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March 26th 2012
Published: March 26th 2012
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A very smart person once said that what matter the most while traveling is the people you meet, not the things you see.

To describe Greece is to evoke enhancing images of azure blue seas, magnificent beaches with crystal clear waters, mountains right with the scent of thyme, picturesque villages and the incomparable, magnificent islands.

The question was: how to have a taste of Greece in only two weeks? We could have spent all this time in the Cyclades, but I told myself I will come back and give it a sufficient amount of time. We chose to visit Corfu, Athens, Thessaloniki, Crete and Rhodes.

First stop Corfu. Happy to be out the boat. We have been talking about visiting this country for so long. We are waiting for the bus to pick us up and bring us to the famous Pink Palace. Game plan: do something we never allowed ourselves in the last four years, take it easy. The bus picks us up finally, three hours late. You know how things are, sun + island = relax. We are welcome by the owner and some ouzo.

The Pink Palace the guide:

The biggest hostel I ever been in. It is split in two. You have most of the rooms and a bar up the hill and the restaurant, night club, some rooms and a bar by the beach, all of it, pink.

Typical day at the palace:

Wake up before 10 for the breakfast at the beach. Sign up in one of the activities. If it is your first day, you will probably do the Booze cruise. You are coming back from a full day of cliff jumping, heavy drinking at sea at around 6pm. You catch up a beer or two at the beach bar because it is the happy hour. You then run up the hill to play beer pong because it is happy hour up there. After a couple games, you are sliding down the hill to the restaurant/night club building where guest what, you will enjoy again the happy hour. After having some good food and wine, you will party till the early hours at the nightclub.

It is pointless to say I learned nothing about Greece during my time on the Island. I will however, always remember it. I met some of the funniest people I met in the last four years over there. We spent most of our time with two girls from Munich, a guy from San Francisco and four lads from... Montreal. I love meeting people from home abroad. I couldn't have asked for a better time off from the intense backpacking life. Thanks Pec, Simon, Kleb, Simon, Joshep, Sylvia and Gigi for being great people.

Off we are and the hard way. I know what is ahead of us. We just got in the bus which will bring us to Athens. We are getting on a boat. It is great to be surrounded by people who are not speaking English. I am staring at the window looking at the island getting smaller and smaller. I can't help myself, but think of what the others are doing at the moment. It is good to be alone again, but I will miss being with the lads.

Let's talk about this crazy two days. I love Greece and I have many good things to say about this beautiful country, but man I hated the transport. To make a long story short, we spent 12 hours trying to sleep in the bus to Athens. We then arrived at 4am in the middle of nowhere where we had to wait for the first bus to the metro and wait for the first metro to Piraeus where we had to wait for the first shop to open to leave our luggage and collected our tickets. After a good day wandering in the city, and meeting an Irish couple in their honeymoon, we hopped on a boat packed like crazy. We finally arrived in Crete, where our host pick us up and let us sleep a couple hours.

Leda made me understand so many things. I had the feeling I shouldn't talked about politics, but I wanted to know how she felt about the chaos in the country. I felt sad and angry at the same time. I hate the way she spoke of the past and sad of the future she was expecting. She was generous and made us discover the Greek cuisine and let us walked her dog at night around Heraklion. We visited some of the beautiful ancient site and enjoy the sun by the sea on an empty beach.

72 hours later, we found ourselves back in Ahtens walking to and from one ancient site to the other. We visited most of the touristic site in two days. I felt like we were back at the beginning of our trip where we wanted to do everything. We used the last day to sit down in Plaka in some of the coffee where we had a brief conversation with an orthodox priest and spoke with an Irish lady who was working in a bar near Monastiraki and who chose to live there to spend time in the stunning New Pantheon Museum and write a book.

The last stop and my favorite one was Rhodes island. After an awful boat ride, we arrived in Rhodes town early enough to grab a breakfast and deal with the boat we had to take to Turkey three days later before meeting with our host. Rhodes is a charming small town. It has amazing Ottoman remains and our host were good enough to tell us great stories about the past of the island.



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