It feels like a lifetime ago! Before we had even left New Zealand, our friend Alex mentioned that he wanted to plan a sailing trip for the European summer, because he had such a great time on a similar trip in Croatia a couple of years ago. Boy and I thought that would be a cool thing to do, and then set off for Nepal not thinking too much of it. A few months after arriving in England, Alex message us saying (in essence) ‘Still keen to go sailing?’ Fast-forward to the start of July, and Boy and I are on a flight to Athens! Although this part is pretty long, it really only skirts over everything I did. As ever, this post is only going to skirt over the trip.
We met with everyone in Athens on Friday evening, and caught up over dinner before taking an easy half-hour walk to the top of Agios Georgios to catch the sunset and enjoy a beautiful view of Athens city. It is a very busy spot but it’s worth the walk and the hustle-bustle at the top because the view is beautiful.
The next seven days (Saturday to Saturday) were spent aboard a yacht travelling through the Cyclades Islands in the Aegean Sea. There were two trips operating at the same time: ours, of which we were lucky enough to be able to arrange a yacht (a Bavarian 49) between the nine of us, and the other Sail in Greece boat, of which, I think, they had 24 aboard (plus crew!!). We spent two nights in each port, with the exception of one night in Santorini.
The journey began on Saturday morning with a panicked sprint at the Athens Ferry Port: the early morning traffic interrupted our journey and it wasn't the calm departure we had hoped for - nevertheless we made it aboard and set off for Mykonos. Saturday afternoon we arrived at the port in Mykonos, and stayed there for two nights. We spent time on Sunday looking around the main town looking around at shops and then convinced our skipper to take us out on the water! We moored off the coast at a beach and spent some time swimming around. Monday morning we travelled to Paros. We were told that Paros was quieter than the other islands and I think we enjoyed it because we were a pretty low-key group of people. We were on Paros for two nights. On Tuesday, we hired buggies and quad bikes and spent the day exploring the island. It was so much fun! It was quite a small island so we were able to get to the summit in a couple of hours, with a few pit stops on the way up.
Wednesday morning we were "on the road" again. First, we had a short stop in Naxos to stretch our legs and look around at the historic sites. We were on the water again soon after headed for Ios to spend another two nights. I found Ios a bit of a contradiction: down at the port, it was very quiet and there were few shops but our guide insisted that Ios had the biggest nightlife in the Cyclades. I was doubtful, until we went into town that (Wednesday) night, and it was so busy! On Thursday we went tubing (or, as it's known in New Zealand, biscuiting) around the bay which is always lots of fun, and that evening we went into town for dinner. Friday morning we headed to Santorini for our final night on board. Santorini was a bit funny because there wasn't space for our boat at the port, so we had to stay out in the bay, while moored to the other Sail in Greece boat, which was moored to a buoy out in the water! Once we had found ourselves ashore, we caught a bus from the main town to a small village called Oia - the famed sunset Instagram spot. We weren't able to locate the blue-domed rooftops, but we were still able to enjoy a splendid sunset on our last night on the boat.
The next day (Saturday morning), we caught the ferry back from Santorini to Athens. KJ had actually decided to stay on in Santorini for a few more nights, Vicky had to head back to the UK, Amanda and Lance were waiting to fly to Poland on Sunday afternoon. Sunday morning, the remaining five of us hired a car and headed north into the mountain town of Delphi. We explored the ancient ruins and the Temple of Athena.
Spending a week with my friends on a yacht sailing through the Aegean Sea was such a wonderful experience. I had a great time and am very grateful that I was able to do so. Besides my friends, the weather, the Greek people and the food (so, everything really), a few of my favourite things from the trip were:
Hiring dune buggies and quad bikes in Paros: This was so much fun! We were able to explore an island away from other groups of people and see the small villages and cafes and churches that you mightn't otherwise see if we didn't have transport. We wanted to hire scooters but Greek law requires non-EU driver licence holders to have an International Licence. We've heard about people that were able to hire scooters without them, and we were able to hire a car without one - so whether you need one may depend on the Rental Car office you walk into...
The Ruins: It’s amazing to be in a country where modern civilisation dates back to over 2000 years. Democracy and Philosophy were born in Greece! Travelling to Greece has been something I've wanted to do for as long as I can remember, so I'm grateful that I was able to do that with my friends.
Road trip to Delphi: Driving to Delphi was great: it isn't really the side of Greece you think about when you picture Greece, which is surprising because the north is so beautiful. Rocky outcrops that jut into the sky, covered in green and brown pastures - it's just spectacular. The entire landscape of Greece is beautiful but I think Delphi was particularly special because it was so unexpected.
Because we did so much and saw so much, I could write and write about our time in Greece but rather than doing that, I decided to make a travel vlog instead.
I hope you enjoyed this post! I'd love to go back to Greece one day to continue exploring because, like everywhere, I feel that we only scratched the surface. One day!
The next post is going to change tack and take us on a one-day road to Liverpool - not the most likely travel destination but certainly worthwhile!
Bye for now,