar is a rock bar, so basically they don’t play all the mainstream stuff that literally every single place in Ios has on. I swear you hear the exact same set of mainstream music all night every night in Ios, except at Orange! They let you request whatever rock songs you want and pretty much play them straight away. But the icing on the cake is their shots! Maltesers, Twix, Aero Bar, Turkish Delight, Snickers and Bounty just to name a few. And yes they taste delicious. If you ever go to this bar, i highly recommend the maltesers shot, the alcohol hits you at first, but then the creamy chocolatey malty goodness whacks you in the face and its like you have literally just eaten a mouthful of maltesers, mmmmmm i want more!

After a very rough ferry ride the next day, which turned most of the passengers white as ghosts, including one girl who fainted, we made it to our next island Mykonos. Feeling pretty shattered we got to our place - Paradise Beach resort and settled in to yet another dog box style accommodation. Only this time, this dog box didn’t even have a fan and the room was only about 2 metres wide - the dog box term is starting to make sense now hey! To make matters worse we had a massive group of gross Italian men, or actually maybe boys is the correct term, staying right across from us. To put it mildy they were rude, sleezy and down right disrespectful. I have never seen males treat women so disgusting as what these guys did - even the staff on the islands (both Ios and Mykonos) are appauled at how these Italian men treat the women. One night they thought it would be a good idea to open our door and look in our room (little did they know that Vince and i were lying in bed resting there), well boy did they pick the wrong people to perve/attempt to steal/ intrude on (not sure exactly what they were doing). Vince was up quicker than a dog at a bone and roaring like a dragon into these boys faces, they soon learnt who was going to come out on top and backed away like the pathetic little boys that they really are.

So our first night in Mykonos didn’t start off to well, this was then compacted by the nasty colds that we were both starting to develop. I think they call it the “Ios cough”, apparently everyone gets sick after Ios, and sure enough Vince and I were engulfed by its wrath. So day 2 wasn’t too eventful, loads of sun and sand and attempting to recover ourselves was on the agenda. Come that night we checked out the Paradise Beach party, (which is exactly like the Ios beach club party but this time on the beach). It was pumping by 7pm with people dancing and drinking and “do it like a truck” bellowing from the speakers. For those of you who don’t know “do it like a truck” look it up and have a listen, its a fabulous party song and one of our theme songs for the Greek Islands. Anyhow being unwell we didn’t stay long, but we poked our heads in to check it out anyway.

Day 3 and it was off to a nice hotel to have some proper relaxation and recovery, and sleep in a proper room.....no more dog boxes YAY! So with much anticipation, we sped off very early to our new place, Hotel Argo. We arrived to a lovely well mannered concierge that showed us to our huge air conditioned room, with an even bigger bed to boot. Ahhhhh finally. That day and the next was much of the same, just resting trying to recover from our Ios nasties. We went in to Mykonos town and explored the quaint little streets and gorgeous shops. If I had more money to spend I would most definitely have shopped up a storm in Mykonos, the clothes are fantastic and the shoes are even better. After wandering through “Little Venice”, purchasing a gift or two and stopping off for a final Gyros we headed back to the hotel. Sadly for Vince and I, Mykonos wasn’t the party island we hoped for, but only because we were too sick to go out. One day we’ll go back with the gang and hit up the world renowned clubs, Space and Cavo! I’ve heard many great things about them, and i’m sure they would be awesome if you’re all set to party.

So come Thursday 13th August it was time to board our sleazy jet flight and head back to Milan. Oh and one last word on sleazy jet, this flight was actually early, and no shoving and pushing to get on the plane! What a way to end the trip hey, our last sleazy jet flight EVER was actually ok. Only one more flight for us now and that’s home to Brisbane.

So next on the agenda is our Italian assault - Venice, Bologna, Florence, Rome and the Amalfi Coast! Ciao Bella xx

Additional photos below
Photos: 69, Displayed: 40


Crazy jumping next to a cliffCrazy jumping next to a cliff
Crazy jumping next to a cliff

Don't know why we did it, but seemed like a good idea at the time - lucky we didn't slip backwards...eek

5th April 2011
Picture perfect Greek Islands

how lowely;-)

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