A Travellerspoint blog

Greece

A Greek Tragedy

sunny 29 °C
View Home is where the heart is on adamandmeg's travel map.

Leaving Turkey we were both a bit sad as we reflected on our time there. We had met a bunch of good people and had enjoyed a wonderful 6 months with our buddies in our Istanbul flat.

First stop on our trans Grecian odessy was a small Island off the coast of Turkey called Samos.

Samos was ok as far as Greek Islands go, but, having tasted the unspoiled nature of Samothraki, on the Northern Turkish border, it proved a little disappointing. So we stayed a night in a cheap (50 Euro – cheap hey?) and decided to make tracks. The beach was ok – rocky bottom so the water was crystal clear.

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Samos did have a couple of small towns that really have retain some of the old world charm.

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Beach at Samos

Before leaving Samos we were advised (By the guy who arranged our Cheap (50 Euro) hotel that we could indeed travel Samos – Mikonos – Naxos, in one day. This proved to be almost right... almost – except for the bit about being able to get to Naxos from Mikonos on the same day.

We arrived in Mikonos at “the new port” and were immediately advised that the ferry to Naxos leaves from the “Old port”... some 30 mins walk away. Having only 10 minutes to get there we set off at a trot. About 9 and a half minutes after we left the new port area, we turned to see a large super fast ferry leaving... it turns out, that it was headed to Naxos and we had in fact missed it... by minutes and about half a km.

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So we headed into Mikonos town – which although being accurately described as beautiful, scenic, picturesque – had a serious lack of Ethnic Charm. It seems that every inch of Mikonos township has been bought, rented, traded or otherwise owner occupied by England... with more money than manners.

Naxos, however, was a real treat. We quickly left the main port area and found a campsite 200m walk from the beach – and when I say beach (Australians) I actually mean beach – we found one... a real one. Naxos was a compromise between the unspoilt nature of Samothraki and the heart throbbing, made up, heavily accented, new money Mikonos. And it was affordable. We camped for 13 Euro a day and spent most of our time on the beach. We did have a small run in with the guy that rented us 2 bikes which turned out to be somewhat less than mechanically sound, but overall Naxos gets the big thumbs up!

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Athens

Following our time on Naxos we headed up to Athens for the last few days in Greece.
Athens is amazing. It has a bit of a Melbourne feel to it and is in no way as intimidating as we were expecting. It is quite possible to walk around the major sites in a couple of days.

Our last hours in Greece were spent at Athens airport – we had decided to get to the airport early to avoid the need to pay for the final night accommodation. This proved to be quite an adventure. We set up camp pretty much immediately by rolling out our mattresses and getting into our sleeping bags – this takes us about 30 seconds. Shortly afterwards, we noticed that there was a growing number of travel buddies starting to do the same thing. Not really thinking anything of it, we got some quick ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZs. At about 5 am we were woken up by a rude security manager telling everyone that they were not allowed to sleep and that they were to get up immediately. Looking around we had started a sleep in that John and Yoko would have appreciated. The upstairs area that we had found now looked like a refugee camp, with travellers from all over the world rugged up like homeless people waiting for the soup kitchen. Appreciating the early wake up call we packed up our gear (30seconds) and headed off to check in.

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The flight from Athens was uneventful and soon we were in Malaga.

Posted by adamandmeg 17:14 Archived in Greece Comments (0)

Greek Wine and a three day growth

Samothrakı Island

sunny 30 °C
View Turkey for two thanks & Another Greek Salad Please.. and another Litre of Greek Wine on adamandmeg's travel map.

We are in our last hours of the Istanbul dream and feeling a little subdued, not sad exactly, just subdued. It has been a fantastic six months living here and we honestly feel that we have made the most of it. We have been to three soccer games, hit all the big tourist sites, seen live gigs, been drunk at all the hotspots, been lost, been found, been happy, been sad, been frustrated, felt lucky . . . . all the usual stuff. We have had visits from my Czech mate Martin, Jen and Steve, Adam's folks, Dave and Ruth and my folks. It was an absolute pleasure to show them our city - we really feel at home here. We have said goodbye to all of our students which was easy for some of them ("No, you don't look like a television!") but hard for others. Generally, our students are the ones who have enlightened us on the mysterious ways of Turkey and given us an insight into life here. I hope that one day we will be able to return the favour in Australia and I hope we have given them a little more than just English grammar, which I am crap at by the way.

So, to celebrate the end of our English teaching careers (for a while at least) and to renew our visas. . . .again . . . we went back to Greece. The plan was to catch the bus to Alexandropolis then catch the ferry to Samothraki for some serious trekking, camping and beach time. Our housemates decided to come with us so we had a party of four ready for a bit of an adventure. It is very hard to find out information about Samothraki. It is a lesser known Greek Island with not much but open space and goats. Perfect. . . . .

The journey started with a seven hour bus trip to Alexandropolis. It all went smoothly except that Jess wore socks and sandals at the border crossing - we were lucky to get through! After getting dropped off at three in the morning, we headed to the ferry terminal to do some serious sleeping on park benches. It was the beginning and definitely not the end of our days as hobos. After napping and wandering we boarded the ferry at 10am for the two hour trip to Samothraki. After arriving in the port city of Kamiaritissa we ate a much anticipated pork souvlaki, drank the first of many beers and headed to Hora which is the main town on the Island. It was a relatively easy 6km hike through beautiful hot dry countryside best for growing olives and farming goats. Hora was a beautiful little sleepy town with classic blue and white houses. There were no tourists and we felt really special. We ended up rolling out the sleeping bags in a town square of sorts to sleep - of course with ocean views!!

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The angel at Kamarıotıssa

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Hora

The next day we walked to the town of Therma. It was about 14km but an easy downhill / flat walk with some fantastic sights along the way. The first was the Greek ruins at Paleopolis. Really amazing ruins that we shared with no-one. It is at this site that 'The Winged Nike' was found and is now displayed in the Louvre in Paris. We wandered around undisturbed and exactly at our leisure. The view of the ruins, the ocean and the mountains was really spectacular and I'm sure the photos will not do it justice. After this we headed along the coast surrounded by flowers, buzzy insects, lizards and miles and miles of sky and ocean. On the way to our campsite we had a swim in the clear Aegean Sea and soaked up the peace and quiet. Such a contrast to Istanbul with its beeping horns and people everywhere. The campsite near Therma was perfect. . . .free, empty and right on the water. Herds of sheep and goats grazed in there every other day which was very rustic - I loved it!! And so I am up to the Mountain Assault . . . . .

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On the road to Therma

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Paleopolıs


Adam and I wanted to climb Mount Fegari which, for the record, is bloody enormous. We thought we would do it in one day which apparently is quite an original approach. Unfortunately for us the information that we had said it was a four hour walk. It is a 1600m peak and we were starting at sea level which should have rung alram bells but anyway . . . . Josh and Jess decided to come as well. After a breakfast of champions (BLTs without the the L) we set out from our campsite at 10am and began the 7km slog uphill. And what a slog it was!! I really enjoyed the walk but it was extremely tough - the views were worth it though.

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Images from Mt Fegarı

A couple of quıck vıdeos to gıve you some ıdea of how bloody bıg thıs Mountaın ıs.

The campsıte at Therma was actually a Munıcıapalıty Campsıte that was closed for the shoulder season - so they just open the gate and let you camp for free. It ıs great. It even had runnıng showers and toılets. Rıght on the beach.

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From Therma we hıked out to Fonıas - a great waterfall just down the road. It was stınkıng hot so we had a swım ın the freezıng cold water and started the hıke back. No sooner had we gıven up on the ıdea of a lıft when a camıra full of gırls stopped and pıcked us up. Josh and I lıked ıt.

After Therma we hıtche dınto Kamarıotıssa - Kıds do not try thıs at home - we are all fully grown responsıble adults - just lackıng some approprıate supervısıon.

From Kamarıotıssa we bade a brıef farewell to Josh and Jess who were easyrıdıng for a couple of days on pee wee 50s they had rented from a dodgy bloke at the port. Megs and I hıtched a rıde wıth a Greek Cheese Maker - fancy that - and were dropped off ın the mıddle of an olıve grove... somewhere ınland on the ısland.

We made our way to Lakkoma beach for sunset and pork fest 2008.

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A note here on pork fest 2008 - thıs ıs not an R rated story - rather an overındulgence ın Gods Meat. Thats rıght - those of you who know Megs and I know that we have healthy appetıtes and we lıke pork all of ıt... bacon... ham.. and on thıs partıcular occasıon... pork sausages. Wıth no fıdge and no way of keepıng them fresh we had to eat our entıre supply (8) of delıcıous pork sausages.

The mornıng brought wıth ıt a low moon on the horızon...

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and a walk wıth the locals ınto town...

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Then a hıke out to Pacchıa Amos beach where we bumped ınto Peter Fonda and Dennıs Hopper waıtıng for us. Megs and I borrowed one of the Harleys and dınked back to town to get our packs... slow goıng.

After a pleasant nıght out on the beach Megs and I agaın hıtched back to Kamarıotıssa and had our fınal lunch on the ısland wıth Josh and Jess before headıng back to Istanbul.
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Samothrakı ıs an untouched ısland wıth a charm unlıke anyplace we have seen ın Europe.

Posted by adamandmeg 09:24 Archived in Greece Comments (1)

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