Our Big Fat Greek Holiday!

After travelling for 2 months Greece was a nice little holiday for us to just relax however we of course started our holiday off on a roller coaster ride and ended with bang!

We flew into Athens and caught the metro from the airport to our station for our hostel and as we were trying to get off the packed train with our massive bags, Renee was all of a sudden surrounded by people and one lady was shouting at her in Greek.  In the meantime, I’ve been separated by a mass amount of people and in amongst the chaos someone who spoke English was saying check your bag, your wallet! And sure enough it had been stolen!  Some people actually tried to find the guy for us and even stopped the train but alas he was gone. So in our shock and disbelief we headed to the security point to report it and believe it or not the wallet was there and nothing was taken! An undercover policeman had caught the guy and he was there in handcuffs and after claiming the wallet a police officer started screaming at the guy and slapped the man in question and took him off to a small room – quite intense I know…. After waiting around for an hour we got told that we could now make our way to the police station to file a report. Of course the thief got a nice ride in a police car whereas we had to walk with our 20+ kgs of luggage in the heat for 25mins. We eventually got there and had to wait, yet again to file the report.  3 hours later we FINALLY made it to our hostel and could start our Greece adventure.

Our first stop was a walking tour of Athens which was quite interesting and a stop to the Acropolis and Parthenon; you know all the touristy stuff.  The Parthenon is definitely worth a visit but if you can’t afford it then just making your way to the Acropolis which is a good effort in itself, plus there are little spots that you can climb up to get a good view.  There are also some high points around the city that you can visit which will give good views of the Parthenon for those that can’t afford to get in.

Now I’m going to tell you another little story which balances out the first one.  I went in search of a post office to post all of my purchases from Turkey however none of the post offices had boxes big enough (okay, did I mention I went a bit crazy in Turkey?), so the next step was to find a box.  We came across this little bookstore and wondered in to ask for a box.  There was this little old man who didn’t speak a word of English and he was looking at us talking and we were trying to mime the word “box” in which he just looked at us amused.  So we went to walk out but he stopped us and called to his son who thankfully understood English.  He said he could help us and told the old man what we were in search of and off he went to some back room and came back with a box that was a bit too small (a lot of purchases okay).  He then came back with one that was the perfect size!  He put everything in for me and wrapped some stuff up and then he put in a t-shirt for me (no idea where it came from) and gave us some bookmarks and even gave Renee a free book!  They printed off my to and from addresses to stick on the box and even sealed the box completely for me and finished it off with a string handle.  Both the little old man and his son were so helpful to us and didn’t expect anything in return – he was just happy enough that he could help us.  He then pointed to Renee’s camera and deemed it necessary to take a photo of us in his bookstore.  Sorry for rambling on but I thought this just such a nice gesture and I wanted to share it.

So, after our day of sightseeing and good gestures we went to meet up with our Busabout group for our Greek Island adventure and then met up with some old friends from Morocco (they are stalking us FYI) and of course had a nice night out drinking and staying up until 4am when we had to be at the ferry terminal at 6am.  I can honestly say that we are pros at running on no sleep now which is probably why we are always sick come to think about it.

Our first Greek Island stop was Mykonos – yep the party Island, how fitting.  Mykonos is known for its churches, white buildings (it is mandatory that all buildings are white), quad bikes (however DO NOT ride quad bikes here as the roads are really dangerous), windmills and of course partying – expensively.  We stayed at Paradise Beach which was nice as we had the beach right at our doorstep but we did have to stay in kennels.  Not literally it’s just what we nicknamed them but it’s a wooden tent almost with two beds and a side table and no air con, you just wake up drenched in sweat – delightful I know, but it’s all we could afford (just).  Another thing to note is that Mykonos is well known for its handsy Italians which we experienced a fair bit and yet they always seemed shocked and insulted when you politely move their hands away – as if every girl should enjoy whatever they were trying.

Our next night out was a bit more tame but still kind of crazy.  We started off with some dinner by the beach and moved on to have some drinks on some lounges by the beach which is where the night got interesting.  Partying in Mykonos is pretty crazy and if you dare to go to Paradise Beach at night, be prepared to see people having sex on the beach in front of you.  I am not lying to you one bit.  We were innocently sitting down having some drinks when all of a sudden a couple have just plonked themselves on a sunbed in front of us and started going about their business – we were honestly all in disbelief.  Next thing you know another couple are occupying another sunbed and then another.  People having sex on the sunbeds in front of us wasn’t the only thing that shocked us but we also witnessed some creepy guys taking photos of people having sex and they even made themselves comfortable on the sunbeds to watch the show. So warning to those that do go off in the night to the beach, you will be watched and photographed!

After doing Mykonos justice (partying wise I mean!!!!), we made our way to our next destination – Paros.  Paros is the second largest of the Greek Cycladic Islands and is well known for its marble and octopus and it’s just a really nice island to relax in.  There is a little island off Paros which I highly recommend visiting (we didn’t have enough time unfortunately) called Piso Livadi and on this island you can see them catch octopus and then bash it around a bit before hanging it out to dry across the city.  Even if you don’t eat seafood it would still be fascinating to watch.  For our first night in Paros we headed to the Krios Lounge Restaurant located at Krios beach. We enjoyed a beautiful dinner and then made our way to the beach to watch the sunset with cocktails and wine in hand.  Afterwards, we joined in on some traditional plate smashing and a lot of Greek dancing including the Zorba which I consider to be my workout for my whole journey!  The next day we opted to go out on a boat trip for the day where we sailed around some small islands stopping every now and then for a swim and snorkel.  We then stopped off on a small beach for lunch and a very bad game of volleyball.  The captain of our boat had nicely prepared some octopus (freshly caught that day and hung up on the boat to dry out for lunch) in which we tried dipping octopus into a shot of ouzo and eating it (quite tasty) and of course then having a shot of ouzo (not so tasty).  We got back to the mainland to get a cheap dinner (Nicks Burgers are a fantastic feed and cheap too) and sat on the rocks to watch the sunset.  In all honesty the sunsets in Paros are on par to those of Santorini, so if you miss out in Santorini like we did, Paros will not disappoint.

The next stop on our Greek Island hopper was the famous Santorini!  We stayed in a town called Fira which was quite nice and has a lot of shops and restaurants.  Like with every night, we started out at a nice restaurant overlooking the ocean and watching the sunset and then moved on to the Highlander Bar which was the most amazing experience!  We met ‘mom’ who is from Scotland and has a full Scottish accent but she has been living in Greece for 30years and owns the bar! It started out as a quiet night but it soon picked up as there were so many different things to try on the menu.  For example, if you could drink 12 different cocktails or do 10 shots you got a free t-shirt and the menu itself had so many unusual drinks that you just wanted to try them all! This was a pretty crazy night and we loved every minute of it and I’m realising now that everyone probably thinks we are a bunch of alcoholics so I’m just going to run with it as we were in the Greek Islands…

The next day we had our bucket list of Santorini tour. Surprisingly we weren’t too shabby (we are pretty sure we have become immune to hangovers) however we met our group to find out one of the guys in the group had fallen over the night before and tore a ligament in his foot – not such a good ending to the night! We started the day by visiting the highest church in Santorini and then made our way to Perissa Beach.  Perissa beach or “Black Beach” is named as the “sand” is made up of black volcanic rock and the sand is literally black!  It’s a beautiful place to just relax.  We stayed at the Waves Beach Restaurant section (all along the beach there are different restaurants) and here you just made yourself comfortable on a sunbed and you literally didn’t have to move for the next few hours.  There is wifi on the beach plus you press a little button and you get sunbed table service!  That’s right people; you will be served like a queen here!  We had lunch on sunbeds here and the food was amazing, but sadly we had to move on.  Our next stop was the Minoan City of Akrotiri which is an ancient underground city that has been preserved by volcanic ash and one of the world’s most important archaeological places – kind of like the Pompeii of Greece.  I would definitely try and stop here if you have time as it’s really quite impressive.  After our history lesson for the day we made our way to the Red Beach which is named because of the red and black slabs of volcanic rock behind it.  Red Beach is a bit of a trek to get to but well worth it as the colour of the rocks with the water is just amazing!  After some more beach time we made our way to Santo Wines winery to taste the best of what Greece has to offer and then what better way to end our time in Santorini than visiting the famous Oia town.  This town is famous to watch the sunset from and you will find all the little spots that are pictured on postcards here; it’s also renowned for being a very romantic town and a lot of marriage proposals happen here at sunset (just a hint for any guys or gals out there).  We made our way to a cliff edge and had a wonderful picnic while watching the sunset (no marriage proposals if you were wondering). Unfortunately for us, both nights we were in Santorini the sunset was covered by cloud, so we didn’t really get to see it but the Paros sunsets made up for it.

We then made our way to our last stop – Ios!!  At this point I’d just like to say that we stayed at Mylopotas Beach which is quite pretty like all beaches in Greece and we stayed in a little place called Galaxy Hotel.  It’s less than a 5 min walk to the beach and gives you the quiet you need as on the beach seems like party central.  Now we fell in love with this hotel because as soon as we walked through the door we were hit with the smell of home cooked roast lamb and it’s a very nice family run hotel where they will go out of their way to help you and make sure you have everything you need.  So if you are ever in Ios, I’d definitely recommend staying here!  Anyway back onto less important things… Now we soon learnt that Ios is a party island and after hearing what our tour leader had in store for us, we were slightly scared.  Of course we caught up with our Moroccan stalkers plus an extra (you know who you are!) and all I can say is thank goodness they were there!  Our insanely epic night out started off with lining our stomachs with all you can eat pizza and then we made our way to town.  The aim of the night was to stay awake until sunrise so essentially you are drinking for 10 hours and we had a game plan that would see us last until sunrise – unfortunately we don’t stick to plans that much…  We started off in Fun Pub where they have giant Jenga and other games and here is where things went wrong (yep, in the first pub).  Our tour leader organised for everyone to get a throwback shot (so, in this instance you place your head on a comfy pillow on a bar while the bartender pours vodka and lime into your mouth) which was a whole new experience.  After Fun Pub we made our way to Flames where things kept going downhill and some face painting was acquired. Our next stop was Blue Note and then onto Orange Bar which is this amazing place that does chocolate infused shots.  You can get twix, strawberry cheesecake, tim tam, cherry ripe shots and so much more!  After this we went to Rehab, Jaeger Bar and Slammer Bar.  Slammer Bar is just crazy as you put a motorcycle helmet on and do a Tequila throwback shot and then the bartender decides what to hit you with.  I kid you not, I got hit in the head by a mallet and someone else got hit by a crate and I also saw a bowling pin being used.  So you can probably guess that we didn’t watch the sunrise but we had an amazing night all the same!  The next morning we made our way to another beach on Ios to go Kayaking.  The hour and a half bus trip was probably the worst experience in our lives and we were regretting every second of it but once we got out on the Kayaks the world was right again.  Renee and I aren’t exactly the most co-ordinated people in the world and we looked pretty spastic kayaking but we got to where we needed to be without tipping over – yay!  We stopped pretty much in the middle of nowhere and jumped out to go snorkelling around some rocks and through some caves.  We then jumped back into the kayaks – okay that sounded way too easy, I meant we struggled for 10mins to get back into the Kayaks before making our way to a secluded beach for lunch.  From here we caught a banana boat back to shore and then slowly made our way back to our beach.  Running on very little sleep and exhausted from the day we got ready for round 2 in Ios (no idea why we do this to ourselves).  We started with a nice meal and a couple of drinks before making our way to town again where we started at Fun Pub again.  Everyone was pretty shattered so it was definitely a quieter night but the highlight would have to be Circus Bar where our tour leader organised a little surprise for us!  One of the bartenders performed a fire twirling show with two bottles of alcohol behind the bar and it was definitely something you had to see!

So, by this stage our livers obviously hated us and it was probably lucky that we were on our way back to Athens!  We got back quite late as we of course got lost (what’s new) trying to find our hostel and we were too cheap to catch a taxi so we naively thought we could read a map while carrying our humongous bags.  Our last day in Greece was a Sunday so all the main shops were closed (thank god) because we still managed to spend a crap load of money each. Of course we found the only street with shops open – ergh.  Once again someone tried to buy me off  from Renee (I think I must have a ‘For Sale’ sticker on my forehead) but thankfully she said I wasn’t for sale, although if he offered enough I’m pretty sure based on Renee’s question of ‘how much’ she would have said yes!

Anyway Greece was such an amazing place to visit and I wish we had so much more time!  Next stop Croatia, where hopefully we don’t turn black and leathery!

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